Will You Go To The Dance With Me?
On his birthday, while Dylan was at school, I couldn’t stop thinking about this kid named Danny from my high school. It’s been many decades since high school, and certainly it wasn’t relevant in any way to Dylan’s birthday. But still, the memory was stuck in my head all day long.
My high school had a Sadie Hawkins dance. For those whose school did not have this absurd tradition, this was a dance where the girl was supposed to ask the guy to a dance.
And I was a girl.
I was not popular by anyone’s standards, and – while cute enough – not even remotely confident about the way I looked. I adored a lot of boys from afar, and went out with very few. So I spent days agonizing over who I could ask that I liked – but who would also be a little “below” the caliber of football player or cheerleader.
I wanted to ask someone I thought was cute, which narrowed the field to about half the guys in the sophomore class. But not someone so cute that he’d be asked by every girl in the school. In other words, I wanted to ask someone who was good, but not too good.
Probably I should have just asked someone I actually liked. Instead, I analyzed the situation to death – and finally decided upon Danny.
Danny hung out with some of the popular kids. He was skinny and had long, stringy, black hair. I thought he was adorable. But no one really considered him popular, since he didn’t play any sports. He wasn’t very smart, either. But he was okay – good enough, but not too good.
It took all the courage I had in the world to ask him to the dance. I was twiddlebug-quiet and very, very shy. I caught him during lunch period one day, when he was walking alone.
I squeaked, “Danny?”
He turned around and looked at me, confused.
“Will you go to the dance with me?”
He smiled and, for one micro-second, I thought he was going to say, “Sure.”
Then he laughed. He laughed and laughed and laughed. His laughing was genuine and loud, and hearty for his skimpy frame. It was as if I’d told him the funniest joke he’d ever heard. He just laughed and laughed.
It may have gone on for two seconds or two hours. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and willed them back down.
Eventually, Danny just turned and walked away, still hysterical with laughter.
I can’t remember if I went to that dance, or even if I asked anyone else.
I did look up Danny on Facebook. He is a nobody now, as he always was, with a life that – according to Facebook – revolves entirely around his motorcycle. He has tiny teeth and a long, stringy, black goatee. So in a way, I feel better.
But in another way, I don’t feel better at all.