I started telling you about my high school prom and got a little sidetracked writing about my prom date, Sunny Sue Carson. Our prom was in May, 2011, held at a hotel in Knoxville, and the theme was James Bond. There was one really good thing about that from the start: the guys didn’t have to worry about if they needed to wear tuxedos. Pretty simple: James Bond = boys in tuxes. It may not have made it easy for the girls to decide what to wear, but it’s never easy for them to decide what to wear anyway. When you’re a dude it should be simple, and it’s a pain in the fuckin ass when you don’t know if you need a suit or a tux.
The question was what kind of a tuxedo did I want to wear. Sunny said I should go like Sean Connery in Goldfinger since he was the first Bond and that was the first movie, so I rented myself a white tuxedo jacket and all-black accessories, and Sunny got me a red carnation. Gardner did crack that I looked too much like Justin Bieber to look like Sean Connery, and I reckon he had a point kinda…but I still punched him in the arm harder than I needed to after he said it.
Sunny took her cue from the red carnation she was getting me, and she went in bright red. I think some chicks call it ‘fire engine red’ – and dang did she look smokin in it. The dress was real simple and elegant too: just a plain long, tight red dress that left as much to the imagination as it showed. (A few years later my high school would get into the national press because they didn’t let a girl into the prom because they said he dress was too low cut.) I’ll admit that, while I like chicks to look hot, I don’t like them to look trashy. I was going to get her a corsage of red carnations to match my flower, but the florist told me that carnations would look cheap and that it would be cooler if there were a touch of white on her red dress the way there was a touch of red on my white jacket. Always trust a gay florist on things like that lol. He was right: I got Sunny a corsage of baby white roses (or whatever those small roses are called) and it looked amazing.
Mom wanted photos of the two of us together, so I had to go pick up Sunny, have her parents take pictures of us, and then drive her back to our house so Mom could get her pictures of us. I’m pretty sure my older sister Elizabeth Scarlett had a prom, but Mom was acting like this was the first time anyone in the family had gone to one.
Then the stretch limo with Gardner and Turner and their dates came to pick us up and drive us to Knoxville. Although I’m sure they realized that we’d get to drinking something alcoholic before the night was over, and they didn’t need to worry about me driving drunk, Mom and Dad saw to it that we had something legal to drink while we were in the limo. They got us a whole mess of bottles of sparkling apple cider, which went well with the champagne glasses in the car and how we were dressed. It was a great idea: sparkling cider is tasty, you only have it for special occasions so it’s kinda festive…and, like I told you when I was writing about New Year’s Eve with Joyce, I still prefer it to champagne even now that I’m legal to drink the ‘real’ stuff.
Turner went to prom with a girl he started seeing pretty steadily around the time me and Shoshanah broke up. (It was a little awkward that he was falling in love while my heart was broken, but Turner was a great buddy and always gave me the feeling that he was putting me first.) Gardner went with an unattached cheerleader. Me and Sunny at least had a thing going, but Gardner and Tiffani really did just get together to go to prom. (Tiffani also had the kind of reputation Sunny managed not to have.) Now you didn’t really need a date to go to the Maryville High prom, lots of people went with just a group of friends, but, since both me and Turner had dates, Gardner would have felt left out not having a date of his own, since we were all going in the limo together. Besides, prom was one of the last things the three musketeers would do together, and we all wanted to have the same kind of experience.
So there we all were in the limo with our sparking apple cider in the champagne glasses, feeling pretty excited and thinking we were soooo grown up lol. Both Gardner and Turner had on black tuxes, Gardner’s was all black and totally classic, while Turner went for a purple paisley bow tie and vest since his date was wearing purple. That way we all looked a little different but still Bond-like.
Our first stop was dinner, which the 6 of us agreed would be at a nice restaurant called Chesapeake’s Downtown. (Yeah, it’s in downtown Knoxville lol.) It’s a seafood restaurant, and I’m pretty dang fond of seafood. We weren’t ordering whole lobsters while we were dressed up for prom, but they do have an amazing crab bisque which is still the best I’ve ever had in my life. The crab cakes are awesome too. (Yeah, I still remember what I had, and, yeah, it was a lot of crab. There were some jokes about me being ‘crabby’ for the rest of the night.) The only ‘problem’ is that there was no ice cream on the menu for dessert, so I had to settle for key lime pie. Pie is almost as good as ice cream for dessert, so I was ok lol.
If you put good food before us musketeers, we were guaranteed to enjoy ourselves. The only one of us who might not have had a great time was the Turner’s girlfriend, who was trying to be a vegan and had trouble finding something on the menu. She had to make do with a bunch of side dishes, but, if you ask me (and I know I’m gonna piss some people off by writing this) people who are vegan ought to be prepared for not being able to find a whole lot to eat. I gotta admit that I also don’t understand how someone could want to be vegan – the Good Lord made good food (and especially ice cream!) so we could enjoy it – but, well, to each his (or her) own.
