Do you have an embarrassing school dance story? And do feelings of deep humiliation still linger even though it happened over a decade ago? You’re not alone.
I only have a handful of school dance experiences but literally all of them are embarrassing. I hope this particular experience will make some of you with embarrassing school dance moments (or really any moments of rejection) feel a little less alone.
In true Our Weird Lives fashion, this humiliating string of events wasn’t written by a teen-drama screen writer. My pants didn’t split in front of everyone and a used tampon didn’t fall from under my dress. I was just an awkwardly tall freshman girl in a new school trying (and failing) to be cool.
His name was Stephen and we sat next to each other in Spanish class. He was a skinny, alternative kid without much personality who had pretty blue eyes. He usually laughed at my jokes so I thought he was cool. Thanks to my daddy issues and serious lack of friends, I really wanted him to think I was cool, too.
Ah yes, the annual winter formal where the girls ask the guys out – the “Snowball.” The girls in my school (particularly the popular girls) were going all out. I’m talking banners in assemblies and intricately decorated lockers. I thought, “Hey, I’m creative. I should ask a boy to the Snowball. How about that kid Stephen I barely know??”
While not quite popular-girl worthy, I came up with a plan I thought was fool proof. As you may have guessed – it wasn’t.
I baked cookies in the shape of snowballs (a.k.a. circles) and frosted them with letters that spelled, “SNOWBALL?” Then, I convinced my Spanish teacher to send Stephen to “the bench” in front of the school’s main offices for being “disruptive” during class so I could get him one on one.
I followed a few minutes later, cookies in hand, trying not to grin.
As I got closer, I noticed Stephen definitely wasn’t grinning. In fact, he was clearly pissed off. For the first several minutes, I listened to him rant about not doing anything wrong and being sent to the bench for no reason. His face got redder and redder the longer he talked.
I’ll admit, I had some serious doubts about my plan at this point. But I already made extra cookies for myself at home so I didn’t want to take these ones back with me.
I was going down with this ship.
Mid rant, I ripped the tinfoil right off the plate to reveal the clumsily frosted cookies.
Stephen: Uh, what is that?
Me: Do you want to go to the Snowball with me?
Stephen: With you?
Stephen: Um. I. Uh. I don’t…really like you like that.
Me: Oh, I know!!!! We could just go as friends……… …. .. . .. .
Stephen: Uh, well, I guess as long as you know that. Then, sure.”
He was literally as far away as possible on the tiny bench we shared. I forced a smile and asked if he was ready to go back to the classroom.
We walked in silence the entire way.
He didn’t want the cookies, so I ended up taking them home anyway.
That happened on a Friday, so I had the whole weekend to stew in my embarrassment (and eat cookies). The more I stewed, I became convinced that come Monday, he’d walk right up to me and say, “Actually, no. Definitely not.”
I couldn’t bare that. I had to be the one to back out first. The very next time I saw him, I was going to cut straight to the chase with the line I rehearsed over and over: “Do you still want to go to the Snowball together? Because I… (long pause) don’t.”
So, I said that to him in the middle of Spanish class. He seemed confused but mostly relieved.
That poor, poor boy.
I ended up going to the dance anyway with a girlfriend of mine. I went dress shopping, ate dinner at a nice restaurant with her beforehand, and even paid for those cheesy professional pictures. It was one private limo short of an ultimate dork-fest.
Years later, he added me on facebook. I declined his request and that somehow made me feel a little better.
That poor, poor boy.
So, which do you think is worse – flat out rejection or someone saying yes because they are too afraid to say no?
Got any stories to back it up? Let’s hear ’em!
P.S. Anyone still in need of more embarrassing school dance stories? Check out writing coach, Jeff Goins’ tale of “going big or going home.”