Sitting in Starbucks on the night of homecoming isn't exactly what I had in mind when I imagined dreamy nights at high school dances.
And it wasn't just homecoming I spent at Starbucks -- it was senior homecoming.
I had never been dateless to a dance, but this time I was. Although I partially brought it upon myself, I finally realized what it was like. Yes, being dateless was a fact hard to swallow -- especially as someone on the varsity dance team surrounded by pretty girls who all have dates -- but if it meant making sure someone else wasn't dateless, I was all for it.
A good guy friend of mine was going to ask me to homecoming, and I was beyond thrilled. I pictured the perfect senior homecoming, and I couldn't have been more excited. Shortly after, a girl friend of mine told me she really hoped to be asked -- by that same guy. She had never been asked to a dance before -- although she completely should have been because she was beautiful inside and out -- and I knew she needed to experience that her senior year.
It wasn't exactly easy to go up to my guy friend and tell him to ask her; it was basically a slap-in-the-face to him if I didn't do it carefully. It was pretty difficult to explain to him that I completely did want to go with him, but that I thought she deserved it more.
If you're still following along -- and maybe laughing at high school drama -- the guy did ultimately ask the girl, and I couldn't have been happier for her.
Yes, I was left dateless, but I could manage.
I finally came to realize what it was like to be dateless for a dance -- and just how hard it was. I don't have anything to complain about compared to some people who have never been asked to a dance. They put on such strong faces and still go about their happy lives as so many people around them are experiencing exciting moments of being asked to a dance. And I honestly think some of those girls, the ones who have always been asked to a dance, take that for granted. Because these girls, the ones who haven't been asked to a dance but completely deserve it, rarely complain. They smile their beautiful smiles and move on. And, now that I've experienced what it's like, that is something I wholeheartedly admire.
Every girl deserves to be asked to a dance, and I'm glad I was able to ensure just one more person -- a person who entirely deserved it -- had a date. And while sitting in Starbucks on homecoming night wasn't my ideal senior homecoming, it was the reality I needed.
It was the reality I needed because now I'm thinking ahead to senior prom -- and how I want EVERY single girl to be asked. I may have helped one person get a date to a dance, but there were many girls out there at my school still without a date. Those girls deserve dates more than anyone else. And I will find a way, with the help of as many people I can get, to ensure that every girl has a date and the senior prom they deserve.
The culture of high school dances need to change. Guys, unless you're dating her, don't ask a girl from a different school or in a different grade. Ask the beautiful girls in your very own grade who have never experienced a school dance. They would appreciate it more than any other girl ever would.
To the girls who are fortunate enough to have dates to a dance, don't take it for granted. I can now say that you honestly don't know what it is like to not have a date. I thought I knew what it was like -- I thought I sympathized -- but I didn't know it until I experienced it. Help out the girls who don't have dates, and be careful of your words. When you're complaining about how you don't want a certain someone to ask you, remember that maybe the girl next to you is hoping for anyone to ask her to a dance.
And finally, to the girls who don't have dates: you girls are beautiful. You aren't just beautiful on the outside (you are, no matter what society tells you). You're beautiful for putting a smile on your face day after day. You're beautiful for having thick skin. You're beautiful for putting up with feelings no girl should have to feel. You're beautiful for realizing that you're worth so much, despite what society does to you. You're beautiful because you deserve so much, and you don't always get it. But let me promise you one thing: you aren't going to regret high school dances however you spend them (whether it's dancing the night away dateless or at Starbucks). You're going to be the ones who take a stand against society and change the world someday.
So while my senior homecoming wasn't ideal, I am content with it. Sure, it was a little painful to see the Instagram posts that night and hear about the after-parties and see all the Facebook pictures -- all that I wasn't a part of. But a part of me had to realize that 10 years from now, one night I wasn't a part of isn't going to taint my memories of high school.
And now that I've felt what it's like to be dateless, I know that -- since I've helped even one more person not have to feel that way -- I won't regret it.