The Perfect First Date

My niece Rebekah flipped through the pages of a forgotten high school yearbook. "Oh my God!" she shrieked as 10-year olds do. "Is that you, Auntie?" She pointed at a photograph of me taken at a 1983 prom.

There I was in all my glory. The photograph reminded me why the decade is now known as รข€˜The Big Eighties.' What was I thinking? I looked like a 20-layer cake with baby blue icing. The hoop skirt and crinoline didn't help matters. However, my niece didn't have to know I had been a fashion disaster as a teenager.

"Come on, Bek," I said with as much disdain as I could possibly muster. Would I really be caught dead in a dress like that?" She seemed to accept the logic, closed the yearbook, and began perusing my jewelry box.

As Rebekah piled on necklaces and beads as if she were preparing for a Mardi Gras celebration, I took a stroll down memory lane, back to that 1983 prom and my very first date ever.

I met Bruce Thomas, high school senior, talented opera singer, and model at the local Hudson Belk, in our high school drama club. Like Doris Day and Rock Hudson, we were inseparable. And my heart literally skipped a beat the day he asked me to his senior prom.

To ensure the night go perfectly, we planned every detail of our date. It would play out like a Loves Baby Soft commercial. To set the tone for our date, Bruce picked me up early in the evening in his father's Mercedes Benz. He wore a white tuxedo with a baby blue tie and cummerbund, which perfectly matched my dress.

After Bruce successfully shoved me and my layers in and out of the car, we dined at La Maison, an expensive French Restaurant in a nearby city. Because the restaurant was owned by a friend of my father, Bruce and I dined in a private room and our meal was on the house. After dinner and on our way to prom, Bruce and I veered off our plan and decided to stop at his grandmother's home. Bruce played the piano and serenaded his grandmother and me with his rendition of the Streisand classic "The Way We Were." We would have lingered longer, but time was of the essence. Bruce and I wanted to be among the first to arrive at the school gym, decorated like the tropics to simulate a Caribbean Island. There, between two plastic palm trees, we would participate in a senior promenade into the gym. Though I was only a freshman, Bruce's status as a senior secured my spot in the processional. What an honor!

With the promenade behind us, Bruce and I could get on to the business at hand--dancing! Bruce proved to be an excellent dancer, having taken classes in preparation for his summer job at a dinner theater. We danced the night away, stopping only to take photographs. Before I knew it, the clock struck twelve and our magical evening was over.

Bruce drove me home so that I would meet my 1a curfew. Finally, under the stars and on the front porch of my parent's home, Bruce kissed me goodnight, quickly and on the cheek. With this small gesture, the gold standard of first dates had been set. As I waved Bruce goodbye, I hoped that all future dates would be as magical. However, it didn't take long to shatter those dreams. The next year would bring my dating expectations down a notch or two.

With my first date behind me, I experienced a whole new set of firsts my sophomore year--my first detention for kissing at the lockers, my first time being felt up, my first time being two-timed, my first break-up without explanation. It was a little more dating reality that I cared to experience in one school year. June was a welcomed relief even though I was locked in the kitchen of my father's restaurant washing dishes until the skin came off my hands.

One day that very summer, Bruce waltzed into my dad's restaurant sporting bleached-blond hair and a Brazilian boyfriend he had met at college. The sight did not disturb me at all or affect the warm feelings I had for my old friend. As my first and only perfect date, Bruce would always have a special place in my heart. Years later, I would think back on our one perfect night together with a smile. I only wish I could say the same for the dress..

1 comment:

David said...

I'm sure the dress is not as bad as you think or remember. I remember wearing the Don Johnson get up to a homecoming dance. The white coat and white pants with the dockers and a t-shirt. Thought I was the coolest guy there. About 10 other guys were wearing the same thing, was really funny looking back. Good times! Thanks for stopping by my blog! You have a great one.