Then it was back in the limo with the next bottle of sparkling apple cider for the short drive to the hotel where prom was being held.
Once we got to the hotel, there were more pictures (Mom promised to send me some for the blog, but she’s forgotten), then we got inside and I gotta admit it looked amazing. It wasn’t the casino in Monte Carlo…but the decorating committee made it seem almost like that’s where we were. They had a band that alternated with a DJ, but don’t forget that this shortstop can’t dance and does everything he can to get out of it. Sunny still made me dance a few dances, but we had a deal that I wouldn’t mind it if she danced with other guys too. Sunny was a cheerleader and really liked to dance, so in that sense maybe I wasn’t the perfect date for her…but we got on so well otherwise that it wasn’t a problem.
What I thought was cool was that they had other things going on besides dancing. The best was the baccarat table. Yeah…they set up a baccarat table, just like in the James Bond movies. (I don’t know all the movies, but it always seems like he’s playing baccarat.) Ok, so how do a bunch of illiterate redneck boys in Eastern Tennessee learn to play baccarat?
Our math teacher, Mrs. Douglas.
When the theme of the prom was announced, Mrs. Douglas suggested that we set up a few ‘gambling’ tables. And she taught us how to play blackjack, roulette and baccarat as her way of teaching us probabilities. I think she usually taught the probabilities for blackjack as part of her classes; roulette and baccarat were added my senior year. (Not that the probabilities for roulette are so hard to figure out lol. There are 36 numbers so it’s a 1 in 36 chance your number will hit, although 0 and 00 do still complicate matters.)
I need to add, since some of y’all may remember that I took AP calculus that Mrs. Douglas threw in the probabilities of gambling games as a bonus unit to give our brains a chance to chill some after all those differentials. But she taught the gambling stuff to all her classes with seniors. She was a pretty awesome teacher all around. She even came to prom and was the baccarat dealer most of the evening.
I’ll admit it: I kinda got hooked on playing baccarat. Everyone who sat down at the table got a stack of chips (we pretended it was €1,000,000 – the idea was that we were in Monte Carlo, so all the money was done in euros.) The person who had the most ‘money’ at the end of the evening got a prize.
Turns out that calling “banco” is a fun feeling, even when the money on the table in front of you isn’t real. Although we didn’t have the paddles they have in the movies for moving stuff around the table, we did have a ‘shoe’ to hold the cards. I didn’t end up with the most ‘money’ at the end of the night, but I did get a 9 on my first hand…and came in 3rd when it was all over. I didn’t win the big gift card prize, but I did get a little trophy. (No, they don’t make baccarat trophies. But they do make poker trophies, and that’s what they got us. It’s still in my trophy case back home.)
The trophy isn’t the only thing I got to take home. Maybe y’all saw this coming, but, yeah, me and Sunny got voted prom king and queen. That she got voted queen probably should come as no surprise, since she was head cheerleader, but it was more of a surprise that I got voted prom king, although being the head cheerleader’s date probably didn’t hurt me none. I know the prom king is usually a football player, and I didn’t play football senior year, but our football team sucked…and our baseball team was pretty fuckin good. (Pretty fuckin good enough to become state champions a month after prom.)
I gotta also admit that I wasn’t Mr. Super Popularity or anything. I mean, yeah, people who know me usually like me, but I never went out of my way to know everybody in the school or campaigned for prom king…which would have been totally gayass anyway. I reckon a lot of people knew me since I was a star baseball player…but, let’s face it, most of the girls probably knew me better as one of the cutest boys in school.
All of which goes to prove that prom king at Maryville High is a beauty contest as much as it’s a popularity contest lol.
The only thing that wasn’t fun about getting to be prom king was that the obligatory dance for the prom king and queen. Especially as the crown was small for my head and kept threatening to fall down. There was no getting out of the dance and I did my best…but Sunny did whisper to me while we were dancing that, if I didn’t do a better job, they were gonna want the crown back…
As for the punch, yeah, it got spiked with something that made it taste even worse than it did before they added whatever it was to it. I had only a couple sips and that was enough for me. I wouldn’t have minded getting in a James Bond-style fight…but that shit in the punchbowl would probably have made me puke first. (In fact, it did make some people puke, although I reckon that happens at every prom.)
We were still trying to solve the beer problem when Gardner came up with something that kinda was a solution: a few joints. I was never into marijuana really. I didn’t like smoking because I was an athlete and cared about my body, and I didn’t exactly love what it did to me. It wasn’t like alcohol: it didn’t make me get in fights. It was more like tea: it made me sleepy. So I went easy on the joint when we lit one up. I mean…you gotta have something intoxicating in your system at prom.
The night was still young at that point. Our really big adventure was yet to come.