photo by William Eggleston /
To my first prom, my junior prom, I brought a freshman. It was a last minute thing, as I didn’t have a date and didn’t want to go on my own, for obvious reasons. The freshman, Sam, was in my art class, and we were going to prom “just as friends”, although I still kind of wanted to fuck him. Why not?, I thought. He wasn’t that cute but he was really funny, and I liked the way his bony chest looked through his thin white T-shirts. I imagined he was probably a virgin because he was only fifteen. Maybe even fourteen. Fourteen would be better, I thought.
About twenty minutes after arriving at prom, after the cheesy photoshoot, Sam asked me if I minded if he danced with another girl—a girl called Annie who was in his class, who had come as the date of some gay musical theatre guy. I said I didn’t mind even though I kind of did. As I watched them slow dance and make out, I wondered if they had planned this whole thing—if he had agreed to come with me because he knew she would be there.
Even though he made out with Annie most of the night, he still came to my friend’s after prom party with me, because he felt obligated. I did not feel guilty for dragging him away from Annie to the party with me against his will, although the whole thing did seem mildly pathetic. When we got there I kept making him shots, trying to get him drunk enough that he would want to have sex with me. At one point he said, “Are you trying to get me drunk so that I’ll have sex with you?” I shrugged, like, maybe. Soon after that his mom picked him up.
A few months later, when we came back to school after summer break, Sam and Annie were officially dating. He lost his virginity to me while they were together. After we fucked, lying in his single bed, he told me that he really loved Annie and respected that she wanted to wait, but that he wanted to have sex with me for practice first, so that when Annie was finally ready he would be, “ya know, like, good at it… or at least not bad at it.” I said that was very thoughtful of him. We continued fucking for the next few months. Mainly in my car, or sometimes in his shower, if his parents were at work. By the end he was pretty good at it. My mom saw Sam in the grocery store recently and told me that he was in medical school.
For my senior prom I didn’t have a date, either. Although this time I cared less because a few of my girlfriends were going solo too, so we planned to just all go together because, ya know “boys suck, we don’t need them, we’re feminists, blah blah whatever.” On the evening of the prom I was feeling super teen-angsty and bad about myself. I had recently dyed my hair dark brown in an attempt to look “exotic”, but accidentally just ended up looking, paradoxically, like tan goth. Also, there had been an eyeliner disaster or two while getting ready, which resulted in some tears and subsequent puffy eyes.
As a joke, one of the popular jock boys in my grade came to prom with a fat blow up doll as his date. Everyone thought that was really funny. “Ha ha, Aaron brought a fat blow up doll in a dress to prom, that’s so funny,” etc. My recent ex-boyfriend was there with his new girlfriend. They both worked at McDonalds. As I sat drinking non-alcoholic punch I wondered if they had been fucking while we were together, in a storage closet at McDonalds during their breaks, or up against a refrigerator full of frozen hamburgers or something. It made me feel nauseous to think about it, although I had also cheated on him multiple times, to be fair. I went to the bathroom and drunk a bottle of cough syrup with my friend Amber.
At an after party Aaron wrote my name on the forehead of his fat blow up doll, held it up and shouted, “Karley, it’s feeding time at the zoo!” Everyone thought that was really funny, too. I wasn’t even fat, although I did have quite large, muscular thighs. I was an athlete. Aaron has yet to leave the small town we grew up in.