Prom is frustrating but not frustrating but really doesn’t matter at all but almost matters, understand? And it used to not matter to me at all, and then I went through various stages of caring, and now I have mixed feelings but am mostly returning to my apathy. However, PEOPLE NEED TO STOP TRIPPIN.

Last year, around springtime, I was actively against going to prom. I had been to enough school dances and didn’t want to go alone, because the last time I did, a girl kicked me out of her group right before the dance because I didn’t have a date and would MESS UP HER PRECIOUS PICTURES. However, one day, there were TONS of roses in my locker. Uncountable. The better part of my locker was completely occupied by ALL OF THESE ROSES. I quickly warmed up to the idea of going. It could be fun. If nothing else, I would get to dress up and eat really good food. That didn’t sound so bad. I like food and feeling fancy.

Now, usually when a girl sees a frillion hundred roses in her locker at a certain time of year, she assumes someone’s about to ask her to prom. So, naturally, I assumed someone was about to ask me to prom. Specifically, someone all my friends had told me was going to ask me to prom. This, however, was not the case. It turns out my locker mate had just been asked and needed a place to put her flowers while she got her books out for class. A week later, the kid who was supposed to ask me asked this other girl to prom. According to my friends, he was waiting to see whether or not she would be out of town that weekend, and I was his backup.

In that moment two things happened: (1) I got totally played and somewhat crushed (actually, more like slightly crumpled); and (2) I suddenly really reeeeeaaaally wanted to go to prom. In the following weeks, there were two more instances of people telling me that I was about to get asked to prom; both boys ended up asking other people, people who probably didn’t, as my dear brother once told me I did, smell like “weird bacon.”

The night of prom, I was determined to have other plans so that when kids later asked what I had done, I would have a ready answer. When I called up my friends who went to other schools, looking to hang out, one was going to her own prom that night, and the other was going to be out dress shopping all day for her prom. I ended up at home alone, reading a book and playing my flute—like most Saturday nights. Which isn’t that bad. I like doing those things. But when people asked where I went that Saturday night, I just said “out.”

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Can’t she just go to the dance with her friends, instead of waiting for a boy to ask her, or ask a boy from school HERSELF?” Erm, not really. All of my female friends have dates, and all of my guy friends are my girl friends’ boyfriends. I’d go with a group of these friends, but I tried that at homecoming and everyone was just talking in pairs with their dates. They did pictures as couples and one mom was like, “OMG WHAT DO WE DO WITH THIS SOLO KIDDDDD” for longer than humanly possible. I was all, “I’LL JUST STAND HERE I’M FINE” and she was all, “NO THIS IS A PROBLEM IT LOOKS FUNNNNYYYY.”

Also, I guess I could cruelly force a guy from another school to go with me, but I don’t really know many boys from other schools. I guess there are some guys at my church that I know, but I haven’t been to church in a long time, and I haven’t talked to most of those guys in like a year.

So, anyway, this year, I wanted things to be different. A friend of mine told me that someone was going to ask me, so I got my hopes up. I interrogated my friends until I learned who it was, and was told that he’d be waiting at my car after dance class this past Monday.

After class, no one was at my car. But I figured he’d just ask me the next day. My friends had spoken—it would happen. Tuesday, in French class, my friend Hannah apologized for leading me on. She felt bad, she said, about what had happened. Which was: as this guy was preparing to ask me, another girl came to hang out at his house, and he asked her on the spot because he knew that she really wanted to go with him. And you know what? I kind of don’t care. I like this girl. She’s funny. She’s nice. She always helped me with my AP U.S. history studying last year. Also, dudes can ask whomever they want to ask. JUST DON’T SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING WHEN YOU’RE STILL UNDECIDED, OK?

So, I’m not going to prom again this year, and that’s fine. When people ask me, in a really concerned way, why I’m not going, I want to say, “Because it’s stupid, meaningless, and expensive. Also, all my friends have dates and the last time I went to a school dance in a group of couples it was awkward.” Or just, “SHUT UP LEAVE ME ALONE FOREVER.” And whenever a teacher praises me for not going (one clapped and said, “Thank goodness”), I want to say that it’s not all that bad. That it could have been fun. I want to tell them that it would have meant something to me that someone thought I didn’t smell like weird bacon. That, in fact, I smelled nice. For someone who doesn’t take part in a lot of school events, it would have meant that I was a little bit more a part of our grade. Also, good food, you guys! ♦