I don’t enjoy dating. It’s a means to an end but it isn’t a recreational activity in and of itself for me. So when I date, I date for keeps; that is to say I only date when there’s some likelihood that it will lead to a relationship. And while I’m not strictly opposed to being in a relationship with someone that is not LDS, it would present significant difficulties. And because of this it sometimes doesn’t even occur to me that a non-LDS girl is someone I could be dating. LDS girls and non-LDS girls are totally different categories, and non-LDS girls may as well be men or nuns or robots. Nothing is going to happen.
So I was surprised when L asked me to Prom. Admittedly the biggest reason for the surprise was not that she was not Mormon. Nor was it that she was a girl asking a guy to Prom. But it was that she was a non-Mormon girl asking ME to Prom when I was a sophomore. It was junior Prom after all, and I was not a junior. Also, it was in Latin class and who expects to get a lucky in Latin class?
The fact that I’d just recently turned 16 was much less of a factor than the fact that I generally dislike dances, however both these factors made me apprehensive. But I didn’t want L to think that she herself caused apprehension in her male peers, so I said yes.
Because of the unforeseen nature of these events, I was not prepared. I didn’t know about corsages or tuxedos, but these were easy enough to figure out. I didn’t know how expensive tuxedos were, which is good because if I had I may well have said no. It didn’t occur to me that I was supposed to match my tuxedo to her dress, so I picked a green vest because that seemed (and seems) cool. It didn’t match what she wore, and let me tell you, was my face red. Luckily this complimented my green vest, if not her dress.
Although she asked me out, she did not make any arrangements for dinner or the tickets to the event. I would have been more indignant had I known better. So I got the tickets at the last minute and I picked us out a restaurant which was the finest I knew: The Olive Garden. This is partially my fault for being unrefined, but more my parents fault for having 10 kids and having it actually be the nicest restaurant I’d been to. But of course it was mostly her fault for leaving these things up to me, a non-dancing socially-naïve sophomore.
A bigger problem than my poor taste in restaurants was my lack of a drivers license, her lack of a car, and again, her lack of planning. The best solution we came up with, which was an entirely horrible solution, was to have my father act as our chauffeur. He drove us in his Jeep, which had leather seats so was clearly our fanciest car. I have no idea what he did during dinner, but I suspect it was go to Ruby Tuesday. Alternatively he may have wondered why his son would ask such a ridiculous thing of him. At the appointed time he picked us up and drove us to the Prom. This was the 90s, so no one had cell phones, other than Zach Morris. So as the Prom wound down, I had to call him from a pay phone to come pick us up.
I’m recounting this as an example of a bad date, but to be honest I can’t think of anything bad that happened at dinner or at the dance. Having my first doorstep scene with my father waiting in the driveway was less than ideal but I can’t say that it lessened my game in any way. In that I had none. But dinner was entirely uneventful, though quite noticeably not magical. The dance was uneventful, though I did quickly learn that the church approved slow dance position was not useful in real life. But this was something I suspected all along. We spent the evening with her friends, as mine were not there because they were sophomores, and furthermore not there because Prom is lame.
L never asked me out again, and I didn’t ask her. After all, she might as well be a robot. One that is a bad planner. I’d say that the majority of our conversations before and after that night revolved around Latin, which is to say that we didn’t know what we were saying or doing. And since that largely describes our night at Prom, I guess it was appropriate.