When it comes to me and dating, high school was the worst. At that point, it seemed like I had peaked in first grade when I’d had two girlfriends at the same time and they’d fought over me and I thought it was cool. In 7th grade, I got hit on by a 9th grade girl, and that could have been a dating milestone, but my mom put a stop to that. At the time I was ticked off, but now I know my mom did the right thing.
Then I started getting weird growth spurts. I became really uncoordinated. My clothes never fit right. I spent all my time and money on comic books (it was cool in elementary school but not in junior high). My face broke out, and 1980s dermatology usually made complexions worse. Once I started wearing glasses, my transformation to nerd was complete.
The good news is that I wasn’t one of those lonely, angry, near-suicidal misfits who are often depicted in movies, TV, or books. I wasn’t picked on. I was tall and could talk sports, and I could almost fit in with every group (except jocks). I had friends, and I had my share of fun (or an introvert’s version of fun). But I didn’t date.
I knew in high school that girls weren’t interested in me. It was a lousy feeling knowing that certain things weren’t going to happen, and even in the 1980s teenagers were bombarded with sexual messages in music and television/movies. It’s gotten worse since then, I know, but the sexual messages were still out there.
It was frustrating, but unintentional abstinence prepares you for adulthood better than things coming too easily. When you know certain things aren’t going to happen, you’re better prepared to deal with those situations as an adult. I later made some good decisions as an adult because of my high school (in)experience. I know some guys who were smooth in high school who then made horrible life decisions as adults because certain situations with females had been too easy for them.
Here’s my point. The prom was coming up in a few weeks, and I was hanging out with a bunch of guys at a restaurant on a Saturday night. If a guy was planning on getting a date to prom, there was still time. Nobody had that sense of desperation or urgency yet.
Proms back then were set up to be awkward. If a guy didn’t have a girlfriend already, he was still expected to attend with a girl, probably one he’d never been out with before. Today, kids seem to go to prom in groups, and that takes the pressure off. But in the early 1980s, guys were expected to have dates. I mean, it was okay to go with a bunch of friends, but that was a last resort, and it was seen as lame.
I liked my chances of getting a date. My status had improved a lot my senior year. Our school had just finished its musical. I’d had a decent part (not the lead) and had stolen a scene (with the director’s permission). My grades were good. I’d been accepted into a Prestigious University (and hadn’t found out yet that I couldn’t get enough financial aid and scholarship money to attend). The acne was clearing up most of the time. I was fitting in better than I ever had in school.
Anyway, a bunch of senior guys who couldn’t get senior girls to go with them were asking out sophomore girls, but I wasn’t going to do that. I knew sophomore girls who would go if I asked. A sophomore girl would almost always go with a senior guy to prom, unless the senior guy was really detestable. I wasn’t that undateable. I was going to ask out a senior, and I already knew whom.
Once the guys at the restaurant that Saturday night started talking about prom, I felt I needed to join in. And I made a rookie mistake. Every teenager knows not to make this mistake. Even a gullible naïve guy like me knew not to make this mistake, and I did it anyway.
And I’ll tell you about it in the next episode.
To be continued!
Or you can start at the beginning at Awkward Moments in Dating .
I talk to myself when I write, and sometimes I go off topic.