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My 1st Senior Prom (Bill Smith Photography) by Lenny La Rue, IPA

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Small (6.4" x 12.0")

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My 1st Senior Prom (Bill Smith Photography) by 


Now that you’ve stopped laughing at the picture, follow me back in time…


…I was a geeky guy, a nerd. I didn’t got to parties or out on dates. When mom came to me and said I was going to the senior prom, it was the first I’d heard of it. I was a junior and afraid to cross the Senior Lawn for fear of being pulled up the flagpole by one foot tied under the flag.

This is Margret and she asked me to go. Well, sorta asked me thru her mom to my mom to me. She was a lot smarter than I was, like my younger sister, but the same age. (My sister graduated early too: the same year I did. Put those two little factoids together and you get a lot of people wondering when I flunked a grade). Margret was graduating as a Junior and needed a date QUICK because things were happening a year sooner than she’d planned. I’d never gone out before so I guess my first date was a HUGE date. Not bad for a geek.

I got a long visit at the Sears Men’s department tuxedo rental and a longer (and completely unwanted) lesson on how to go on a date from a step-father I didn’t like. Everything from how to stand up, open doors without hitting either your date or yourself in the face, to walking holding hands. Can you say brutal? The worst part was how to order food for two in a restaurant (The Kiki Hut had some sort of island food I couldn’t pronounce and didn’t want but that was where I was going), how to handle money (“Here’s $40 and you can keep the change” wink-wink. Wink-wink what? Huh???), and how to ask her to dance (“Don’t try to do it, just do it”. Oooooook).

It was to be a double date because nobody thought I was gonna make it otherwise. Obviously, the other guy (Todd, I think) had been told I was helpless and hopeless because he excused “us” to go to the bathroom as soon as we got to the restaurant. I didn’t need to go but both our dates were looking like I needed to go and Todd insisted so I went.

More lessons, this time in a public toilet, in how to order by making your date think you wanted something that cost less than half the money you had. What??? I think he gave up and just told me what to order so Margret would get the hidden message I didn’t get.

I survived dinner by successfully pushing enough of it around to look as tho I’d tasted it and liked it a lot. The four of us returned to our cars. Yeah, it was a double-date with double cars. Seems really weird 35 years later but everybody knew what was going on: I was to be carefully led thru this without screwing it up on my own. I never saw Todd or his date again. I’m not even sure if they went to my school.

The prom was in some strange place like a empty store in a mall. I remember the glass doors in the glass walls. I remember the band was called East Wind and a guy named David Kara-something Russian was playing a REAL Hammond B3 organ. He played so well I was jealous I wasn’t playing it instead of dancing next to it. I vaguely remember standing in a long line to get this photograph taken by Bill Smith Photography. That part was nice because I didn’t need to pretend to dance while I was waiting in a long line.

What I don’t remember was much after that. Somehow I lost the bow tie you see here in the bottom of the back seat of the car. That was news to me when my leering step-dad told me a year later that he found it only after he had to pay for it when returning the tux. I was still a virgin three years after this picture was taken. If my tie ended up back there, it fell out of the damned coat pocket when the tux was returned cuz I wasn’t in the back seat of the car.

In the passing years, I’ve lost my hair, gained bifocal glasses, lost that bizarre look on my face (I could swear the photographer had to physically move my parts into place to have my face and body look like this), gained a lot of weight, and lost my innocence. I even went on my 2nd date (the junior dance) and 3rd date (my own senior prom). Someone asked me. Or they asked my mom to tell me I was going.

I don’t remember how I wound up in a tux this colour, whatever colour it is, but I do remember the powder blue tux I wore a year later. It was just as gaudy as the skin-tight red “Angel Flight” pants I wore in those days. My hair was bigger and I looked like Superfly or Shaft, only geekier.

I’d show you pictures from my 4th date but Red Bubble would remove them. Don’t ask why but I’ll give you a hint: my 4th date didn’t go thru mom.


