Prom: A step by step guide for how to react when your limo breaks down, Part 2

I met my prom date through the theatre. I met him when we both starred in a production of The Wizard of OZ in our senior year. His name was Bradlee. He was the Cowardly Lion, and I was Glinda the Good Witch. Cute right? And I just thought he was really talented, and sweet, and just great.

I’ll get that lion courage! Lions  love courage!

There’s something you should know about me though. I’m really nervous for men to know when I’m interested in them until suddenly, I’m just not anymore. It’s like word vomit. Several times in my life I just haven’t been able to take it anymore, an idea gets in my head, and I just have to act on it. One day, when prom was a month away, I opened up to my friends Caitlin and Kirk  about my desire to ask Bradlee to prom.


Nothing I could say can better express how awesome these two people are better than this photo.

The setting: after school. Brad had gone to get his truck, I want to go to prom with him, and I have seconds to decide about whether or not to ask him, but I need encouragement. This is basically how it unfolded:


Caitlin:”Oh my gosh, really??? Wow, you should totally go for it.”

Kirk:”Totally, you go girl!”

Me: “Ok, ok, but how should I do it? What should I say?”

Caitlin: “When he gets back with his truck, just talk casual, and gradually lead in to it. Like, ‘so, are you going to prom? I was thinking about going, you wanna maybe go together?”

Kirk:”Yeah, just casually suggest the idea.”

Tara: “Right right, casual. Gradual. Friendly. Got it.”

Brad rolled up in his truck, Caitlin and Kirk subtlety backed away. My moment had come. This is the conversation that followed:

Brad: “Hey Tara, are you coming to starbucks with us after school?”

Me: “Nahit’sbeenalongdayandIhavehomeworkbutanywaysWANTTOGOTOPROMWITHME?”

(I’m sorry, I know it’s hard to read when I don’t provide spaces, but spaces would suggest that there were pauses for breath in that speech, which there were not.)



I swear to God, it took his face 30 full seconds to form this expression. It was the longest half minute of my life.

Anyways though, he obviously said yes, because you saw us in that group picture together. And also because I’m just generally a suave person.

The embarrassing thing about this photo is that I am 100% sober.

 Brad was a kick ass date. Two days after I asked him to prom he asked me if he could wear a purple tuxedo. At that moment I knew I had made the right decision.

Here is Brad, refusing to smile, like he did in every photo that night. Later he told me that he would have worn the purple tux but he couldn’t find purple pants. Because evidently someone had made HALF of a purple tuxedo. The fact that he didn’t get to wear a pimp tux was probably the only real tragedy of the evening.

We went to prom with a group of 8 other people. Tim, Caitlin, and Kirk were among them.

Here’s Tim again. I know the photo I posted of us in Part one was strange, but going through these old albums has made me realize that there are no photos of Tim and I where we both look like normal human beings.

Our limo arrived. I don’t know if the boys knew that they were ordering from the retro model limo company, but they must have been, because ours was clearly from no later than 1995. In addition to that, there were a series of phone numbers on the side. Classy.

I didn’t take a photo of the whole limo because I didn’t want to give any company free advertising.       

The second problem with the limo was that it was an 8 person limo, and there were very clearly 10 people(several of them large) in our party. The limo driver offered no explanation, and seemed very unconcerned throughout the whole series of events that followed.

It was exactly as comfortable as it looks.

I feel like we could have all fit better in this limo if they hadn’t designated so much space for pimp accessories.

We squeezed in though. We paid for the stupid thing, and really, what difference were two people going to make to a vehicle that size?

Well, we broke it. I could claim that it wasn’t us that broke it, but I’m pretty sure we were weighing it down, and we all heard its death cry as the bottom scraped painfully over the curb when we arrived at the restaurant. So we took photos in front of the broken limo, then ate dinner, and then lied and said it was one or our birthdays to get free cake from the wait staff, just to kill time while somebody figured out a way to get the rest of the way to prom.

Luckily, one of the members of our party was part of a mafia family or something because he called some “family friends” to drive us the rest of the way to prom in shiny black SUV’s. His parents also paid for our entire meal at the restaurant so obviously something was going on.

Do you kids need anything else “taken care of”?

We all got into separate cars to get to prom, and we finally made it to the big venue. As soon as I stepped out of the car I stepped on my dress hem and tore right through it.

Actually it wasn’t too much of a tragedy because I’m a giant and people are always looking up at me,  and not down at my tattered prom dress. Also, all the punch was gone by the time we got there so everyone was probably wasted anyways.

Once we got to Prom, Brad and I actually didn’t spend that much time together because I spent a lot of time wading through 300 people so I could find my friends and take pictures of us together with me with my eyes closed.

Also, because I wanted to highlight just how much of an albino I am.

In the middle of taking pictures I decided to try extra hard to keep my eyes open.


Sometime during all this we all jumped around together during “Yeah!’ by Usher, and Brad and I awkwardly avoided eye contact while slow dancing to “Lips Of an Angel”. Then later there were class favorites. Caitlin got class clown and I told her afterwards that I was mad that there was no class favorite award for “tallest in the class”. Which I would have won. Later at the theatre department banquet she remedied this.

I’m sorry the picture is blurry, but the award was for “Coolest Tall Girl”. I won a college scholarship from both the theatre and choir departments, but I consider this to be my greatest achievement.

I’m pretty sure everyone in my group had a decent time, except for maybe Tim. He was really worried about how we would get home from prom, you know, like a responsible person, and spent the whole evening asking everyone in the entire senior class if they had extra room in their limo for him and his date.

