Rhode Island Monthly Magazine 

Prom Queen    


Rhode Island is said to be on the smaller side — not quite as large as Texas, and not as small as, well anywhere, really. But where it may be lacking in expansive land mass, it makes up for in people. Not quality of people necessarily, but quantity. Yessir, lil Rhody ranks number two in competition for highest density. Lots of people and lots of coastline, with love veritably lurking around every corner...or so one would think.

As a senior in advanced placement math and science classes at Rogers High School in 2007, I had reasonably developed deductive skills. Maybe if I had believed teachers who told us we could use math in real life, I would have created an algorithm to calculate the likelihood of getting a date for senior prom.

After making lists of all the guys in my class, I had one real prospect. He held the Guinness World Record for bushiest eyebrows, but he was taller than me, which meant that I could wear heels for the photo ops. He laughed at my jokes in class so I figured he was a sure thing.

Alas, tragedy struck and the “sure thing” slipped from my hopeful clutches into the mitts of my high school arch nemesis — a snake, with a secret older boyfriend. Darn.

That’s alright, I thought, there’s still two weeks until the dance. I wasn’t really sweatin’ it, though my standards decreased dramatically by the day. My nonchalance was not exactly coolness, but more a clouded delusion of hope brought on by reality shows such as “Laguna Beach.” I expected to find Romeo, holding a dozen roses and waiting in a hot air balloon for me in the middle of the track.

With five days to go, there was still no one available to partake in this coming-of-age ritual with me. I was batting my eyelashes at pretty much everything male that moved. I even tried to farm off-island, but that was challenging with my lack of vehicle and small social radius.

To catapult my solitary situation from dismal to dire, the adjacent Middletown High School had their prom on the very same night. All of my pickup truck driving, lacrosse playing friends were out of the question. I had preemptively purchased two tickets and two seats in the limo, so I had to get resourceful and throw my pride to the wind.

I learned a valuable lesson that year: money can’t buy love, but it can buy a tuxedo rental, limo reservation and prom ticket for your college-age ex-boyfriend who shows up for pictures appropriately inebriated, overly friendly with the parents and massively avoidant of his younger sister.

That sounds like a real treat. Why not skip it? you may ask. Well, I didn’t have the excuses that my parents had back in the day; dad had been too cool, mom had a back brace.

Me, I had to go. I was head of prom committee.