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March 6, 2017

the un-researched ask of the 80's

(This is the conclusion of the 'Homecoming date' post - if you haven't read the first part, click here to read it first so you know what kind of humiliation I survived).

Over the weekend, my mother - forever the matchmaker - urged me to ask a boy to the upcoming homecoming dance.  I laughed at the suggestion.  Who would I invite to the dance?  Mom flattered me with compliments.  Wouldn't any boy be thrilled to go to the dance with me?  I remember it too well.  I was sunbathing in my bikini in our backyard.  'What about that boy that you just worked with on the retreat?  You said he was such a nice guy.  Why don't you ask him?  I'm sure he'd be happy to go to the dance with you.'

My mom, who was never without a date back in the day, was working off of her teenage experience.  I got sucked in. 

I consider the differences in my world and the world Mom was familiar with similar to the discrepancies between the universes my teenagers and I have experienced.

If my high schoolers want to get in touch with a friend, they are crippled without the other kid's cell number.  If I suggest that they pick up our landline and call the kid's home number listed in the school directory, they bristle and scoff at me.  How could I suggest such a thing?  I struggle to wrap my mind around this mentality, but that represents our generation gap.  I suppose this is where I chime in with:  'Kid's today!'  I was unaware of such a phenomenon back when my mom was pushing me to attend a dance despite my status as a social leper. 

Eventually I decided to follow Mom's suggestion.  I crept up into my parent's bedroom taking the school phone directory and the persistent butterflies in my gut with me.  I closed the door and paced a little bit rehearsing what I would say.  Outside their master bathroom was a wall covered in a mirror.  It makes me chuckle to think that I stood in full view of my bikini-clad self and I didn't lose my nerve to call John Throb-heart.

Ah, the good ole days when bikinis fit and phone calls were made from land lines. 

He was home.  It was my lucky day.  Or was it?  After stumbling around my question a bit, I finally asked him if he wanted to go to the homecoming dance with me.  He hesitated for just a moment.  'Oh, thanks but Sara Earlybird already asked me.  Sorry.'

I assured him it was no big deal, I just thought we'd have fun.  I ended with 'see you around,' even though I knew I would dive under a cafeteria table, into shrubbery, or inside a locker if I saw him coming.  I was mortified.

Sara Earlybird was a fun, outgoing, popular girl.  Extremely friendly.  Even though I knew they were attending the dance as friends, the two of them seemed like a perfect fit.  How could I have thought that he would still be available at this stage of the game?  Why hadn't I done my homework?  Probably because I hadn't texted everyone I knew to ask them whether or not John already had a date.

I worried all weekend that word would get out that I had stepped outside the boundaries of my limited social circle and invited a highly sought after guy to the dance.  Fortunately, John Throb-heart kept my faux-pas under raps.  Thank goodness cell phones weren't available yet or he could've sent a group text to humiliate me further.  I still doubt that he would've done that.  He just wasn't that kind of guy.

Come to think of it, I'm happy to embrace my teenage years of the 80's.  At least embarrassing moments (and there were plenty) didn't become a widespread 'share'.

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