PS Obviously the photograph wasn’t taken by me; it was taken by Bill Smith Photography. But it was purchased for the sole purpose of providing the families to be able to show off their priceless (sigh) moments. While I fully believe this gives the purchasers full rights to the image as well as the physical photograph, I am considering artistic ownership and not attempting to sell this piece. Consider it ‘shown on the fireplace mantle and you invited into my house’.

I’m a “scatter-focus” artist. ANYTHING may be here or roundabout my galleries. Expect nothing anywhere and you’ll always be OK. ;-)

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Comments

  • crackedpot
    crackedpotover 4 years ago

    roflmao! Sorry, but I started laughing the moment I saw this, and then I read your bit saying ….when you’ve finished laughing…and that started me again…and the more I read….ahh…my sides are hurting now from laughing so much! You’re a wonderful story teller Lenny:-)

  • Thank you. It’s rather easy to tell stories when they’re 100% true. This one is true to history as I remember it. If someone from my past points out a correction, I’ll happily credit them for it.

    You wouldn’t believe it but I had to write this entire thing out twice because the idiot Internet Explorer browser my job insists upon using is older than dirt and crashed. I was understandably vivid but my memory hasn’t decreased in the last week so what the heck.

    I wish I knew where some of “Our Gang” is these days. But I’m getting to the age when the answer is ‘dead’ 50% of the time. But anybody Googling my name will find me in a dozen places easily. I’d do the same if I remembered their names. LOL!

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • Karirose
    Kariroseover 4 years ago

    My dad taught me the lesson on ordering at a restaurant—casually ask what your date is ordering and only order something priced the same or less. Since I’m a penny pincher (by nature or nurture?) I got it. I still deal with it today and when my dad takes my mom and me out he tells me, “Order what you want, not by the price.” (Yeah, right, Dad. I’m not sure I’ve ever ordered anything that cost more than what my dad ordered.)

    You got a band? Geez. I guess that’s what schools in the big city get. The rest of us (in the second high school I attended, I didn’t go to a dance in the first one so I don’t know) got DJs. Yep. Even for prom.

    The tux color was chosen to coordinate with her dress and you couldn’t go wrong with beige! Oh yesss, I remember Angel Flights…:)

    You are quite the brave one, dear Lenny. I don’t think I’d have the courage to post my prom pics for the world even if I could find them. The 70’s Farrah Faucet haircuts? Oh no…..

  • Actually, having a DJ can be the better of the two because every possible thing can be played while a band has a set list and maybe some extra songs available in a pinch.

    You’re right about the colour coordination. I’d forgotten about it since I had nothing to do with it. But I’m not sure the colour of my jacket was beige; I remember it being called something outlandish. Two things have or may have happened: the original picture lost some depth of colour (it was in an old suitcase and the original “picture cardboard thingie” with the photographer’s name on it), and/or; I let Photoshop do something like make an automatic white balance adjustment. And actually, there’s another possibility that it was a less-than-perfect scan into Photoshop. But the bottom line was surely matching our colours and that was taken care of by adults who weren’t colourblind. LOL! Thanks for the reminder.

    Awww! Find your pix and scan them no matter what. Making digital copies is priceless and costless, even if you don’t show them to the masses. But you SHOULD show them off! That famous Farrah pose locked me back into the “blonds are best” mode. In fact, it was printed on a t-shirt I had during the time of the choir picture with my ex-girlfriend in it. She ripped it right off me when pissed one day. I was in complete shock. :-)

    I think you may remember much earlier pictures from TagWorld…much, much earlier. Those that dad took will find their way here eventually too. Back when I was chubby the first time. LMAO!

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • Carla Wick/Jandelle Petters
    Carla Wick/Jan...over 4 years ago

    I made my own dress for my 1st prom. From curtians, a bedspread, an old fur coat and some nasty old lace. I thought no one would guess til some girl narked on me to my mom (who didn’t know I was GOING to prom…stag…)
    LOVE this photo and your absolutely rocking essay to it….u looked SHARP mijo!

