The Prom Dates: Ray was not the type of boyfriend I could take to the prom (he would rather have died than wear a tux) so I was forced to find other dates. This made Ray insanely jealous. Honestly, I had no interest in going to either of my proms, but my mother insisted that it was the most important social event of my teenage years. She wasn't going to let it go. She didn't know I was still seeing Ray (remember the sneaking around part). She just assumed I had no date for my junior prom and asked if there were any boys in my class I was interested in asking to go with me (oh HELL no!) So she came up with the brilliant idea of asking our next door neighbor, Mrs. M, if one of her two sons would be willing to escort me. Mrs. M's younger son was a year older than me, the older son was 3 years older. I think Mrs. M twisted her younger son's arm and made him be my date. So, here I was, going to a dance I had no interest in attending, with a date I had no interest in, who I was embarrassed to be seen with because of the circumstances of our date, and who had no interest in being with me. 

Ah yes, recipe for a perfect evening out.
Ack! That hair!!

Since this all came together rather last minute, my prom dress ended up being an off-the-rack bride's maids dress from a local bridal shop. It didn't really fit me that well. Mrs. M was right on top of things and asked for a fabric swatch so that Guy (yes, his name was Guy) could bring me a color-matched wrist bouquet. Very thoughtful (of Mrs. M). My mom brought me to her hair salon and stylist to get my hair done for the big night. I had a vision of piling my long hair in loose ringlets on top of my head in a soft but sexy style. What did I get? A bee-hive bouffant up do of helmet hair. It was hideous! Even my mother was a bit shocked at the outcome and tried to help me tone things down a bit, height and hairspray wise. That hair wasn't budging! Nothing left to do but take some photos and hop into Guy's Le Baron.

He didn't say a word to me on the drive to the Sons of Italy function room (except to ask directions once). The silence continued as we sat awkwardly at our table. I finally screwed up my courage, after sitting with him for an hour in dead silence, and asked him to dance. "I don't dance." Oh. OK then. The silence continued. I went and danced with some of the girls I knew from school for a bit and returned to the table to find Guy chatting with the date of one of my male classmates. Turns out they went to the same church together. Huh. Small world. I excused myself and went to the ladies room. As I was reapplying my lip gloss, some of the popular girls suddenly approached me. This was VERY unusual. I was one of the quiet/bookish kids at my school...the mysterious loner. No one ever talked to me. Suddenly, they all wanted to know WHO WAS THE HOT LOOKING GUY I BROUGHT TO THE PROM?! Hot looking? Hmm. Yeah, I guess Guy was pretty good looking. I grinned and told them he lived next door to me. "Oh My God! THAT GUY LIVES RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO YOU?? YOU ARE SO LUCKY!" Uh, yeah. I guess. He has a brother too. "TWO HOT GUYS! WOW!" I was really enjoying my sudden celebrity. But time was passing and I had left my poor "hot looking" date sitting alone at our table.

I left the ladies room and made my way back to the table. Guy wasn't there. I looked around and got a shock. He was DANCING with that girl from his church. The big liar. He didn't seem to be having any trouble dancing with HER. I sat at the table fuming for a while watching Guy have a grand old time with some other boy's date. That boy came and sat with me after a while. Paul and I chatted for a bit. Ironically, his date had been a set-up too. We laughed over how well our "dates" were getting along. I'd always liked Paul. He was quiet and bookish like me. Not part of the "in" crowd. He was nice looking too. If it weren't for him, and the warm glow I had from all the fawning attention I had received in the ladies room, the night would have been a total washout. Hey Paul, how come you never asked me out? Oh well.

A year later when prom time rolled around again, things were a little different. I had met someone. While visiting my friend Pam for a week over spring break, I noticed her older brother Jimmy for the first time. He'd always been around during our friendship...I just never really LOOKED at him until that week. I spent all day with Pam, but when she went to bed at night, I wandered downstairs to their rec room and watched TV with Jimmy until the wee hours of the morning. Jim started asking Pam if he could come along with us when we went out to clubs or hung out with her friends. She was miffed, to say the least. I knew Jim liked me, he was just REALLY shy and had never had a girlfriend before. It was amazing. I was actually the experienced one. He was a year older than me, had bummed around for a year out of high school and was joining the Navy that summer. He'd spent all his high school years with his head under the hood of one car or another. Total gear head. Cars were way more interesting than girls...until he met me.

After that week long visit, I called Pam about once a week (on average) just to chat. Jim always asked her to pass the phone to him when she was done. We'd chat for a bit. It's too bad they lived over 3 hours away. When prom time came, my mother suggested I ask Jim to escort me this time around. It was a great idea. Only one problem...I had never asked anyone out before. I wasn't that bold! It took me a week to work up the nerve to mention the prom idea to Pam. I asked her if she thought Jim would want to go with me. She said "I think so! Hang on a second..." and she put the phone down. I could hear her yell "JIM! Rebecca wants to ask you something!!!" No no no! PAM! Pick up the phone! PICK UP THE PHONE! Don't put him on the...oh Hi Jimmy! Uh...Uh...Umm...would you be interesting in going to my senior prom with me? He said "Sure." WOO HOO! I was beet red but happy. My mom was grinning from ear to ear. She had watched the whole exchange. I quickly gave him the details, got permission from my mom for him to spend that weekend at our house (sleeping on the sofa, of course). This was my first experience with my parents actually approving of a guy I wanted to date. I couldn't believe they were letting him stay over night!
I love this dress!

That was a magical night. I loved my prom dress (a Gunny Sax - remember those? The 80s people! Yeah!) I loved my hair. I loved the flowers Jim got for me (with my mom's help). I loved the matching tux Jim got just to compliment my dress. We both looked GREAT. My Dad handed Jim the keys to the Cordoba and off we went. Jim admitted on the drive that he wasn't much of a dancer, but he would try. I told him if we only danced the slow ones, that was ok with me. The night was a blur with the two of us at the center, him holding me tightly like he never wanted to let me go ever again, spinning me around the dance floor in sweet slow motion. He starred deeply into my eyes and I willed him with my mind to kiss me. Kiss me. KISS ME, DAMMIT! But he never did. I knew he was shy, but sheesh buddy, take a hint! Oh well.

The funniest part? Jim was supposed to leave on Sunday, but because he was shipping out from Rhode Island the following weekend, I actually managed to talk my parents into letting him stay for the entire week. It was great! I'd come down for breakfast, and there he was, sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me. He would drive me to school and pick me up at the end of the day. We drove all over. I showed him all my favorite hangouts. I wish we could have spent more time, but I was supposed to be STUDYING! My finals were the last 3 days of that week. It's a miracle I did so well on them. I think having Jim there actually helped keep me relaxed and focused. I drove Jim to the bus depot to catch a Greyhound to the naval base in Rhode Island. I really wanted to drive him there personally, but my parents said no. He hugged me tightly before getting on the bus, stared at my face for a moment, STILL didn't kiss me, and left. *sigh* So long, Sailor!


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