Ah, prom night. The music, the dancing, and memories of all the things you should have said and done. Reporter Bob Tremblay looks back to his prom in 1973. Try to learn from his mistakes, kids.
My name is Bob and I am a dweeb.
The reason for this confession is to assist my fellow dweebs as prom season is upon us so they will not make the same mistakes I made.
Actually, to make the same mistakes I made would earn anyone instantaneous induction into the Dweeb Hall of Fame.
Let's set the scenario. I am 16, the year is 1972 and my family who lives in Wellesley, Mass., has just rented a summer home in Duxbury. One day I notice the girl across the street tanning herself in a white bikini on the front lawn. She is drop-dead gorgeous and immediately sends my raging hormones into overdrive.
However, being a dweeb, I have absolutely no idea what to do. My best friend at the time, Michael MacDuffie, who saw her also, suggests I call her. "If you don't, I will," he says. Not wanting to lose the potential girl of my dreams, I call her. Being a dweeb, I didn't have the nerve to talk to her face to face.
So after finding out her name and number through expert detective work - I asked my parents - I call her up and ask her out on a date. Her name is Jennifer and she says she would like to meet me first. We do and thus begins my first "relationship" with a girl. I use quotation marks because "relationship" doesn't accurately describe the pathetically platonic nature of this affair.
Why Jennifer agrees to go out with me is one of the great mysteries in the universe, right up there with Stonehenge and Easter Island. I never did ask her because, being a dweeb, I never asked many questions. I assume she felt sorry for me, figured I was "safe" or had limited dating experience so she didn't realize what a total dweeb I was.
Much of our time together is spent watching television shows. On PBS!
So considering what an utter failure I am as a social human being, imagine my shock when after our second summer together, Jennifer invites me to her senior prom. I'm pretty sure my heart danced the fandango. She then tells me the after-prom party is at her house. Now other body parts are dancing. And I'm only a junior!
A senior hottie asking a junior dweeb to her prom in 1973? Not a typical occurrence, I'll wager.
Now the tragedy commences. First, I rent a tuxedo straight from the 1970s cliche fashion book. Powder-blue ruffled shirt? Check. Then, I make one of the dumbest decisions I have ever made in my life.
The day before the prom, my tennis coach tells me that the team has a tennis match on Sunday - the day after the prom - and he wants me to play. Now anyone other than a certified dweeb would have told the coach about the prom, the after-prom party and the possibility of a lovemaking debut with an angel.
Anyone other than a certified dweeb would have told the coach that the team could have done without me. I wasn't very good anyway. But nooooo! I say, "Sure, coach."
I later tell Jennifer about my decision, which results in yours truly going to bed early the night of the prom so as not to fall asleep on the court the next day. I also tell her I have to leave early the next day so I can be at the match on time.
Jennifer takes the news rather well, I think, though even I can tell she's disappointed. I imagine other girls would have told me where to stick my tennis racquet, or placed it there themselves.
The prom itself goes well, I think. We dance. I try to keep my palms from sweating. Fortunately, she's wearing gloves. At the end, Jennifer is named prom queen. Sadly, there was no prom dweeb or I would have won in a landslide.
We then return to Jennifer's home for the after-prom party. There may have been beer drinking, there may have been pot smoking, there may have been lovemaking, but I wasn't there to witness or partake of any of it. I went upstairs to sleep in a spare bedroom. I didn't sleep very well.
I say goodbye to Jennifer the next morning, and that turns out to be the end of our "relationship." By the following summer, a family illness prevents us from returning to Duxbury.
Years pass and I lose track of Jennifer. Then out of the blue, she calls me. She's a graduate student at Boston University and she invites me to her apartment in Cambridge. My hormones renew their raging even though I'm now in my 20s. Who says life doesn't give you second chances?
But Fate can be cruel. When I arrive at the apartment, I discover she has a boyfriend from Harvard. One of her roommates then makes the massive mistake of asking me out. I probably should have warned her of my dweebness, but I didn't. I probably should have told her I already had a girlfriend, but I didn't. You see, I had graduated from dweebdom to jerkdom by then.
So my advice to all the dweebs out there is simple: Don't play tennis. OK, seriously, it might be best to learn some beginner social skills. For starters, don't be afraid to ask your date questions. You might learn something about her. Like maybe she prefers French kissing to PBS.
I also want to take this opportunity to apologize to Jennifer for ruining her prom. I had to have been the worst prom date of all time, though a colleague just told me about a boy who broke up with his longtime girlfriend at the prom. All right, he wins. Dweebs can't even be victorious at being lousy. Also, some of these recollections may not be completely accurate since senility has set in after 35 years.
However, I do clearly remember one thing: I split sets in my tennis match.
Bob Tremblay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-626-4409.