Ruby

I bought an awesome dress that I looked really good in, headed over to someone’s house to get ready with a big group of girls, and then left for the school dance. Shit. Did I seriously fall into this trap again? The pre-dance fun is only a mask for the horrors that lie waiting later in the night!

When I showed up it wasn’t dark out yet and the gym was huge, so it was weird. Only like half the room was filled; the room felt light and cool. The music was being played at a reasonable volume (which was completely unreasonable, someone explained to me). The first song was “Forever Young”; I went up to a dancing couple and asked, “Are you guys having a killer time?” like in Napoleon Dynamite. Nobody got it, so they ignored me. OK, off to a good start.

The dancing and stuff didn’t even start for like an hour into the three-hour dance, and by that time me, my neighbor, and my other guy friend were pacing the outskirts of the crowd. It was Neighbor Boy’s first dance and the other one’s first dance without his girlfriend since they broke up. So we stuck together and made music requests the DJ had never heard of every few minutes. (First they were reasonable requests, like an Aerosmith song or something, but we may have suggested some more obscure, random ones like “I Am Your Grandma” or Rachel Trachenburg’s “Pigeon Song” just to mess with him as the night went on.)

We walked around the crowd of dancers and up and down some stairwells and eventually struck up a conversation about sound waves. A teacher asked us what was up (pity-convo?) and when one of us explained the subject, the teacher awkwardly shuffled away. It’s like we had human-repellant or something. Afterward this interaction, Neighbor Boy decided to take the opportunity to tell me how much this one kid in our group hates me. Lovely.

We ended up looking all angsty in the corner, talking about science projects, with someone coming up to us every now and then to see if we were talking about them. I actually kind of had fun just doing that instead of trying to enjoy the whole dancing part of the dance. It was a good decision. I think an even better one would be to hang out again next time, except maybe not at the dance.

And because we clearly didn’t seem antisocial enough already, standing next to the gym equipment talking about static electricity, this happened: a boy was sitting alone on a chair against the wall, so I sat next to him and began to invite him to talk to us. I gestured over to Neighbor Boy and the Other Boy, who were rubbing a Styrofoam cup on each other’s hair to make it stick to things. As I stood up, one of my friends yelled over, “YOU’RE NOT TRYING TO GET HIM TO JOIN OUR GROUP, ARE YOU? THEN OUR TRIANGLE WOULD BE A SQUARE!” When I turned back to the kid he was gone. I wonder why we aren’t more popular?

So, it didn’t go as I had originally thought, with me hating every minute, and it didn’t end with me dancing with the girls I got ready with or slow-dancing with anyone or with a ton of drama, good or bad. I just talked to my two friends and had a good time, and the fact that we were at the dance didn’t even matter. ♦