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5.14.2013

COME SAIL AWAY, COME SAIL AWAY, COME SAIL AWAY WITH ME....

There remains, hidden in a desk drawer at my parent's house, a picture of me and my date for my junior/senior prom in 1983. Probably somewhere in the attic lies the prom glass with the theme "Come Sail Away" etched cheaply in the glass. 

I laugh hysterically when I run across that photo.  Clearly and distinctively after all these years I can still remember the thoughts and feelings of that evening.  The picture, and my face in particular, give away every thought in my head.  Really it started long before prom night - with my mom's declaration that she would make my dress:( 

Having grown up with a mother who sewed alot of our clothes when we were young, I was overly and unfondly familiar with homemade clothes.  I hated them when I was six, and at seventeen, I hated them even more.  I have a feeling she knew I wasn't really into this "making of the prom dress" thing so she tried to engage me in the process.  I had just about as much enthusiasm as you do when putting your feet in the stirrups at the gynecologist.
 
To the fabric store we went to find a pattern and material.  What came over me, I do not know.  My coping mechanism kicked in - a resolve to get this pattern and material picking out done as quick as possible - like ripping off a band aid.  I picked out a pale pink material with very tiny gray polka dots.  Why I say, why did I do that?  I'm not a pink lover, I hate patterns of any kind, and I was a sort of tomboy as well.  Most definitely I hadn't fully arrived at feeling, knowing and embracing who I am.  
 
Prom protocol clearly states (no written policy per say) you should let your date know what color your dress is for two reasons; 1) so they can pick out appropriately color coordinated flowers that will be pinned on or strapped to your wrist declaring boldly "my mom ordered these" and, 2) so your date can order a tux in some fashionable style and color to compliment you while letting you retain your place of greater beauty than him.  
 
When my mom got the dress nearly done, it was time to try it on, stand on a chair to have it measured to be hemmed. I took one look at that dress and wanted to start crying.  Not only was the material ugly and looked like something a missionary was given on the mission field dug from a box of cast away hand-me-downs, but the style was ridiculous!  Not wanting to hurt my mom's feelings for all the work she had done, I bore up under it as she hemmed that hideous dress.  
 
There was no flow to the dress - the material was heavy, the ruffle near my shoulders 
looked like something resplendent from "Little House On The Prairie" and the pink ribbon around my waist tied in the back made me feel like I was about six years old.  It was bad and I was in deep fashion trouble.
 
Prom night came and I was lacking most of the excitement that a person should hold for such a night.  The doorbell rang and there stood my date.  No joke [you can't make this crap up!], if I thought I looked unbelievably ridiculous, you should have seen him.  His tuxedo pants were about 2-3 inches too short (they gave his tux in error to someone else), his vest did not reach his belt line, you could see a full half of his calf when he sat down, and his jacket sleeves stopped way above his watch line.  
 
It was all I could do to not laugh hysterically as I opened the door and my eyes first swept over him.  We were indeed a matched pair, fashion-wise anyhow:)  The picture of he and I shows us on my parent's deacons bench in the living room.  I have 1980's permed hair, braces, a little house on the prairie dress, some gaudy flowers and a look flashed across my face that was screaming, "UGH! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME I DON'T WANT TO GO!!"  My date is sitting next to me trying to look dapper in a tuxedo that was built for someone 4 inches shorter than him.  He is leaning over with one arm across his knee looking far more excited than I.  There is another picture of me pinning on his boutonniere with an actual scowl filling my entire face.  
 
I probably owe my prom date an apology for my lackluster presence that night.  So, Mike if you're reading, 29 years later - sorry I ruined your prom experience:)   

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