Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Date Success = Reality/Expectations

A word of advice: never, under any circumstances, take a date to a dance if you have not been actively hanging out with him for at least three months.
My junior year of high school, I attended two formals: the Winter Garden Ball and my Junior-Senior Prom. Until this point, I had never taken a date to a dance before (unless you count Homecoming freshman year, which I don’t, since I found out later I was asked on a dare…thanks, J.C.), but various circumstances beyond my control contributed to my having not one, but TWO dates that year.

I have no idea what purpose Winter Garden Ball served. There was a triad of debutante-esque events in Tulsa at the time: sophomore year was Heart Ball, junior year was Winter Garden, and senior year was Opera Ball. Of the three, Winter Garden was the most pointless, as it required absolutely nothing other than paying for a ticket and showing up. For some ungodly reason (I probably begged), I was in possession of two tickets to Winter Garden, but had no prospective squires.

I mentioned my predicament to my voice teacher at the time, and she immediately concocted this stellar plan: she was friends with a couple who was hosting a Brazilian foreign exchange student who didn’t really know anybody in town and just so happened to love dancing!

I was quite thrilled by this prospect. In my mind, Rogerio was a young Antonio Banderas (albeit a Brazilian one), who would whisper sweet nothings into my ear in Portuguese as we swayed to a sultry samba, the envy of all our fellow Winter Gardeners.

I hope at this point you have come to understand and even expect that I had quite the imagination in high school, but invariably my daydreams would be systematically crushed by that other dish that is best served cold, Reality.

And you would be right to do so. Rogerio showed up to my house the night of the dance, corsage in hand, bowtie clipped firmly in place. I am nearly 5’10 in heels. He was maybe 5’3 in his shiny rented shoes, and a few beads of nervous sweat highlighted his receding hairline.

Since he was not in possession of a driver’s license, I drove. My feeble grasp of Tulsa’s network of highways and a general lack of direction contributed to the thirty-minute detour on 169 N as opposed to 169 S, and we arrived to the ball a bit late. I was flushed with embarrassment over my error (I was seriously almost to Owasso before I realized I was going to the wrong way), and Rogerio, while very sweet, was not at all what I was expecting.

We sat down to dinner and attempted to make small talk with the couples from my school, none of whom I was close friends with (because who doesn’t want to fork over hundreds of dollars to eat baked chicken with uncomfortable acquaintances?), and attempted to explain Rogerio’s and my relationship—or lack thereof.

Me (adamantly): We’re just friends.
Rogerio (in sweetly lisping English): We are friends now, but who knows what we will be…in the future.

I exchanged a horrified glance with no one in particular.

I don’t think I last much longer after that. I had eyed the undulating orgy that had formed on the dance floor and decided that I had no desire to grind up to Rogerio or vice versa.

Sidebar: Why is it that even when everyone is dressed up in sophisticated evening wear, high school dances are still dominated by club music? Would it kill us/them to do a box step, for old time’s sake? 50 Cent and Usher have their place, but I just don’t think anyone looks good droppin’ it like it’s hot in floor-length satin.

So we left. And I never heard from Rogerio again. I do hope that sometime before he left, he met a cute, petite girl who was nicer than me, and like to imagine them doing the tango up and down the halls of Union High, rose in teeth. It’s a nice thought.


  1. LOL love this post... esp your imagined experience, the sidebar, and the last paragraph!

  2. The Winter Gardens Ball in Tulsa was to benefit the Tulsa Philharmonic (which has since gone under). To attend the parties and Ball the Junior was to attend 3 symphonies and their mothers had to donate to and join the women's organization.