Believe it or not, I do not have a boyfriend. I will allow you a moment to take a few deep breaths and recover from the amazement and utter shock I am sure you’re experiencing right now.
As I am sure many of you other single folks can relate, this makes hoco season a little tricky, primarily because an unspoken expectation seems to be that you must bring a date to get the “full experience”. Been there, tried that. Extremely long story short, I reaffirmed my warranted suspicion that I am not a fan of A) dances or B) bringing dates to dances. Coming to this conclusion, I assumed that would make this year even more difficult than last. Not only did I not have a date- from prior experience, I didn’t even want to find one.
Enter STA junior Kelly Hulsey and Raymore-Peculiar juniors Haleigh Fuller and Mercedes Lopez. As Haleigh and Mercedes missed their own Ray-Pec homecoming to come to my Sweet 16, it seemed natural that Kelly and I should bring them to Teresian. However, it seemed pretty lackadaisical to merely text, “Lol u wanna go to teresian? lmk.” to our group chat and call it a day. Of course, we had discussed over the summer that we should all go to homecoming together, but we hadn’t formally invited them, nor had we made any plans. In typical fashion, Kelly and I decided to make our homecoming proposal (hoco-posal? hoco-sal?) as embarrassing as possible.
I won’t even try to lie- Kelly plotted and planned literally every possible aspect of the charade. We were to be at Ray-Pec at 2: 41 PM on October 15 to surprise Haleigh and Mercedes as the left the South building together (organized by Kelly), holding handmade signs (also made by Kelly), Kit-Kats (provided by Kelly), and balloons (my proud contribution). The plan was absolutely perfect. Until I messed up.
Like usual, my family was running late. Like usual, I was being stubborn. Which is why I refused to let my mom drive when she said “we would never get there on time if I drove” because I “adhere to closely to the speed limit”.
“Whatever, mom,” I sneered, slamming the driver’s door, “I know what I’m doing.”
(Spoiler alert: I was wrong)
Not only did this lead to the endangerment of both our lives and the lives of two obnoxiously colorful balloon bouquets- it also led to an impressive tardiness as we rolled up to Kelly’s house to pick her up at about 2:35.
A Note From Kelly: “You showed up at a fairly unimpressive time when we had just enough time to do literally nothing.”
Kelly tossed herself and her handmade signs into the back seat as I slid, defeated, into the passenger’s seat. No one spoke on the 30 minute drive as Kelly served as the worst GPS in human history (“Turn here! No wait, not here as in right here, here as in the here up there. Okay, yeah, sorry. Wait, okay it’s this exit. No, wrong exit. Wait, no-“). It was as painful as it sounds.
A Note From Kelly: “Hey, Garmin. I’m unemployed. *wink*”
Finally, we arrived at Ray-Pec. Especially considering the tiny, “small town U.S.A.” scale of Peculiar, the school was colossal. Sprawled across several buildings, parking lots, and fields, I could not fathom the dire suffering these students must endure walking from building to building. After winding through a few parking lots, we finally pulled up alongside the South building. It was time. Kelly and I piled out of the backseat, signs and all.
That’s when the wind hit. With our massive poster boards and like twenty balloons, we set out down the sidewalk towards the door. Battling the forces of nature, we trudged against the wind, battered by posters and balloons, until we saw them- or more accurately, until they saw us. Which wasn’t difficult. Because we were the only two people being beat to death by balloons in the Ray-Pec parking lot.
Fast-forward to the 17th. Haleigh, Mercedes, Kelly, and I met at my condo on the plaza and drove to Loose Park to take photos. We quickly encountered a problem: we thought Loose would be a beautiful setting for photos…as did every other high school student or wedding party in the Kansas City Metro area. But, after some brief passive-aggressive stare-downs and a lot of speed-walking, we finally got all the shots we wanted, and headed to dinner at Capital Grille. By the way, Kelly? Thanks for leaving your leftover mashed potatoes in my fridge.
We got to the dance at precisely seven. As we entered, the Kansas City Police Department officer at the door grinned at us.
“Where are your dates?” he asked Kelly and I.
“Right there!” I referenced Haleigh and Mercedes trailing closely behind us.
“Right where?” he joked and wished us a great night.
Over the course of the night, I learned a few small perks of bringing friends versus “dates”:
I didn’t have to waste money on a boutonniere.
Or coordinate my dress with someone’s tie.
Dancing is much funner and easier when you’re with your friends, rather than trying to coerce your date into dancing or, worse, leaving him on the bleachers with the rest of the dejected guys.
Post-Teresian sleepover? Check. I don’t know the general parental consensus, but if I asked my parents if the guy I brought to the dance last year could have slept over after the dance, my father would have imploded.
Having a dress catastrophe? Need a bobby pin? Forget perfume? Odds are, your best friends are going to be more helpful than your boyfriend/guy friend/date.
In conclusion, having went to homecoming/Teresian with both a “date” and (now) with a small group of best friends, I can definitely say I’ll probably never bring a date again. I know my experiences aren’t everyone’s, and there are plenty of people who have an awesome time with their dates- and, that’s fantastic! My point isn’t that going stag is better than going with a date; my point is that going stag is better for me. I don’t really enjoy dances to begin with, and it’s easier for me to come out of my asocial shell with my friends than with a date. I also don’t mean to make it sound as if this is an extremely heteronormative stance to take; bringing a date for me means bringing a guy, but that’s not what it means for all of our students. No matter who you’re interested in, I highly recommend you reserve at least one high school dance to go stag. Not only is it a great time for you to make awesome memories with your best friends, but if you’re like me, it’ll also give you a chance to get a little more comfortable in a generally high-stress time.
Thanks for reading as always! Please leave any feedback or comments below, including recommendations for which item off the List I should complete for my next post. Also, for everyone that has asked: no, I have not named my Mustang.
Thank you to Kelly for organizing everything in my life ever, my mother for tolerating me and my continuously poor driving, Haleigh and Mercedes for being the best dates I could ask for, Brad Lewis for advising Teresian, Kelly Scott for listening to me complain about social interaction, and the embittered bridesmaid at Loose Park who said we interrupted your wedding photos. That is false.