Every spring, kids across the US find themselves plotting, planning and stressing over the prom date decision. In 1988, this should have been an entirely unnecessary step for me. I’d had a steady beau for awhile. Unfortunately, even if he had been willing, the school’s age requirements prevented him from escorting me.
Personally, I didn’t see the problem. Many of the teachers and several chaperones were also in their 30s. But rules are rules, so even though it wasn’t Sadie Hawkins, I was subjected to the task of scoring a date for the prom.
My friend Molly said she knew a boy in the next county who would be willing to attend with me, no strings attached. He had a cool car, and had already ordered a tux for that weekend because he was taking another girl to a different prom the night before mine.
We met briefly in the parking lot of the Western Sizzlin, exchanging details and making sure we were reasonably compatible. Passersby might have mistaken our brief meeting for a drug deal, a spy exchange, or perhaps a Tupperware drop off.
He agreed to use his vehicle (which I thought would be the restored ‘67 convertible with quilted leather dash), and I agreed to pay for dinner, entrance tickets, and my own corsage.
On the big night, I waited for him with mild anticipation. I was shocked when, rather than his cool, classic car, he pulled up in a one-ton, flatbed truck. He was nothing like my southern gentleman boyfriend, so I climbed into the massive vehicle unassisted. Planting one pink stiletto on the running board, I hoisted myself into the cab and managed to pull the door shut without falling back out.
One of the joys of growing up in Tennessee is that even small towns regularly hold truck and tractor pulls. As we rumbled past the limos and sports cars lining the school parking lot, we could hear the roar of engines coming from across the road.“Do you really want to go to prom?” my date asked.“No, but my mom is looking forward to the professional photos.”We stepped into the lobby long enough to have our picture snapped, and then headed to the park. I was the only girl in the bleachers with a formal hairdo, high heels, and pink carnations strapped to my wrist. My date’s redneck buddies gave him a great deal of grief for showing up in a white tuxedo.