Gather round friends. It’s time for the annual telling of the Embarrassing Valentines Dance story. I share it every year, because my friends all love to make fun of me for this…and who am I to deny them the pleasure??
Like many towns, my high school in Flint, Michigan always had dances as school fundraisers. They weren’t formal (that was the PROM) and were held in the gym (of course). The Valentines Dance was a popular one. During my sophomore year, I was the Class Vice President and once again we would be holding a valentines dance in the gym. One of my main duties as VP was to attend the dance and man the front deskâ€”selling tickets, encouraging people to buy photo packages etc. Todd Richardson, our class treasurer, was working the same shift with me. The dance was pretty well attended and we were feeling all happy. As we sat there, this guy Lance from my choir class (yes. choir. I was Glee before Glee, ya’ll.) strolls up in his work out gear and casually asks, “Hey what’s going on here?” Obviously he didn’t see the GIGANTIC hearts and streamers. So I tell him it’s the Valentines Dance. (duh) Now Lance was a good looking guy and fancied himself a bit of a ladies man. He was also a big fan of Prince and was workin’ that 80s Prince hair. I guess he kinda liked me because after a little chit chat he said, “Hey, so if I come back dressed up, will you dance with me??” I sort of smiled awkwardly not sure what to say. I wasn’t dressed up and wasn’t prepared to have a date for this thang. To sweeten the deal he grinned charmingly and added, “We can get our picture taken!” I wasn’t sure how to respond. I stuttered a lame, “Uh…well.. I’m kind of working.” I look pleadingly at my buddy Todd to help me out. Todd did NOT help but in fact Â totally pimped me out, saying, “Oh you can totally dance. I’ll cover.” Then to Lance, “She’ll definitely dance with you!!” Lance flashed another dazzling smile and sauntered out the door. I was glared at Todd who huffed indignantly, “We need to sell tickets Alix! It’s a fundraiser!” *sigh*
To Lance’s credit, he got cleaned up pretty quicklyâ€”to my surprise he strolled in 15 minutes later in a plum colored Miami Vice suit. Hot! We shared an awkward dance to Union of the Snake by Duran Duran and then got in line to get our picture taken. Bear in mind I’m totally NOT dressed up and look like a huge dork. Not to mention the photography set up was sooo low budgetâ€”it was literally a chair next to a tall skinny table with a rose on it. Lance thanks me and immediately leaves after getting our pic taken. So much for our “date”. I trot back to the table where Todd asks me “How was the dance?” I shoot him a look. I’m thinking, “What am I going to do with all these photos of me and Lance?” Cut to the end of the night. Our photographer (“Fred Best”….yes. Best name ever.) comes over and says, “Hey, you two kids have been working so hard all night. How’d you like a pictureâ€”on the house??” I start to demure but Todd lights up. “Sure! Sounds great!” Good lord, so now I have to take another awkward wierd photo with ANOTHER non-date??? This was turning out to be the most random dance EVER.
Two weeks later I was presented with not one, but TWO sets of photos. I was now the proud owner of multiple 5x7s and far too many wallet pics of the Valentines Dance…and TWO different dates. Of course I handed them out to all my friends. “Would you like something from the Lance Series or the Todd Collection?” I would offer.
Do you wanna see the photos? Oh you KNOW you do. Presenting:
TODD. Rockin’ the high waisted jeans and running shoes. Geek chic.
LANCE. Workin’ the plum trousers and grey leather skinny tie. Suave.
I’m not sure why Lance took his sport jacket off (probably because we had worked up such a sweat Cabbage Patchin’ to Duran Duran). All I know is I look like hell in these photos. It’s a testament to how much I love you guys I’m sharing ’em. Now that I have divulged the PHOTOS, I wanted to clarify a few issues I’m SURE are burning in your mind:
1) YES I am wearing a black lace bow in my hair. We don’t know why. Maybe I think I’m Madonna?
2) YES the photographer made me sit with my legs demurely crossed like that.
3) NO I was not jaundiced.
4) NO I was not responsible for the wicker chair and single rose.
5) YES, I picked that outfit out. I look like the Easter Bunny. I have on this GOD AWFUL Esprit pink sweatshirt that was all 80s and had no defined sleeves…the hood was also “freeform,” hence the pink linebacker effect. I think I have on pink cords and weird grey sneakers shoes that look suspicously like jazz shoes. Which are actually in style again, so hell, maybe I’m not as far off as I thought.
6) On a positive note, I *am* wearing a lovely vintage rhinesone necklace. Which you can’t really see. But trust me. It’s perty. And vintage clip on earrings. Can I get a few points for that??
I was made fun of by my friends for YEARS afterwards. I had actually pushed the whole sordid affair back into the far corners of my mind, when I got a Valentine’s Day card from my friend Jennifer, who I had lost touch with. Inside were the two wallet sized pics of meâ€”one with Lance and one with Todd. I couldn’t help it, a small tear welled up in my right eye. Not from nostaligia, but from the realization that I was wearing Madonna-style lace gloves. But ONLY in the picture with Lance. It’s true. Scroll back up if you don’t believe me. Happy Valentines Day, Kiddos.