My Date for the Prom
My date for the Prom this year was a trilobite named Lauren. I had grown tired of dealing with human girls, with their game-playing and their seeming sadistic way of dangling you on a string until they ultimately let you drop. Besides, Lauren is a nice girl and has certain attributes that a discerning young man such as myself can appreciate.
I picked her up at her home. Her parents were welcoming, though they tried not to act too excited at my presence. They had moved here from a small town on the south coast of England a little over a year ago, and this was the first time Lauren had been asked out on a date. It’s been a challenging transition for her. They helped me figure out exactly where I should pin the corsage on their daughter.
We made quite a splash when we walked into the gym. My strategy was “Let them look. Let them wonder. From the way I see it I’ve made a real catch. If they want to know why I think so, let them ask.” The photographer fumbled a bit trying to find a good camera angle for our portrait. I guess he never had photographed a trilobite before.
We spent the first part of the evening watching the crowd, listening to the music, and getting better acquainted. You can believe the crowd was watching us too. Every time I scanned the roomful of people there were eyes on us.
Lauren excused herself after several minutes, so I sat alone at our table. My friend Brad ambled over to me and gave a wink and a grin. “Du-u-ude! Nice work! Where’d your lady get to?”
“She’s out for a swim. She has to at least every hour.”
“You did good, dude. I was admiring her… segments. Is that what you call them?”
“Hey, I saw her first! And yes, ‘segments’ is the correct term.”
“Now you know I wouldn’t trespass on your territory, my brother. But I can admire from a distance, right?”
A few minutes later I saw Julia Cipriani walking toward me. Here was a girl that loved to see me dangle. Indeed she had dangled me a year ago for three weeks while she supposedly was deciding over whether to go to the prom with me. When she finally devised her extremely lame excuse it was of course too late to find another date. I had to go stag. She showed up for prom with a boy she claimed was a third cousin. “My parents insisted,” she said.
A smile cracked Julia’s deeply red lips. “Who’s the new date? I’ve seen her around school. You two make quite a couple.”
“Her name is Lauren. She’s lived here for about a year.”
“Hmm. I wonder if she’s coming out next month at the Cotillion? Do you know anything about her family?”
“Yes, Julia. She’s from a very good family. You’re fond of explaining how your family can trace back to Roman times? Lauren’s bloodlines go back five hundred million years! Well, except that she doesn’t have blood, exactly…”
“Don’t patronize me, dear boy. It’s not like I slept through Paleontology, you know.” With this she tossed her honey blond hair. “Well, I’ve got to keep moving. So many people to see, ya know?” As she walked slowly away she shot me a sly backward glance, her eyes flashing.
When Lauren returned I went to the beverage table and got a cola for myself and a lemonade for her. Uncertain as to exactly how she drank things, I also got her a straw.
When we finished our drinks I took her out onto the dance floor. That’s when we really began to dazzle the crowd. I didn’t have any idea she had such liquid moves. During a couple of the numbers some of the other dancers actually stopped to watch us. This had definitely never happened to me before. I saw Julia watching us with an enigmatic half smile. Oh yes, my plan was definitely working.
At evening’s end I walked Lauren to her front door. I knew she had had a good time. I decided not to actually kiss her – truthfully I wasn’t sure exactly where. But I gave her a peck on the glabella.
I’m sitting in my bedroom looking at our prom picture and thinking about Lauren. I need to take a copy over to her. I haven’t called her since the Prom, though I don’t know if she expected me to. I also want to tell her some things. She may not be aware that I used her. Yes, I used her. I used her to impress my friends, to make one or two of them uncomfortable, to show them that I’m not trapped in their high school hierarchy, that I can be perfectly happy and self-assured by taking a crustacean to the prom if I please. Somehow I want to tell her that this is not the only reason I took her to the prom. I took her because she is a very brave, unprepossessing person, and has managed her first year in a new country and a new school with gracefulness and with her cephalon held high. She is fun to be with. She’s a great dancer. She is a nice girl.