Just Dance

by S. P.

I’m not exactly what you would call a romantic person. It’s not that I don’t want to converse with girls, it’s just that I’m incapable. My mind has all these perfect things to say, yet what comes out of my mouth is entirely different. If the concept of awkwardness could somehow take a physical living form, I’m almost certain that it would take the form of me. My friends have been male, same age as me, and usually have had the same interests. I interacted with some people who fell outside of those categories, but it was ever so rare. I stuck to my rules and loved it.

Then Prom came along. I tried to weasel my way out of it, coming up with every excuse imaginable. There’s always next year, I told my friends. “What’s going to change between now and then?” they asked. “Are you suddenly going to become a different person?” Nothing if not persistent, they decided to have a little fun and told this girl that I was going to ask her before I had even made up my mind to go. There was one problem: I didn’t know her. We had only band in common, the one class where you don’t really interact. Nevertheless, I got a bouquet of flowers and introduced myself. Now I had two weeks to become friends with somebody I had just met.

Me – “Hi”
Her – “Hi”
<insert awkward silence here>
Her – “You know, you really need to talk to me more, otherwise this is going to be really awkward.”
Me – “OK, it was nice talking to you.”

As the days passed by, I was feeling worse about this whole prom deal. One cannot simply just change a lifetime of awkwardness in two weeks. At the same time, I could not just back out. She accepted my proposal, and I had to stick with it to the very end. So on May 2nd, I found myself in a tux and bowtie.

5:00 p.m., Photos
A group of us planned to gather at a friend’s house for photos. I was so relieved that she actually showed up I didn’t even mind taking awkward pictures for the next two hours.

7:00 p.m., Dinner
We’re both vegetarians and were given a “special” meal. Salad. The thing is, I’m a very picky eater and salad just doesn’t fall into my diet plans. What resulted was one hour of me tossing the salad around and stabbing the tomatoes, effectively looking like a fool. Red hot with embarrassment, I suddenly heard giggling. As the night progressed, I found the one thing I could do right was make her laugh.

8:00 p.m., Dancing
Then we moved on to something I knew I couldn’t do right: my mind and body seem to work in opposite directions. Basically, my dancing consisted of me jumping up and down. Then came the slow dances. By god, I couldn’t even stay within five feet of girls without feeling queasy with panic, let alone touching them. But swaying to the music and seeing her smile was the highlight of my night.

Prom wasn’t the cliché I thought it would be. I realized I couldn’t just stay in my safe little bubble for the rest of my life. The world wasn’t going to wait for me. I had to keep up. I had to change. This was just the beginning. Ever since prom, I have been much more friendly and open. Reminiscing over the past year with a friend, he observed I had “changed the most out of any of us.”

As for my date, I recently got up the courage to ask her out to dinner. Maybe I’ll even order the salad.