So I did another comedic reading last night which was lots of fun. The theme? Prom. Gotta love reliving the old days, especially when you invite some friends from high school to watch your mortification onstage.
Without further ado:
“No, really, I like love sex,” he said.
“Okay, Dave, maybe after the prom. Now’s not really a good time,” I explained uncomfortably.
How did I get myself in this situation? I wasn’t even going to go to prom. Well, that’s not exactly true. I had asked Greg, a guy I’d had a crush on for years. He had apparently already asked someone else to go and was waiting for her reply. Then she turned him down, probably because she already had a boyfriend, which was common knowledge. And then, instead of asking me, he proceeded to ask two other girls to prom, both of whom also had boyfriends, and who turned him down one after another. I really know how to pick them. Don’t worry, though, he got his just desserts, now he’s a doctor. Hello, loser. Sigh.
“You know, dad, I just don’t think I’m going to go,” I said, after I’d heard that the third girl Greg had asked had turned him down. “Who needs all that pomp and losing their virginity in the back of a limo anyway.”
“Are you kidding, honey? You have to go to prom. It was so much fun,” he said, sounding like a teenage girl as he bounded off. He emerged several minutes later with a photograph; there he was, same black mustache and bountiful black hair, with the addition of delightfully long muttonchops. Oh, and a plaid tuxedo, paired with a shirt so ruffled it looked like he stole it from a pirate. (Yeah, it was in fashion at the time. Or so he says.) Even better, he was standing next to a huge white El Dorado convertible, with his date Susan Greenberg. And she had picked him up, because it was her car. To anyone else, this picture would be blackmail.
“I don’t know, dad. I don’t have anyone to go with. I just feel stupid.”
“It’s about being with your friends, honey. And you have plenty of time, someone will ask you.” When did my father start sounding like a self-help article in Seventeen? “And please, none of that sex talk. Don’t think I didn’t hear that little virginity quip of yours.”
Now, a lot of the time, my father is right. Granted, a lot of the time he’s wrong, too—like the time a swarm of bees flew up his bellbottoms in high school but he refused to take them off because there were girls around. I mean, we all know that safety comes before etiquette—but he’s got good intuition.
And he was half right. I did end up feeling stupid, but at least I got a date.
I was at a party and I happened to be in the bathroom when I heard a knock on the door.
“Someone’s in here,” I yelled.
“Hey, Emily, want to go to garble, garble, garble…” a male voice said.
“Want to go to garble, garble with me?”
“I said, DO YOU WANT TO GO TO PROM WITH ME!”
“Hold on a second,” I said, as I flushed the toilet. I opened the door and there stood Dave, with a big bashful smile on his face. The rest of the party also happened to have heard the exchange and was waiting for my response. So much for conducting this exchange in private. Pride is so overrated anyway.
“Are you for real?” I said, looking up at him.
“Yeah. It will be fun. We’ll just hang out.”
“Okay. Sound good.” And everyone shrugged, smiled, and the party continued.
It wasn’t exactly the romantical exchange seen in teen movies, but it would do. And our collective friends were very pleased. Dave and I were each the “fun, quirky friend” of our groups, so they assumed we would provide the entertainment for the night. Nice to know this would be a working gig. Dave and I continued to joke around and as the prom grew closer, and I was actually getting kind of excited for the event.
As his group of friends and mine were all going with each other, it wasn’t hard getting together the limo. I found a dress I loved, along with eighteen different kinds of girdles and other accoutrement to get that pseudo-hourglass figure, though in retrospect it made me look more like a misshapen pear. I got my hair did, my toesies done, and I was styling.
Dave came to my door and I looked up at him in all his glory. He cleaned up pretty well. My mother, after greeting Dave, scooted us together for pictures. That was when we hit our first snafu. Dave is 6”4. I’m 5”0 in the morning (cause you know, gravity kicks in). Even with four inch heels, all our pictures together had to either be taken vertically or down the street.
Then we got together with all our friends for early boozing. It was then that I noticed that every single one of my friends had chosen to wear a black dress. Like the virgin I was, I had chosen white, cause that’s how I roll. And since I was the shortest, I was in the middle of all the pictures. So now, all my prom pictures looked like wedding pictures. Or rather, a wedding picture in front of a funeral. Lovely.
We finally climbed into our limo for the ride to downtown Philadelphia to the convention center. We talked and giggled like the giddy teenagers we were. Once we got to prom, we quickly acclimated and got in line for pictures. It was then that Dave started to make me a bit uncomfortable.
“You know, Emily, I really like sex.”
“Thanks for sharing, Dave,” I said, unwilling to make eye contact.
“No, really, I like love sex,” he said more forcefully.
“Okay, Dave, maybe after the prom. Now’s not really a good time,” I explained.
“No, seriously. I am a huge fan of sex.”
“Dave, you’re really freaking me out.”
And that’s when he did the unthinkable. He looked me straight in the eye and ripped open his shirt. But my date was no superman. Burned into his very red chest in big white letters, was the word SEX.
[Now, a side note. It is customary at my school to go down the shore the day before the prom to hang out, cause trouble, and get a little color.] Dave had actually taken the time to write “sex” in sunscreen, and then lie out in the sun until it was so much more then a fleeting thought.
I looked at him and realized, I could fall in love with this man-child. I mean, who else would be willing to go so far for a joke? He could be the Elaine May to my Mike Nichols.
“You don’t think you’re planning on covering that up for our pictures, do you? Cause that has to be on display,” I said.
And then Dave got all shy and closed it up, but he’d shown his true colors.
Luckily for me, as the weekend wore on, and we all got more and more drunk, Dave’s “SEX” made more and more appearances, as memorialized in our pictures. Dave’s sex on the bar. Dave’s sex on the beach. We all hung out, reminisced, and I almost got thrown out of the hotel for smoking pot in the bathroom. It was all like a Judy Blume book.
And while some people may have lost their virginity that weekend, I was reassured to know that Dave and his sex were almost always by my side. Just in a friendly way.