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You had your moment

I wonder if they'll regret their decision to celebrate their "night to remember" while shutting out a friend. I know I do.

My own prom date was a hilarious guy named Troy. He was tall, had half his head shaved, and loved punk rock. This was unusual enough for our sleepy Midwestern town, but on top of that, he was also the only openly gay student in our Catholic high school.

[. . .]

Troy and I went to prom as friends. My boyfriend was at college that year, but I wanted to go anyway. I mean, this was small-town USA and come on: Prom's a big deal.

[. . .]

And then came the after parties. Word got back to me that if I brought Troy as my date the meathead football players "would kick the shit out of him."

Years of Catholic teachings and after-school specials and John Hughes films had trained me for this very moment, for this very test … and I fucking failed it.

[. . .]

So, Troy and I went our separate ways. I don’t really remember the party -- aside from the fact that it involved a muddy hill, lots of pot, and that my best friend threw up on her own legs. What I do remember quite clearly is seeing Troy the next morning. As I walked up the driveway to my parents’ house, where we had agreed to meet up for a post-prom brunch, I spotted him through the window. His pink cummerbund was loosened, and he looked tired, and a bit sad, as he chatted with my mom while she flipped bacon. It was only in that moment that I realized the error of my decision, and I felt positively sick.

I had chosen the desire to "belong" over kindness. I had placed my own fantasy idea of a high school "moment" over someone’s actual, real-life feelings. I know, "belonging" and the myth of "glory days" can be pretty powerful stuff when you’re a teenager -- but who am I kidding? I acted like a total jerk, and I’ve never really forgiven myself for my behavior. (Johanna Gohmann, “The night I ditched my gay prom date,” Salon, 8 April 2010)

The moment you grew-up

Re: As I walked up the driveway to my parents’ house, where we had agreed to meet up for a post-prom brunch, I spotted him through the window. His pink cummerbund was loosened, and he looked tired, and a bit sad, as he chatted with my mom while she flipped bacon. It was only in that moment that I realized the error of my decision, and I felt positively sick.

I had chosen the desire to ‘belong’ over kindness. I had placed my own fantasy idea of a high school "moment" over someone’s actual, real-life feelings. I know, "belonging" and the myth of "glory days" can be pretty powerful stuff when you’re a teenager -- but who am I kidding? I acted like a total jerk, and I’ve never really forgiven myself for my behavior.

You didn't strut into the after-party with your Ducky, but this retrospective account still feels like a successful John Hughes moment, though. You were of the sort to attract the devotion of the most interesting, idiosyncratic person in school. You left him for orthodoxy, but regret was instant (and enlightenment apparently total) when you saw the remains from your neglect -- that sad but striking and especially communicative moment of loose pink cummerbund and flipping bacon, of downed boy touching casual maternal routine. You've penned here an idealistic account, a to-be-wished-for account, of a sad moving-on to adult realization. You had your moment.

Link: The night I ditched my gay prom date (Salon)

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