He said, she said: A holiday ball tale

He said, she said: A holiday ball tale

photo courtesy of Emily Beh

Logan McMillen enjoys some quality time with his HB dates Christine and Shannon.

Logan McMillen and Shannon Cron

He said

I could outlast her, this was a mind game and I knew she would cave before me. The chicken didn’t look appetizing in the least, but I was hungry…she couldn’t hold on any longer, she took the first bite. I won. Yes, school dances are made up of little awkward moments like these, but this particular holiday ball it seemed as though there were a few more than usual. From my friend yelling “YO, HOW OLD ARE YOU?” to a clearly underage girl he was trying to hook me up with, to dealing with the stress of having two (yes, I had two) dates, this was a holiday ball to remember…or rather, one to cherish then quickly forget.

A friend of the dates looked on. She made direct eye-contact with one of them and pantomimed fixing a bra-strap for about 30 seconds. Clearly my date wasn’t getting it, and I couldn’t continue to eat with this game of charades going on in front of my face. “Fix your bra,” I meant to whisper, but it came out loud enough for the table to hear. Clearly, I’m a very discreet person.

Dancing also proved to be quite difficult for me to manage, as, I’m quite the avid fist-pumper. This type of behavior does not lend itself well to grinding, so I ended up repeatedly hitting people around me as I tried to move my body up and down, while pumping my fist as hard as I could. It’s about as difficult as patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. It didn’t help that the dance-floor was about the size of a board-game either. My primary date (the other one I refer to as my “understudy” or “auxiliary” date) was kind enough not to say anything about this, but that made it even more of an elephant in the room (she also looked past my terrible rendition of the cha-cha slide).

The goodbye, as all Minnesotan goodbyes, was drawn out and uncomfortable. An awkward one way hug sealed the deal, and I left the dance with sweat freezing to my forehead. So much can happen in 4 hours, I ate crap food, helped my primary date repeatedly find her never present right earring, exited the grind pit seven times by breaking up impassioned Sophomores, and listened to enough top 40 radio to hold me over until prom. I got in my dad’s car and slowly felt my ears regaining sound, what a dance…I’m already feeling nostalgic for it.

She said

“This is so awkward, you don’t even know.”

Just as I was leaving for the dance, trying to fix my hair I got done on Saturday morning, I received that text message from my very disgruntled date. I hoped “awkward” wouldn’t be the adjective that best fit the rest of the evening, but then I remembered who my date was, making it inevitable.

The exchange of the corsage and boutineer went relatively well. I mean, our flowers in no way matched. And my friend had to assemble my date’s boutineer for me. And my corsage consumed nearly half of my forearm. But again, it went relatively well.

After posing for too many “at the dance” pictures, my date and I made our way over to our dinner table. Most people might say it’s hard to keep the conversation moving at school dance dinners, but I find myself with the opposite problem. I just talk. Constantly.

When I asked my date how his day was, he successfully gave me more than a typical Holiday Ball dinner one word answer, but failed to ask about mine. This made me very uncomfortable, so naturally, I just kept on talking.

“Well, since you didn’t ask me how my day was, I’m just going to tell you.”

Then I noticed my friend across the table looking at me while rubbing her shoulders. Unfortunately I didn’t pick up on this signal––my date did.

“Your bra strap is showing,” he said, loud enough for the entire table to hear.

I let out an abnormally loud giggle, subtly fixed my clothing situation, and continued to eat my salad (even though my date skipped me when passing the salad dressing around the table).

When I heard “Party in the USA” start to play, I had no choice but to hit (actually, sprint to) the dance floor. I was slightly concerned about my date’s dancing abilities––he is not a thespian like me––but I tried to be optimistic. I mean, he liked to fist pump and I preferred to interpretive dance. It could be worse.

And it was, when we started slow dancing. I guess you could say we both felt obligated to participate in this junior high like activity. His hands were placed on my shoulders, mine on his hips––the exact opposite of where they should be. My date avoided eye contact at all costs. I asked him to sing to me. Twice. He refused both times. It was less than magical.

After losing my right earring for the fifth time (my dad told me my date would like them) and my date checking his phone (on the dance floor) for the twenty-seventh time, it was time to go home and get started on homework––after all, it was Sunday night.

I decided to be polite and walk him out, but my good intentions backfired on me once again. He walked an uncomfortable four steps in front of me to the coat room, where we officially ended the evening with a painfully awkward side hug.

As I left the dance with an especially sassy friend of mine, she made a comment that I believe adequately summed up the evening: “Well, that wasn’t awful.”