Friday Angst: how to pack for homecoming

It’s tough to pull off contempt when wearing high-heeled jellies. Somehow, I managed.

Monday, October 9, 1995  [Age 14]

While riding the bus to school this morning, M said, “I’m going to start packing tonight.”

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“Homecoming.” She looked at me as if she couldn’t believe I didn’t know that she was packing her purse a month before the dance.

“What do you have to pack?” I asked.

“Oh, well Lara, you need a purse for deodorant, an extra pair of stockings, makeup, lipstick, comb, hairspray, breath mints—”

Here I stopped her. “Breath mints! Are you planning to kiss someone?”

“Maybe…” she said, and continued rambling about her small, red purse that matches her dress. Now, how could all that luggage fit into a little red purse? And doesn’t she have anything better to do than pack a purse for a dance that’s a month away?

People are getting so carried away with these dances, getting depressed if no one asks them and lying awake at night because a toothbrush won’t fit into that bulging purse. This dance is just like all the others, except for the dresses. I am not very excited.

I have a dress, shoes, and a pair of stockings, and I will go to the dance without the added weight of “—perfume, safety pins, mouthwash, hand cream, nail file, another pair of earrings…Did I mention I still have to get another red purse in case the first one’s strap breaks?”

October 14

B was supposed to pick me up at 5:30. She had twelve girls over to get ready, and M got there at 1:00. That’s four and a half hours of getting ready! Then again, this is the same M who packed her purse a month before the dance.

At 5:45, B called to say that they were going to be late and would be over to get me at 6:30. So I settled down in my silver sparkled dress; nude stockings; clear jelly shoes (with high heels); clear, plastic, square purse containing $20, a lipstick, and chapstick. Half of my hair was pulled back in a braid and on top of the braid was a butterfly clasp.

Finally, at 6:38, B came to get me in her black, thin-strapped dress with bright red lipstick and makeup covering her skin. M was wearing a wine-colored dress and her hair looked crispy with hairspray and water as usual. Why can’t people just leave their hair alone?

L and T were already waiting at Festivals.* We didn’t order for a while because B and M wanted to go say hi to the other kids eating nearby. Finally, the waiter came over and strictly said, “Excuse me. You need to order now. First of all, your reservation was for an hour ago and you said you were having eight people and now you only have six. Please order. We have people waiting.”

We each ordered mozzarella sticks and B said, “Well, we won’t come here again for Homecoming. They’re so rude!”

Well, see if I ever go anywhere again with B in charge. It was perfectly fine for the manager to come over, since we showed up an hour late with two fewer people and ordered bread and cheese!

Meanwhile, I looked through M’s purse:
2 lipsticks
3 makeups
Kleenex
Breath mints
Hairspray
Hair pick
Nail polish

* Festivals Family Restaurant. Located in the strip mall across the street from our high school. Site of a shooting provoked by a high school love triangle. Now closed.

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