Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Bitter Memory

My high school about had one formal date-dance each month. In September/October, it was Homecoming (guy-ask-girl). In November, there was a girl's preference formal dance. In December, we had a casual matching dance called Christmas Dance (guy-ask- girl). One year, in January, we had a girl's choice dance. In February was Sweethearts Ball (guy-ask-girl). In March was usually Junior Prom, which was guy ask girl, specifically for juniors, though anybody could attend. The prom court was pulled from the junior class though. In April, we had Girl's Pref, a casual matching shirt girl's choice dance. In May was MORP, which was just a casual dance that was typically guy-ask-girl. Some clubs and groups had their own dances as well--in cheerleading, we had Varsity Ball, a formal ball for which each of us cheerleaders were to invite a date and celebrate our year of cheering. That was typically in May. And seniors had Senior Dinner Dance. This dance was usually stag, meaning you didn't really go with a date. The school designed that so Seniors could have one last occasion to be with each other before graduation without the pressure of coming with a date--that way more people could attend.

That leads me to my point. I'm glad Senior Dinner Dance was stag or I may not have gone. I say that because out of the 20 date dances that occurred (I call them "date" dances because our school also had a "Stomp" once a month that was more like a stake dance--you just went and danced and hung out with friends), I only got asked to six of them. Out of the remaining fourteen, eight of them were guy-ask-girl, so I was able to go to the other six because I asked the guy on the date.

You might say, what's the big deal? Why bother writing about this now, some fifteen-plus years later?

It still bothers me to remember that when those guy-ask-girl dances came around, I usually didn't get asked. It hurt me very deeply back then and I still feel remnants of that pain today. The worst was Junior Prom when I was a junior. I even desperately attempted to ask a friend of mine just so I could go and be there with my friends. I tried someone from another school and even tried a couple seniors I knew from my school. I even thought about seeing if my older brother, a BYU student at the time, would go with me, but we were never very close. I even considered my dad.

My mom spent about six weeks before the event sewing me a beautiful prom dress, in case I got asked. When I didn't, she set up a professional photo session, made an appointment to get my hair professionally done as I would have if I had been going to the dance, and we did that. That night, we went out to dinner, my mom and I, and we had some quality mother-daughter bonding time.

But I felt rejected, unliked, ugly. I missed Homecoming that year too. Not only did I miss Homecoming, but I was the only senior cheerleader who did not get nominated for the Homecoming Court. I missed Sweethearts Ball also. I even got rejected twice when asking guys for Girl's Pref that year. But I did end up going and having a good time.

I had lots of fun in high school. I had fun at the dances I did attend. My senior year I went to all of them because I had a steady boyfriend. His parents had a rule that he couldn't take me to more than two of them in a row together. Fortunately, I still managed to get a date to the ones I didn't attend with him.

I still look back on occasion and wonder what was so wrong with me during junior year that made guys not want to ask me out.

It makes me sad to think that my daughter might have to endure the same thing. I hope not. I hope she makes lots of good friends and has fun in high school. But I know she will still face hurtful situations and she will still have to learn from them. I hope I can teach my boys to be the kind of gentlemen who will ask out a girl who might not otherwise get asked just so she can feel good about herself and have a good time, and maybe, in the process, they can find a good friend.

Remembering that kind of rejection still hurts. At least, in my memory, I can still remember the rejection I felt.

This was from the November formal girl's preference dance my junior year.

This was from the Girl's Pref dance my sophomore year, shortly after moving from out-of-state

This was from the Girl's Pref dance my junior year.  Yep, this is the third guy I asked who finally said yes.

This was the cheerleaders' Varsity Ball my junior year.  That was the dress that was intended for my Junior Prom that my mother worked so hard on.  

This was a girl's choice winter dance that they had my junior year.  The guy was a really good friend from my ward.

All of these dates were fun, but not one of those guys ever asked me out in return.  Not that they had to, but it would have been nice to feel like they enjoyed the evening as well and helped me to feel better about myself back then.


Clarissa Grover said...

We don't always understand the why's behind things... sometimes there really isn't a why, eh? I also believe that sometimes those less-than-our-ideal experiences are actually the Lord's protection or guidance that we just don't recognize and may never see until our vision is so much grander than we can handle right now.

BYU Hottie said...

I remember how hard those times were for you! It seems there were a lot more dances at your school than I remember at mine. But still, I only got asked to 3 of mine. I never went to a Valentine's dance. I went to ALL of the girl's choice dances, with a variety of my friends. But they weren't exactly what you would call "awesome" dates. One guy didn't even want to tell me yes, but he did out of courtesy. I guess I just steeled myself to the embarrassment and ignored that he wanted to go with someone else. The hardest part for me was that I had SO many guy friends, but whenever it came time for a date opportunity, no one asked me. They always picked a different friend. I found other ways to deal with that, but it still hurt.
I wondered why I didn't date much in high school. I felt like a loser. My mom gave me some advice before she died--she told me that it didn't matter if I didn't date in High school. College was where the fun dating was--she was right. She even pointed out to me that your mom didn't date much in HS, but when she got to college she dated ALL THE TIME. I hated that advice at the time, but she was totally right.
All I can say is that I am glad HS is done. If I could do it over, I totally would. But I'm glad I don't have to.
I'm glad you have the husband that you do. He loves you, and you love him, and that's all you need. :)

Royalbird said...

I remember my mom telling me that too, about high school and college dating. I didn't have the great dating experiences in college that I was expecting, though. I had a few steady boyfriends for short stints of time, but other than that, no other dates.

And I like what you said at the end, that's me too. I'd totally do it over if I could, but I'm glad I don't have to! At least, if it's the current me doing it over, knowing what I know now about it all.

And my husband is great, but sometimes I'm not sure he realizes what a nerd he married!

Charlotte said...

I didn't go to all the dances. Maybe half? (That is a big maybe). But I wasn't that interested. My daughter, I can tell, will be interested. I still have a year before I have to deal with her dating, but I already worry about how much it will hurt her if she isn't asked to the dances. Or out at all.

Because it can be painful.

Jax said...

LOL... thanks for the post. I didn't know you until your senior year when I joined Cheer as a junior. I never saw anything wrong with you that would keep you from dating... I'd have asked you out except that you were a senior and had, as you say, as steady boyfriend.
I ended up marrying someone who went to only ONE guy-choice dance in High School but several of the girl-choice ones. She has some of the same regrets, though I know how big of a nerd I married, and married her because of it.
For what it's worth after the fact, as I look back on it, I want my daughers (4 of them, 1 son) to be more like you and my wife than like too many of the girls I dated at the time.


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