Friday, April 8, 2011

Will You Go To The Prom With Me?

Inhale deeply. Tell me what you smell? Try to sniff past the smell of fresh cut grass and blooming flowers. If you have allergies go ahead and sneeze a few times, but then I want you to concentrate. Close your eyes and focus. Zero in on the corsages, the taffeta, the tiaras and the limousines. Feel the excitement and last minute date scramble. Taste the punch and the hours-de-ourves. Hear the thumping music just before the DJ announces the last slow dance. Now open your eyes and see the balloons, the dance floor, the young people glammed up in tuxedos and formal dresses, and gaze at the sparkling decorations. Have a seat and take in your surroundings... You're at the prom.

The Prom is always the climax of a teen drama. Everything in a teen movie happens at the prom. The unsuspecting girl is named Prom Queen. That high school crush finally makes the transition from fantasy to reality. Virginities are lost. Rivalries cemented. You name it... it can happen at the prom... in Hollywood.

In reality prom is just like any other dance. There are couples slow dancing. There are girls dancing in groups. The decorations and dresses all resemble the same decorations and dresses of the past generations. There are flowers pinned to jackets and strapped around wrists, and at the end of the night your life is still the same as it was at the beginning of the night (with the exception of your feet throbbing and aching from the shoes and the dancing). Chances are, Prom is just another event to remember years down the road where nothing significant happened.

I went to Prom my junior and senior years in high school. I went dateless both years (that shouldn't be surprising since I'm perpetually single and I seem to have more fun that way). My school had Post Prom (which was the school's way of keeping the teens from drinking and having sex). Since I was a goodie two shoes in HS, I spent the entire night after prom in the high school gym playing games and getting attendance prizes. I had fun. I went to prom and I had fun.

A friend of mine (one that I graduated with ten years ago) was asked to Prom this year (seriously). The guy who asked her is 18 years old and, evidently, infatuated with her. While he's not exactly jail bait, I think he'd be better off asking a girl his own age. If you think about it... the last time my friend went to prom, this kid was in the second grade. He was just learning his cursive letters. His biggest academic hurdle was distinguishing his r's from his n's. I told her if she were meant to go to prom with him, she should have done it back then... it would have been cuter than a 27 year old showing up wearing a dress and a corsage. Of course, she declined his flattering offer.

It's got me thinking, though. I want to go to Prom again. Like I said, I had fun at the first two, but I want to go to another one. But I'd like to go to an adult prom. I want a prom with booze. I want to go to prom without the awkward feeling that accompanies adolescence. I want a prom without the chaperons. I want to get all dressed up in a formal dress, get my hair teased, combed, curled and pinned into place secured with an entire bottle of hairspray. I want to dance, and dance, and dance, and then dance some more. I think I still want to go dateless. When I went stag I managed to dance with all the other girls' dates. That's a trend I'll keep from the first time around.

I guess we already have adult versions of Prom. Weddings tend to get us to dress up and dance. I guess the bride and groom are comparable to the king and queen, but the major differences are the dresses. At a wedding the bride is guaranteed to have the best dress in the room. At prom, all the girls are wearing something fabulous. All the girls are well put together. All the guys are wearing tuxedos... not just a select few like you'd have at a wedding. Everybody's dressed to the nines and look their best. You can't really get that at a wedding. There's always some redneck cousin wearing jeans, thereby ruining any sort of dress code in place.

The more affluent adults find themselves at elite parties which would be more comparable to The Prom. Dress codes at certain events, fundraisers, extravaganzas can mimic that of a prom. I suppose if you're rich you can show up to an event like this in a chaffered vehicle. For the economically blessed and the social elite, the invitations to these galas are always coming in. They may even be jaded to this lifestyle and don't find it as glamorous shiny as I would.

Why can't we "salt of the earth" peeps get a big dance? I realize it costs a lot of money to do a big event like that. With the cost of admission, the dress or the tux, the limo, etc the grand total is a hefty one. Because of that, my dream of the adult prom will probably never see fruition. I turn 29 this year... and I'm thinking for my 30th I want something fancy. I want to get all dressed up and I want everybody else to get dressed up, too. The theme? Will be The Prom. It's decided so don't try to talk me out of it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

You're Going To Miss Me

To know me is to know I am blunt. To be my friend means having a thick skin and the capacity to hear what you need to hear versus what you want to hear. I'm not afraid to throw down the douche card, and let you know when you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. When you've crossed the line, and ask my opinion... be prepared to receive it. Don't worry... you're more than welcome to do the same with me when I come to you for advice.