  • OMG! Was that a Carol Burnett script or what??? :-D Did people guess about the clothing or about the fact you sneaked in? If you GOT in wearing that, you had to have done at least a good job and probably a GREAT job. LOL!

    Thanks about the essay and looks. The looks are gone forever but the essay remains a testimony of my ongoing illness (or at least I’m gonna blame it)!

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • Carla Wick/Jandelle Petters
    Carla Wick/Jan...over 4 years ago

    At least it’s an illness we can all enjoy here in Bubble :o)
    Remember…..I’m a costumer? I LOVE making clothing with ‘flair’….lol Of course no one knew…….except the chick in my clothing class who told my sister who told my mom. eek

  • Oh! Now I see how you got busted and that’s even worse! Gee, I hope you at least got a great grade for it. If I tried to count the times my sister ratted on me and the number of times I didn’t rat on her simply out of principle, it would be something like google squared. And yeah, I forgot you did costuming AS WELL AS ALL THE REST OF THE THINGS YOU DO!. (Arrgh!) Do you play piano or can I claim to master nada you do so easily, Snake Whisperer?

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • Karirose
    Kariroseover 4 years ago

    Maybe the color of the tux was Ecru. Yes, that’s a color. (It’s a fancy sort of off-white/beige thing.) Who knew that there could be so many variations on white! Just ask Sherwin-Williams LOL Even scanning and faded pics wouldn’t make tux into a dark blue or anything. (I had a date wear a dark blue, velvet tux—well the jacket was — to a prom.)

    The Farrah pose? Sorry. Only had the haircut, not the pose. LOL Plus, my hair was/is curlier than hers so it never really looked like her haircut. I suppose it’s alright since my figure didn’t look like hers either. ;) Go figure. My brother had that famous poster of hers…

    Carla reminded me. I did make my dress one time. Once. My sewing skills have not improved. It seems the color scheme I always ran with was blues. One Sadie Hawkins dance I wore an Ecre colored dress with a blue bodice.

    Carla’s right. You looked sharp. I would have been swooning just passing you in the hall. (Especially in Angle Flights! Oh my!)

    Don’t remember the pics from TW to which you referred. But then, at Old +1 1/2 memory isn’t, well, serving me as well as it should. ;)

  • jeffrae
    jeffraeover 4 years ago

    I didn’t laugh but rather smiled…its nice to have captured history no mater what…this past week I took prom pics of our friends son. Not posted here but take my word for it..cutest couple ever.

  • I didn’t even notice it was around “prom time” when I posted this! LOL! It’s been hidden while I wrote and only recently revealed to public view. Of all the weird things. :-D

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • Crowmanic
    Crowmanicover 4 years ago

    “Michael lives!!” … sorry couldn’t stop my self … certainly a fashion statement … thx for the sharing …

  • MIchael? Jackson??? I’m sure he dances better than I did/do even now that he’s assumed room temperature!!

    Thank you and you’re welcome!

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • rubyjo
    rubyjoover 4 years ago

    your writing cracks me up
    and although i was asked to the proms, i never went
    i told myself it was out of rebellion but it was more likely nervousness
    of which you have a lot of for putting this pic up here (KIDDING!!)
    actually its cute as hell :))

  • LOL! I’m glad you like the writing as well as the prehistoric image. :-D Proms for some some people and others like me didn’t need to be there unless playing the music. Butit took a lot more guts to go thru the prom than it did to tell the world about it. It’s amazing what sort of healing balm 30+ years can be. In another 25 years, you’ll feel the same way I do now. :-)

    – Lenny La Rue, IPA

  • Wenjim
    Wenjimover 4 years ago

    Hi Lenny great look, and great story also. I bet we all have a photo like that hidden some place.

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