Prom is this weekend for the high-schoolers of Clyde, America.
(I’m still waiting for Mr. Smith to ask me.)
It’s a BFD. (Big Freakin’ Dance)
(It can also be a Big Freakin’ Disaster)
Growing up, I did not “kiss a lot of frogs” as the saying goes.
In fact, I didn’t kiss anybody.
This didn’t mean that I didn’t want to kiss a lot of guys. I did. But I was a very chaste teenager. (And by “chaste,” I mean “chicken.”)
Nevertheless, I had been anticipating my first kiss since I was eight years old. Then FINALLY! When I was 17 years old, I had my first kiss!
I kissed a frog.
Who never did wind up turning into a prince…
It all started a couple weeks earlier when a friend ran over to me after tennis practice and said,
Hey, So-and-So wants to take you to the prom, but he thinks you’ll say no so he asked me to do it.
This should have been my first sign that this guy was a frog. My second sign should have been the fact that from the very first day that I met So-and-So (from now on, I will be referring to “So-and-So” as “Frog”), I did not like the looks of him.
But the magical word had been spoken and it immediately clouded my judgement: PRRROOOOOMMMM! Somebody had just asked me (via a friend) to PROOOOOOMMMMMM!!!! And so, without a moment’s hesitation, I gave the courier my answer: Yes!
Since Frog and I were acquaintances at best, our matchmaker friend arranged a double date for the next weekend. A double date did not sound very romantic to me, but since I had never been on a date before I figured beggars couldn’t be choosers.
Had the date been one-on-one, I might have opted for a cute dress or a nice pair of shorts to show off my tennis legs. But since this date was a group affair, I went conservative with a pair of dowdy shortalls and heavy, brown sandals that can only be described as “hobbit-chic.” I also opted for pigtail braids because I didn’t look a virgin enough. I was a little nervous, but not nervous enough to skip lunch. Still, when Matchmaker, Matchmaker’s Girlfriend and Frog came speeding down our driveway, my stomach gave a little lurch. I squeezed into the backseat next to Girlfriend, feeling a mixture of relief and offense that we girls had been assigned to the back.
“We’re going to Cruces to see You’ve Got Mail,” Matchmaker announced.
You’ve Got Mail had already been in theaters for five months which meant I was going to be spending my first date in a dollar-theater. Plus, since we were heading to the distant town of Las Cruces, I would also be spending the next thirty minutes crumpled in the back seat of a car listening to Matchmaker and Frog whoop and holler about whatever it is teenage boys whoop and holler about.
Ten minutes into this hell-ride, my intestines lurched and my upper lip broke into a cold sweat. Five seconds later, another lurch and my skin prickled all over.
It is moments like these when God, in all His Grace, looks down upon us with compassion and says, “I have come to save you from this present tribulation…but you better find a toilet in the next twenty minutes or there is nothing I can do for you.”
For twenty treacherous minutes, I shifted, I clenched, I puffed, and I braced myself as best I could until, at last, we made it to Las Cruces.
And then the driver got lost.
“Uh, guys, I don’t really know where the theater is,” Matchmaker confessed.
These are the words that diarrhea longs to hear. It longs to know how utterly miserable and, if at all possible, mortified it has made you feel.
But I wasn’t going to give it the pleasure.
“Just p-pull over at a gas station and ask for directions,” I said weakly.
“Oh my gawd, Leilani, you’re pasty white. Are you okay?” Girlfriend asked.
I was stuck. If I played off that I was okay, we would never get out of that damn car. But to admit to my peers and my future prom date that I had to take a crap in the worst way? Unthinkable.
So I lied.
“I-I think I have to throw up,” I whispered, because there is more dignity in vomiting than there will ever be in pooing your pants.
So the search was on for the nearest gas station and wouldn’t you know it? Not a gas station in sight. I had about given up all hope when, after ten miserable minutes of driving in circles, Frog pointed to the right and said, “Hey, isn’t that the movie theater?”
Is it bad for me to say that the best part of the entire date was finally getting to relieve myself in that theater’s bathroom?
The movie had already been playing for thirty minutes by the time we sat down. Immediately bored with Meg Ryan and her Shop Around the Corner, Frog and Matchmaker decided that it was much more entertaining to throw popcorn at the people sitting a few rows ahead of us. When they grew bored of popcorn, they pulled their shoes off and began hurling them at the screen. Then they ran down the aisles to collect their shoes and spent the majority of the movie chatting on the very front row, leaving Girlfriend and I fuming at the back of the theater.
At this point, you’d think I’d have written Frog off.
That Frog was not worth my time.
That Frog could go marry Matchmaker and take him to Prom for all I cared.
But I’d never been to Prom before. And I had never been kissed before. And what if Frog decided to kiss me on Prom night?
Before the movie was over, the boys calmed down long enough to return to us, their lucky dates. And after a few minutes of playing handsies, Frog held my hand.
Not only had I never kissed a boy before, I had never even held hands with a boy.
And Frog was such a marvelous hand-holder.
So it was the small gesture of hand-holding that made a stupid teenage girl turn a blind eye to the wussy invite, the childish behavior, and the overall lack of couth in the hopes of experiencing a first kiss.