He did pause so that he could once again not pose in a normal way in one of my photos.

Then prom was over. It was time to violently destroy the decorative centerpiece.

I don’t know why this happened. You don’t usually rip down the altar after a wedding.

After that we called taxis and waited for them to pick us up and take us to Tim’s house, where he would hopefully be, since he actually was successful in finding a ride. We were the last ones to leave prom. Us, and the school cop who sighed impatiently while we sat on the curb waiting for the cabs to arrive.

And that was my prom! I didn’t go to any wild alcohol after-parties because I wasn’t the wild alcohol parties kind of girl(yet). Despite all of my joking, I have no regrets about prom. It’s a little overhyped yes, but it’s a high school rite of passage. It was the first time I rode in a limo! It was the second time I got to ride in a taxi! I really liked  all of the people I got to go with, I got to wear a dress that I wanted (even if it ripped), and I got to take a date that let me stage our stereotypical professional prom photo like this:

Like I keep saying, Pimpin’. Ain’t. Easy.

Until next time, I am vertically yours,



Prom: A step by step guide for how to react when your limo breaks down, Part 1:

Prom was always going to be a little awkward for me because in high school I was fat. I feel mean saying that about another human being, even if it’s just myself, but we have to be honest with ourselves. I was pretty lucky though, I was not ridiculed or teased very often. It might have been because I’ve always been a generally nice person, who gets along with almost everyone. However, I think it’s because I dressed like this:

Pimpin’ ain’t easy

(Full disclosure time: I went to the internet to look at pimp quotes when I first saw this picture, and I found a lot of gems at this website:

The pimp quotes are under the “pimpology” section, where you can also get, “Hoe Slapping Practice”. )

Anyways, about prom, when it’s prom time at a 5A high school, shit gets real. Everyone goes. Well, supposedly there is an “Anti-prom”. During high school, I think I assumed that all the kids who went to that smoked, drank alcohol, and had an anti-conformist devil orgy. Now though, I think it was mostly just a small group of kids who got together for 4 hours on the night of prom, brooded, and talked about how much prom was probably sucking.

I should say that there are reasons not to go to prom. There are legitimate ways in which it can be not very fun, but I personally wanted to fit in and have a blast. I wanted to have a normal, girlish, happy prom experience. But by that point in life, I should have known that “normal” wasn’t exactly in my wheelhouse. Here are pictures from some of my other public school dance appearances:

A dance for the theatre department. I think there was a costume theme. I’m wearing tube socks, so evidently my costume was, “horrible formal accessories.”

This is the scariest photo of me on record. This was taken after a choir dance. Not only am I obviously just pouring sweat from every skin cell, but I can’t imagine the person who started to take this photo, looked at the camera’s display, and thought, “Should I wait until Tara get’s that drunk insanity look off her face? Nah.”

Oh, another thing that I should mention about me, is that I frequently want to take pictures with ridiculous faces and poses. I also frequently forget to tell this to the other people in the photo with me.

I was always surrounded by cool people at these dances:

Another thing about me is that usually when the other person wants to be silly in the photo, I have no idea.

I’m not trying to make a silly face in this photo, that’s just the normal, creepy way I look if I smile and raise my eyebrows at the same time. I like to think I look a little like Jack Nicholson in the shining right after he bashes the bathroom door in with an axe.

The joke here was that Tim(the man solemnly rubbing my stomach) wanted to mock the pose of the couple next to us in a comedic fashion. I didn’t realize this until about three years later, and consequently was confused and baffled by this photo.  

Whatever these photo’s make you think, I had a lot of generally fun, sweaty experiences at high school dances. There were a lot of electric slides, a lot of Macarena’s, and a lot of sitting sadly in the corner every time they played a slow couples song, and I had no partner.

That was all going to change for prom though. It was one thing to go alone and wear the same lavender dress and tube socks to every OTHER dance, but prom was the big one. I made my mind up months in advance that no matter what happened, I was going to have a kick ass dress, and I was going to have a kick ass date.

The dress was the first problem. Like I’ve alluded to earlier, I was pretty fat in high school. So obviously I wasn’t going to find a dress at dillards. It’s at moments like this that I really have to hand it to my mother. She took me to TONS of places. And it wasn’t a fun, “Hehehe, prom dresses are awesome, yay!” shopping trip, it was more like a sad, documentary-film-about-obesity shopping trip. If the camera crew from TLC had been with us, it would have been a very depressing episode of “Say yes to the dress”. After finding nothing, and feeling discouraged, my mom told me that she would make my prom dress.

I decided on bright, shiny hot pink. Because as someone who already stuck out from the crowd, I recognized that subtlety at this formal event was important.

If you’re having trouble finding me, I’m standing at the end of this photo. Also, the limo behind us is not in working order. But we’ll get to that later.  

I got the works for prom, too. It was the second time in my life that I’ve gotten my hair professionally fixed, I got special makeup from the counter at the department store, and I got my eyebrows waxed.

The eyebrow waxing was a particularly special experience for me. First, because I had been growing two caterpillars on my forehead and the transformation of my brow was truly stunning. Second, I got it done in what seemed like the laundry closet of a small Chinese nail salon. The specialist that did the job ushered me into a tiny backroom, and spent the whole experience having a passive aggressive discussion with her boyfriend on speaker phone.

See? She did a good job, but I don’t know how things turned out between her and her boyfriend.

Check out part two, where I secure my prom date, rip my dress, and Tim (stomach ruby-guy from before) spends the entirety of prom asking other people for a ride home.