My high school didn’t have a prom.
One of the teachers brought up a fine point that by requiring a dress code, we were excluding students that couldn’t afford a rental and thus couldn’t attend a school event. Good point, but the student council didn’t think so, so they stood firm. If there was no dress code, there would be no prom.
At least they stood to their word, there was no prom at my alma mater Marshall County High School.
Skip over to the next town, Chapel Hill, TN, home of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. They had a prom.
It was spring of 94 and I was in 11th grade. After school one day, I was shopping at Red Food when I saw this cute blonde girl sort of staring at me. I kept trying to convince myself she wasn’t looking at me, when she came over and introduced herself. Her name was Beth, she went to Forrest High School, but her older sister, Wendy, went to my school. She had seen me around town and knew who I was. We talked for a few minutes then she asked me to her school’s prom in a couple of weeks. I said sure, and called her later that week to make the plans.
I was ecstatic, this girl, let me tell you, would not look out of place on the arms of an attractive man. In fact, she was the captain of the cheerleader squad at her school, and had this super fine southern accent that does it to me every time. I was so darn excited that I never really thought much about why this fine female, whom I had never talked to before, asked me to be her prom date. Always willing to bring me down, it was my bassist Chris, who brought up how fishy it was.
“Dude, why would she ask you out?”
He lacked tact, but I knew what he was getting at right away. We both grew up on those nerd movies from the eighties, you know the ones, right? Same thing in every one, the dorkiest kid in school gets asked out by the most popular girl in the school, but when the dork goes on the date, it turns out to be a sham. The girl always turns out to be dating the captain of the football team, and the dork always gets tarred and feathered or hung upon high from his underwear.
Happens every time.
I’m no sucker, sure I bought that Blind Melon record but I know what’s up, there’s no question I had to be the biggest geek in school. She thought I was an easy target. Ha, well I’ll show her, I’ll bet her to the punch. Lets see what happens to her reputation when her prom date shows up in a skirt!
So prom night rolls around, and Chris, myself and some other punk wannabies show up in full drag. I had this great school teacher dress from the 1940’s, all black, tight waist with big puffy shoulders down to the sleeves where it got real tight again. The dress was designed, I believe, to make a proper lady stand smart, there wasn’t an inch of room for bad posture in this get up.
It was 8:30 pm, and I bet my folks would be real proud to know that their son was just strolling into the Nathan Bedford Forrest Cafeteria in a dress. I still had this “fuck you” mentality when Beth spotted me, and came over. She did this quick double take, then politely said, “Hey Brian, uh.. How are you?”
Within a couple of minutes it became blatantly obvious this was no sham. She was so sweet, and even introduced us to her friends, who were obviously a little bothered by being around men in dresses, and didn’t try as hard as Beth did not to be rude. An hour had passed and I didn’t get tarred and feathered once, though I was beginning to wish I had been. I felt like such a jerk, then the principal and the football couch pulled my by my puffy sleeve and kicked my friends and I out.
“You boys don’t go to this school, get off this property at once”
I had been building up this pissed off punk rock attitude all week, and I just busted out
“Fuck you, I’m the great grand-nephew of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, I have more right to be here than you do. As a matter of fact, get off my property, I’m reclaiming this school”
The principal then informed us he had called the cops, and we ran to our car and peeled out. I don’t think I ever talked to Beth again. She was so sweet, and must’ve sincerely liked me, up until that little dress incident.