My Big Gay Prom


I asked Walter to prom a bit late. None of the straight boys in my very tiny high school had come through, so I faced the music and asked my gay friend.

"I have to think this over" was his underwhelmed response.

Fuck this, I thought. I don't care, I told myself as I absorbed defeat, tucking my hair nervously behind my ears, six times on each side.

I understood where he was coming from. Neither of us represented a boost in social status for the other. By now I had ascertained that I would not be a statistic. No one was gonna lure me anywhere on prom night and clumsily seduce me into unwanted pregnancy. It was disheartening to find myself so undesired after all that Pilates.

Walter came back at me with a question of his own.

"Can I see a picture of the dress you're gonna wear?"

It was clear from his cautious tone that he was alarmed by my typical fashion choices: high-waisted pants and tight, tucked-in shirts. He didn't want to go to prom with a poorly dressed woman on his gay arm.

He was doing damage control. I was hurt but ever eager to prove myself.

"You'll like it. It's midnight blue and floor-length, with a halter-top covered in rhinestones. There's nothing not to like." I continued with the compressed enthusiasm of a used-car salesman. "My mom is going to the bank to pull my grandmother's blue lavalier out of the family safe. So, point being, I'm gonna be wearing an incredibly expensive necklace to prom."

He was nearly sold. "If nobody asks me by Wednesday, I'll be your date to prom," he promised.

I appreciated the honesty. It was all about the photos anyway, and not the actual experience, I told myself, pushing my hair behind my ears and pulling my pants higher over my hips.

Wednesday rolled around. No other boys had come out to him in those last critical days, so, alas, Walter offered himself up as my prom date.

Our two sets of parents were titillated by the whole notion. They approved of the union for matters of safety and built-in contraception and the opportunity for traditionally awkward boy-girl photos, and, furthermore, they were friends from Congregation Beth Israel.

As the day approached, Walter began to embrace our status as prom dates.

"My dad is lending me his Saab to drive to prom," Walter gushed in his deadpan gush.

Wow, cars, I thought. I silently evacuated my brain to wait out the impending heinously dull conversation. Cars were not of interest to me.

"It's an amazing car. Leather interior, terrific sound system, great suspension, and really fast."

Well, I rallied, we won't be in love, but we'll have expensive accessories.

Walter arrived early at my house with a corsage and a compliment for my dress, which was a huge relief.

We posed for the obligatory suburban lawn photos. He was over 6 feet tall, with a big frame, so it was hard to capture both of us and all of my dress without standing far back. Our parents fussed and giggled and stepped back on the driveway while we posed on the grass. We were like giant toddlers in tiaras, fulfilling a pageant for the benefit of the grownups as much as for ourselves.

Of course, it was my gay moms who mostly directed our quintessentially heteronormative photos: the gay boy and the uninitiated, thus-far-asexual, girl. My lesbian parents were the icing on the cake of my Big Gay Prom, scuttling us this way and that for better photo composition.

I posed for several photos alone, brandishing my fake nails and letting the lavalier enjoy her stint outside the vault.

Both of us now corsaged, pinned, buttoned, and blindingly adorable, we got in the Saab and sped off to junior prom.

"See how you can't feel any bumps on the road?"

I nodded, and my ringlets and sparkly barrettes reverberated.

"Well, that's 'cause of the shocks."

It was cute to see him so excited about our special night, whatever the reason.

I danced with my friend Zelda that night, for hours and hours, and sweat straight through my backless midnight dress with all its many rhinestones.

Walter hung out with his friends. Then he drove me home, both of us as happy as clams, in that great, big, borrowed car.

With junior prom down, we were one rite of passage closer to wherever we were headed.

Read more about growing up and being a grownup with two moms at