QUESTION: Amy, have you had awkward experiences in high school? How did you deal with them?
ANSWER: I could throw you a thing or two about embracing life's awkward moments. Here's one tip: Turn down the foot massage and every other obstacle that comes along your way will be easier to navigate.
Perpetually in 10th Grade
High school. Awkward. I went to awkward high, in fact I don’t think I ever fully graduated. I feel as if I’m still in 10th grade with my coral colored leggings and oversized floral print shirt complemented by my fashion forward shoulder pads.
I’d love to look back and say that high school was one of the most fun times of my life. Granted, some of my closest confidants are from high school. Aside from my ‘besties’ hs was flat out H E L L (putting it in red enhances the drama and my pain). Where do you want to start?
Afro hair? Check. LA Looks Ulta Mega Hold Gel (blue colored please) Check. Mom rationing out how much gel was ever available to me? Check. Flat chested? Check. Zits. Tri fecta check. Clothes that came from an outlet of an outlet of another outlet that no one ever heard of? Check, sigh.
And that doesn’t scratch the surface.
Awkward Instance #634 (rough guesstimate)
Sophomore year our class decided we were going to match the local catholic high school and have our own winter formal. I guess some of us were tired of not having a date around that time of year, hearing the populars in the hormonal hallways say, “Ahhhhmahhhhgad I know I’ve been shopping for the best dress and I still can’t find anything. I’m so stressed, what am I going to wear? At least maaaah boyfrieeeend got his dad’s Volvo for the night.”
Unfortunately my locker was always in a prime location (which should’ve been a bonus) but instead I was amongst weekend plans, dates, prom news, none of which involved me or my Gitano mom jeans.
|I wish I looked like this in high school. In fact, I wish my high school lockers looked this clean.|
Student Council Doesn’t Mean You’re Cool
So a group of us on student council (oh don’t give me the stare, I was only secretary or treasurer…see? I don’t remember…it was one of the easy fill in slots) decided we’d have a winter formal and call it . . . . The Snowball. Kinda catchy right? Only in Jersey - pure elegance.
|Picture Rosie Perez saying,"OWMUYGAWD. I am DHYING to go to that SNOWBALL dance thingie!."|
P.S. I'm still envious of Rosie's curly hair, she could've taught me how to style my fro.
Our ‘Snowball’ would be held in our cafeteria (snicker snicker) that wreaked of poorly fried french fries, the stank of 400 teenagers, mixed in with cigarette smoke from the senior parking lot. Reference my previous Jersey comment.
Our committee went all out; white lights, white streamers, silver, and white tablecloths, napkins, and balloons.
So a winter dance, who would be my date?
No one from my high school. I had somehow built up the reputation of being a holy roller (was dumped for not understanding the bases and fouling out the one chance I was up at bat—I had gum in my mouth and my little sister was 10 ft away, gimme a break).
|Pretty much = me as a 'holy roller.' The shoes are kinda cool.....silence..|
I knew a guy, boy, kid. My aunt’s friend’s son. But I didn’t/don’t ask boys out, that’s not the way I was raised. Oh wait, I’m single, so don’t take that advice from me. I had to get Germany (that’s not his name, but you could get it rhymes with Germany) to say yes and get off the phone because my mother was standing next to me with her Days Of Our Lives sand timer.
Phone Play by Amy
Setting: Parent’s kitchen with mom cooking dinner and my sister doing homework. I am pacing in my socks waiting for Germany to make his weekly phone call, secretly praying my mom needs to take the garbage out and then secretly double praying that something happens with the garbage and my mom has to be outside for 30 minutes. Neither prayer comes through. Based on the ratio of my secretly praying prayers in my 33 years on this planet, the percentages have been 98% god, 2% amy.
Sister: Hello this is Lisa, how may I help you?
(I’M NOT KIDDING, THIS IS HOW WE WERE TAUGHT TO ANSWER THE PHONE. With such instruction you would think my sister or I ended up in a customer service job. No.)
