I didn’t have a boyfriend.
It was senior year. I had written SENIOR PROM in large capital red letters on our wall calendar
in the kitchen the moment the date was announced.
What could I do? Stay home? Admit I had nobody to ask? Confess to the world or ever worse, to the
popular clique that no boy had asked me to go? Not a chance. No way would I admit that to anyone.
The humiliation would be too great to bear! I’d have to think of something drastic.
Who could I invite? My mind turned over its Rolodex for names from every walk of my seventeen year
old life. Distant cousins, brothers of friends, the delivery guy from the drug store. Nobody seemed
At the time my family belonged to a swim club, staffed mainly by a group of college students. One
particularly handsome lifeguard was Mike, a blonde, muscular He-Man type that every girl at the
club had a crush on. Could I dare ask him?
“You have nothing to lose. All he could do is say No,” advised my mother.
If he refuses nobody has to know I ever invited him. So, I reasoned, I would not lose face or be
mortified. But if he said “Yes,” I’d be the envy of every girl in the senior class. Imagine walking
into the prom with Mike, the dreamboat lifeguard.
I became my own best friend and gave myself a pep-talk, mustered up my courage and approached Mike
one afternoon during his break. “Hi, Mike. Um, I was just wondering: like would you maybe sort of
like to come to my senior prom with me?”
“Sure. That sounds like fun.”
Wait a minute. Did he actually agree to be my date for the senior prom? As if it was
no big deal? As if it didn’t matter who took me to the senior prom? That was way too easy! I was
incredulous and excited beyond belief; it took total control to keep from screeching and jumping up
I primped, I fussed, I did everything I could do to look grown up and sophisticated. After all, my
date was a college man, not some sniveling babyish high school kid.
With great expectations I opened the door the second the doorbell rang that night. But something
had changed. Mike no longer had that wind-blown casual, blonde sexy hair he did at the swim club.
Someone had chopped his hair and cut it way too short. And it wasn’t the summer blonde I
remembered. He didn’t look cool any more. He didn’t look hip. He didn’t even look handsome. And
worst of all he looked old. He must have been at least nineteen, and looked over twenty. Mike would
be out of place at a high school dance; he’d never fit in. And I’d be the laughing stock of the
I never found out what my classmates said about Mike and nobody said anything about him to me. My
memories about that night are vague and totally forgettable. But never again did I invite a date
for the shallow reasons I invited Mike to the Senior Prom.
He never called me after the dance. I never saw him again.