The room was sweltering from the heat of blow dryers. Most of the girls sat on the floor Indian style in front of floor-length mirrors and applied makeup to their freshly bronzed skin. The amount of perfume in the air could make a person choke. I was a 16-year-old preparing for my first prom.
My girlfriends from another high school had set me up on a blind prom date so I could join them for the night. They said he was a nice guy. His name was Tom. The first time I spoke to him was the day before prom.
“I’m really excited to meet you,” he said on the phone. “I can‘t wait to go together. Will you dance with me? I bought you flowers. Do you like flowers? I’m so excited for prom.”
“I’m excited too,” I said. “Yes, I like flowers. Thank you.”
I wondered what I was getting myself into. I asked him how tall he was because I wanted to know if, being a 5-foot-10 woman, I should wear heels or not.
“I’m about 6-foot-2,” he said.
The morning of prom I kept asking myself if this was a good idea. All my friends were really excited about their dates, so I knew if there was an issue with mine, I was on my own.
We told everyone to meet around 4 p.m. to take pictures. Tom showed up at 3 p.m. I wasn’t even ready.
Reluctantly, I left my friends and went downstairs to meet him. He was no taller than 5-foot-7 and barely looked at me as his clammy hand shook mine. He didn’t seem too excited to meet me. I wondered if this was even the same guy I spoke to on the phone.
“Well, it’s really nice to meet you,” I said, “But I have to finish getting ready. I’ll be back when I’m done.”
“OK,” he said, his voice cracking and sweat streaming down his forehead.
I went back upstairs and told the girls I was nervous. Something just didn’t feel right. They assured me everything would be fine.
When we finished primping, we filed down the stairs for pictures. Tom looked pale and started to sweat even more. I approached him to stand for a picture. It was then when he puked on my shoes.
“Well,” one of my friends said, “At least now you won’t be wearing those three-inch heels next to the little guy.”