The other day, a coworker and I were talking about high school prom: how nowadays kids go in groups, thereby eliminating the stress and agony of landing a date. That’s one thing that’s an improvement over the good old days when we were growing up (although she’s 7 years younger than me!)
I started telling her about my junior prom: it was a pretty hilarious experience that’s worth sharing here for entertainment.
I’d asked someone I knew from hanging out on the swim team together: I was comfortable enough that he’d say yes, but wouldn’t have been devastated if he said no. He was a senior, and for whatever reason, he said yes.
Come to think of it, I found it all funny because I had little emotional investment in it. If my date had been someone I really liked, it would have been a disappointment. In high school parlance, prom would have been such a bummer.
Wheels: Almost always, the guy is supposed to arrange for transportation for that night. He was working up the courage to ask his (rather strict) father to borrow the parental Caddy. “What’s wrong with going in your car? I think it would be charming,” I asked. He gave me a look that said “Are you nuts?” He drove a Chevy Impala that was older than he was.
Dinner: “Where shall we go for dinner?” I asked (at that time I wasn’t foodie enough to demand Chez Panisse.)
“Oh there’s this place I went to last year [when he went to junior prom] called Lorenzo’s at Jack London Village. Good Italian food, nice place.”
“Do we need to make a reservation?”
“Nah, we can just show up.”
[My coworker had gone to Masa’s for her prom dinner, instead of blowing the bucks on a limousine! That’s actually how the topic came about, when we were talking about high-end restaurants.]
Spy vs. Spy: On the appointed evening, we hopped into the Cadillac (having mustered his dad’s approval) and drove off to Oakland. He kept looking over his shoulder and into the rearview mirror.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“Do you see my car behind us anywhere?” I didn’t seen any green Impala. Why was I supposed to? “No.”
“Last year, when I went to prom, my dad followed me in my car. He drove to the restaurant, and waited until we left after dinner, and then he drove behind us to the prom and waited and drove following us home after that.”
I was amused that my prom night could be enlivened with a James Bond twist.
We arrived at Jack London Square. And walked all over looking for Lorenzo’s. Finally we asked someone.
“Lorenzo’s? Oh it shut down a couple of months ago.”
We made our way to another restaurant. The table next to us featured another (older) couple on date. “Are you guys going to Black and White Ball?” they asked. (The SF Symphony’s bi-annual fundraiser was that same night.) It was kind of flattering that they mistook us for being old enough to go to a party where they wouldn’t card us.
Throughout dinner, it was entertaining for us to watch their date unfold. The guy talked a lot, trying to impress her. When dessert arrived, she excused herself . . . . and never came back.
The prom itself: It was just like a high school dance, with a better sound system, in a fancier location than the gym, and we were all dressed up.