Once Upon a Time

A long, long time ago (2002) in a galaxy far, far away (Seattle), my friend Alison scored tickets for something called the “Second Chance Prom.” It was supposed to be for people who were losers in high school (like us) who didn’t get a chance to attend their prom (or something went horribly wrong if they did).

Well. It was all fun and ’80s with some Loverboy-spouting cover band, so we completely got in the spirit of things and dressed up in OUR ’80s clothes — Alison, as you can see, in a horrible upholstery bridesmaid’s dress and matching Dyeables, and me, like a small, talented man who, at that time, had an unpronounceable symbol for his name.

We went to the fancy hotel. “Ha ha ha,” we said, as we looked for other kindred spirits in horrid robin’s egg blue tuxedos and Holly Hobbie prom dresses. We didn’t see them in the lobby. Actually, we saw some people who looked very, very nice, in an upscale wine tasting-cocktail party kind of way, going toward the door of the ballroom.

And when we got in, we realized they were ALL upscale, wine tasting types who TOOK THIS VERY SERIOUSLY and really wanted it to be like their prom. Only, they were grown ups. We were quickly ushered to a corner table, which was populated only by the Ren Faire couple. They weren’t that fun and asked us point blank if we were lesbians. But they did win king and queen of the Second Chance Prom.

Vanessa McGradyOnce Upon a Time

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