Germany: hi is amy there?
Sister: Who may I say is calling?
Mom is already glaring as if I made out with the 'boy' and got caught. Most of mom’s glares stemmed from the,”Don’t you dare even consider asking me for X,Y,Z because you could get yourself into a situation and end up pregnant.” Remember this is a PHONE call.
Germany: hi! What’s going on? Can you talk?
Mom, started the timer, giving me an eye roll
Me: um yeah for a little bit, cause I have a project due, so um…
Germany: Oh really? What is the project about?
Mom, looking at timer, looking at me.
Me: oh yeah it’s words on a paper for about five pages and so it’s really important that I work on it. I like KD Lang’s new song, you?
Germany: how does it go? Can you sing it?
Mom, looking at timer, looking at me.
Sister: DAD --AMY’S TALKING TO GERMANY HAHAHAHAAAA!
Me: I don’t sing um, ever, so you should just listen to it on the radio n’ stuff.
Germany: ok, but you should sing it, I bet you’d sound cute.
Mom, looking at timer, looking at me.
Me: so there’s this thing at my school in a few weeks everyone is getting really excited about it, seems cool.
Germany: what is it? a football game?
Me: No, I don’t think there’s a game that day. But we’re getting a DJ and …
Germany: Oh, you guys are having a dance? That’s awesome. Is it a formal?
Mom, looking at timer, looking at me. Sand is dwindling.
Me: Uh, yeah I have to wear a dress and people are going in groups with people and there’s going to be a coat check.
Germany: Oh, are you going with someone?
Me: I’m just um, going and my parents are going to drive so it’s just me in the car.
Germany: Can I go with you?
Mom: looking at timer, looking at me. Amy, you need to get your homework done. Remember college?!? Let’s not get siiiiiidddddetraaaacked.
Me: Um yeah ok call me another day. Click.
|An example of the Gitano discount jeans my mom would buy me for $9.99. Now you can understand why I didn't want to shop for the formal dress.|
Shopaholic I Will Never Be.
And like that awkward phone call with Germany, I somehow got myself a date to ‘The Snowball.’ You would think the excitement started there. But no, anxiety set in. This meant I had to convince my mom and dad to let me get a ‘very cool dress’ and ‘very cool shoes.’
Off to Macy’s we went combing through racks of dresses with my mom picking up any dress that had a lace napkin covering my flat chest or jumpers with sewn in fake gold crucifix necklaces on the front.
Our argument against each other started building.
ME: How about this dress? It goes to the knees and looks comfortable?
MOM: Absolutely not, what are you trying to say about yourself? If you start dressing like that now, you’re going to have a lot of problems down the road. Why don’t we look at skirts and jackets?
ME: because it’s a dance, not a business convention! GOD.
MOM: don’t you DARE talk like that.
We eventually agreed. My eye caught a maroon lace sweetheart dress that tapered in at the waist and went out just hitting my knees. In retrospect I basically picked out something that resembles a lounge couch you can find at any local diving hole, but in that moment this dress held my future with a BOY and maybe a key to the populars if I really pulled my look off right.
Next up, shoes. Heels? Could it be? Black swirly tapesty kitten heels. Let’s keep up the fabric and if I added a scarf I could’ve been hung on a wall somewhere.
The cake topper? My hair. I have an afro. I have an afro. I have an afro. I have an afro.
I had just recently learned how to wrestle it in rollers and sleep in a most uncomfortable position so I could somehow resemble the pretty girls who had straight flowing hair. I was determined to endure the pain and frustration-- my perfect horse mane could complete this fashion quest.
|See this couch? Now add my head and this was the dress I wore for my formal. In retrospect, I'm now surprised my mother approved. If I looked like a couch, wouldn't I imply I want people laying on me?|
Next up? Dodging the advances of Germany. Do I have you hooked? No? Ok, I'll bring a box of wine this weekend and we'll dig through the rest of my awkwardness. I promise.