Gossip and talking behind people's backs is not only allowed, but it's expected. Especially when you live in a small town. But, when you live in a town who's entire population wouldn't fill a large theater, you best believe that the shit you're talking is going to make its way back to the person you're talking shit about. And, if it's about me, then you better be prepared for a confrontation. It will be inevitable, and I pray, for your sake, that when it happens I'm not in a horribly pissed off mood. Because my words can be venomous, and I rarely take them back.

Yes, this happened recently. A person. A friend of mine. An old colleague and sharer of good times. He recently decided to tell me I was a bad friend because I make him feel like shit about himself. Yes, I am guilty of this.

Why? You may ask yourself... Why would I do this? Because my friend turned into an addict before my eyes. He let substance take over his life and run wild with it. He's college educated and smart as whip. He's nice, polite, open minded and is a good listener... when he's sober. When his world revolves around substance abuse, he's mean. He words can cut like a knife and he laughs while you console yourself with the thought that he doesn't really mean it. His smart little brain turns into an organ dedicated only to the drug. It works out plans to get drugs; how to get money for the drugs; where to get transportation to the drugs; who to lie to about the drugs; which lies to use; and defense mechanisms for when he gets caught. He sleeps, eats, works and lives for the drugs.

The consequences? Well, none of them are working so far. Many times I thought he'd hit rock bottom, but it turned out he figured out a way to dig himself even deeper. He's been called out at work. He's stolen from people who love him. He's even been arrested. Even with a looming court date and drug test up ahead... he continues his destructive patterns.

And, through out all of it... I've been his friend. I was one of the only people who told him he was getting himself in too deep. I was the only one who put my foot down and refused to be an enabler for him. This caused a lot of fighting between us, but every time he got mad at me, I told him I was doing this because I care about him. If I didn't care, I would just go ahead and let him destroy his life. He seemed to at least understand my logic.

When I found out he fell off the wagon recently, I threatened to put his ass on blast. I threatened to tell everybody he knows... every small town bar he walks in everybody will know his problem and be advised not to help him out in obtaining drugs. His parents would be clued in. And I would tell the virtual world of social networking, too. I wasn't kidding. He promised it was just a relapse and he'd stop.

Well, I don't know if he stopped. My best guess would be no. I'm sure I'll find out when one of his enablers reads this and they confirm what I truly believe... he's worse off than he's ever been before. Only his enablers really know what's going on.

I, however, have cut off all ties with him. You see... when he accused me of being a bad friend for making him feel like shit about was during an argument in which I confronted him on publicly saying mean things about me. My refusal to accept his drug use ticked him off and spurred him into trying to make me look like an idiot. He laid the final straw on the camel's back. When confronted, he tried turning the tables to make it look like I am the one who is doing this to him... like I am the cause and because I don't condone his actions, I'm a bad person and only contributing to his bad habit. It's classic deflection and diversion. I told him I wouldn't apologize for telling him what nobody else has the guts to say to him. He told me it is what it is... and I said "Yeah. I'm somebody who's cared about you and tried so hard to be a compass for you, and you've turned out to be just a careless asshole. Well... I'm not friends with careless assholes." And I, thereby, ended what little friendship we had left.

It's unfortunate, really. I hate when friendships end, and I often try really hard to keep them going even long after it's clear they're done. I've managed to keep several long term friendships in my life, and I've also managed to grow and be a better friend than I ever have been before. I help support my friends in their business ventures. I will stay at a friend's house after they've been operated on to help them recover. When a friend is experiencing grief I'm there for them with an open ear and open arms. And, when a friend of mine is on the brink of ruining everything they have going for them, I'm there to yank and tug on them in an effort to bring them back to the life they're leaving behind. I will fight for, defend venomously, and stand up for the relationships in my life... until that person proves they're not worthy of my fabulous friendship. Until they show me that they wouldn't have the same respect for me with the cards are down and the chips are stacked against me. And then... well... I have no choice but to walk away and throw a lit match onto the frail bridge that's left in the wake.