The Harbinger Online

WPA: In a Guy’s Shoes

Handled incorrectly, a high school dance such as WPA can be the single most awkward experience of your teenage years. The media often portrays dances with the same cringe-worthy stereotypes, but honestly, they don’t know the half of it. Because its the girl that asks the guy to WPA, males feel an even greater pressure to not screw the night up. The following is a series of these awkward events, compiled into one extended nightmare of a dance. Laugh, cry and scream as one boy, we’ll call him Ian, takes you through WPA from a guy’s perspective

11:30- Wake up in the afternoon feeling like P. Diddy

My first thought as I roll out of bed–I forgot the corsage.

Only a few minutes into the new day and I’ve already screwed up. Who knew a flower, a sweet, delicate flower, would cause my complete and utter downfall?

I pull out the to-do list for WPA my mom made for me a week ago and circle “Order corsage.” I scan the rest of the list for the first time, overwhelmed by its volume of tasks.

After a series of mental “I’ll save that one for later”‘s, I return to bed.

You call it lazy. I call it beauty sleep.

1:55- The assistant

Tie shopping with my mom at Macy’s. Due to my lack of interest in fashion magazines, a very flamboyant sales assistant named Sebastian assists me. I try on an extent of different ties, ranging from a “fine emerald silk” to a “Norwegian wool blend”, all of which make my neck itch. The king of the assistants Sebastian then declares that I’m “tying them all wrong”, and inquires if I learned to tie a tie from baboons.

I guess that’s why Sebastian, armed with a tie he pulled off the rack, a Ralph-Lauren I think it was, decided it was his duty to act. If you happened to be wandering through Macy’s on that Saturday afternoon, you’d see a grown man with overly gelled, spiky hair choking a teenager while his mom stood off to the side, telling him to hold still.

3:47 GABL = my life

After we annihilate our opponents in an intense community basketball game (their team name was The Losers, and rightfully so), we decide to hit up Chik-fil-A. I sit down with my filet and waffle fries, completely forgetting I’ll be eating an elaborate Italian meal only a few hours from now. I glance at my phone and see six “urgent” texts and four missed calls from my mom, wondering if if I’ve gotten a corsage.

Crap. I call her back, and in a gruff tone she informs me that she is currently picking one up.

For the win, mom. FTW.

5:50- As long as it fits

Ten minutes ’til pictures. Time to get dressed.

I pick up the khakis laying on my bedroom floor. After dusting lint, crumbs and other various items off the pants, I examine them for any ketchup stains from last night’s dinner with the folks. Nope, we’re good.

A few short moments later, my outfit is nearly complete, give or take a few accessories. After a quick scan of my closet’s contents, I find a blue sport coat. I then remove the dead boutineer from the jacket’s lapel; remnants of yesteryear’s Cotillion. I slip on the fancy new shirt-and-tie combo that Sebastian picked out for me and head into the bathroom for final inspection.

The appearance of my hair strongly suggests that I just got into a fight with a vacuum cleaner, and the vacuum won. After soaking my hands in water and running them through my hair, I glance into the mirror again. Not much has improved, but it looks like I at least tried. And who’s going to care, anyway?

Apparently, everyone but me.

6:13- In need of a bandaid

After several failed attempts from my date at pinning on the boutineer, her camera-happy mother decides to take it upon herself to repeatedly puncture my chest with the sharp needle. As I rub my new sore, I ask myself if a flower was worth the pain. I suddenly picture the future, where my mom is checking where I’ve been the entire night by following the trail of white flower pedals that have fallen to the ground. It seems to answer my question.

On to pictures. I stand behind my date at the end of the line of couples, the shortest of the boys. Why our parents would insist on placing me, at the end opposite the tallest guys is a mystery. During the bombardment of bright flashes and sighs from mothers, all I can think of is the phrase, “AT&T: raising the bar.”

6:55- The chat

It’s hard to sit down and have a mature conversation with a grizzly bear. Especially when said bear, who just so happens to be a former college linebacker, is your date’s father.

For ten minutes I struggle to keep from passing out due to fright. Between growls, I can make out the words “respect” and “intentions.” My date’s father keeps his massive paw on my shoulder, gripping it with a force a couple notches above firm.

“You will do the right thing,” he says, and walks away.

I load into the car with my date. As we drive off to dinner, I swear I see her father slip me a wink. My insides are churning the entire ride to dinner.

7:28- Welcome to Italy

Sitting in front of me is a platter of leaves and cheese. And I’m supposed to eat it. Using a fork, I evenly distribute the “food” about my plate, giving the appearance that I had made an attempt at the salad. I take a few moments during this process to reflect on the events that led me to this predicament.

For starters, I’m a white kid of English descent from Kansas. So naturally, I would be fluent in Italian, and would furthermore be able to read an entire menu in Italian without English translations, right?

Wrong. That was the basis of my struggle. I found myself asking the waitress the meaning of every item on the menu, struggling to read her lips over the chatter at the table, and then sheepishly asking her to do it again. My date seemed more embarrassed than me.

Hey, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t order horse meat.

So, when the waitress had had enough and I was made to order, I told her the classic line, “I’ll have what she’s having,” pointing to my date.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the reason why my heart sank when I saw the waitress bring out two identical salads. It’s the reason that salad has been sitting in front of me untouched for thirty minutes. And it’s the reason I’m still hungry.

Next dance, I’ll just go ahead and order the horse meat.

Or go to McDonald’s.

10:05- No dancing allowed

Nothing is better than standing awkwardly in a throng of people for two hours. Well, almost two hours; I forgot earlier that we are strictly forbidden to dance at dances and broke apart from the group, jumping around during the song “Shout” by the Isley Brothers. After being stared at for an uncomfortable amount of time by some of my more cool-concious group members, I discovered the error of my ways and I returned to my position in our group’s chat circle.

Deciding to get some much needed air, I excuse myself and head for the drinking fountain. On my wait out, I glance over in the corner of the cafeteria, where a group of kids are breaking the rule. Those who are dancing are really going at it, shaking their heads and stomping their feet.

They look ridiculous. I long to be them.

12:14- Hugs and handshakes

As the after party winds down, it’s time to say goodbye.

I go through the usual mechanics. A slap on the back for a friend, a couple of handshakes for the host’s parents and a series of waves for all my other group members.

Then, there’s the date. She goes in for the hug, but just to make things more awkward, I make the last-minute decision to give her a slap on the back instead. A quick “thanks” (without boring her with any reasons why) and I am out the door before she can get in a word.

Even though this night should probably be deemed a failure, I have three years to get it right.

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