To everyone that is dorming in college or ever has, I envy you. I would love for the chance to be away from my family long enough to actually miss them. Don’t get me wrong, I love them more than I can fathom but I commute to college and in a nutshell, it sucks. I go to class, come home and deal with family stuff every day. I have to help my two younger sisters with their homework, help my parents with things (English is not their first language), and basically schedule my entire life around my family. I don’t have a car so I have to get dropped off and picked up for everything. “Just get a job and save up for a car” you may think. Well, in a desi household things are never that simple. The smallest things, like say staying on campus after my class ends to hang out with friends, somehow becomes a matter of family honor or life and death. I love my family, and I would do anything for them, but I deserve some fun.
Not to sound like a typical teenager, but I have always wanted to attend a Great Gatsby or Masquerade themed party. My senior prom in high school was Masquerade themed. You can’t even imagine how happy that made me. The idea of everyone in ball gowns and beautiful alluring masks, there is something dark and sexy about it. But like I said, I have strict parents. I never went to prom. I wasn’t really upset about it though because I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to go. Instead, I spent my senior prom night volunteering. I am not gonna lie, it was actually fun. I was a waitress at a fundraiser hosted to restore a local park. The event took place on a yacht over looking the river. I can’t pronounce the food I was serving, and probably wouldn’t be able to afford even the underwear the guest were wearing, but it was a good experience.
Anyways, I nearly screamed with joy when I found out my college was hosting a Great Gatsby themed formal. It seemed too good to be true. I knew I had to go to this. I am a 19 year old college student, I have a say in my life, there was no way I was letting my parents say no this time. My mom wasn’t hard to convince, I simply asked and she said yes. It was my dad that had the ultimate say, but I knew exactly how to work him. I went to his room right before he was about go to sleep. He was reading and totally relaxed. I told him there was a formal I wanted to go to, I told him the theme was one of my favorite books and movies, I told him I really wanted to go, and that its the end of the semester so this is the last event of the year (totally false). I made sure to keep my voice sweet and calm as if I was actually asking for his permission, and I added a “Please” in there. Most importantly though, I made it seem like his idea, like he actually had the power to decide whether or not to allow me to go. He had no idea of the manipulation that was taking place. I am not proud of what I did, and I’ve never done it before, but when push comes to shove you do what you gotta do. Needless to say, I got his “permission”.
Before my Night
First thing first, I needed a dress. The formal was on Sunday night so Friday after class a couple of my friends and I hit the mall in search of the perfect Gatsby outfit. Whats the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Roaring 20’s”? I bet you just thought of flappers. Naturally, my friends and I scoured every store for fringe and short hemlines. We came up empty handed. Not a single store in the entire mall had a good flapper dress. Discouraged, we walked around Forever 21 and somehow I stumbled upon THE dress for me. It wasn’t short and it didn’t have any fringe. It was a pale pink, almost nude, floor length spaghetti strap dress with a slit. It was a slightly sheer but there was a slip underneath. It was innocent yet sexy. It was so simple, but so elegant. To make it more of a 20’s look I bought a white jeweled headpiece. I knew I would look hot.
The Big Night
Sunday night I got ready at my friends dorm and then we waited for the bus that would take us to the venue. When we finally arrived I was amazed. The place was beautiful. There was a lake with a fountain in the middle, a large court yard, and the building looked like a white castle (not the fast food chain). Whoever booked the place, props to you. Walking into the venue was an experience within itself. There was a long hallway leading to the ballroom. Before proceeding I had to show ID, and I was promptly marked with a black “X” on my hand, the struggles of being under 21. Although, I don’t drink so it didn’t bother me much. There were big bouquets of flowers in stone vases, and large framed mirrors, a chandelier and finally, I walked into the ballroom. The lights were dimmed, music was blasting, people were dancing, it was spectacular. To my left people were lined up at the open bar, and in front of me was a dance floor surrounded by beautifully set tables. My friends and I found ourselves a table and immediately hit the dance floor.
One of my friends ran over and handed me a vodka tonic, at least I think that’s what it was called. As you may recall, I don’t drink, but I did that night, and it was awesome. I have to say I am not very fond of the taste, but I think the effect of the liquor is what people are intrigued by. As I was dancing I saw a boy out of the corner of my eye. I recognized him from campus, I’ve seen him around. He was cute. He smiled and held out his hand, his way of asking me to dance. Obviously I took it. We danced to an upbeat song face to face, but there was some space between us. He took a step forward and instinctively I did as well and suddenly the distance vanished. I put my arms around his neck and he held me close, his arms around my waist. I don’t know how or when but before I knew it his lips were on mine. I kissed him back, after all hes hot. Suddenly I realized that hes been drinking and I don’t want to make out with a drunk. I said “I shouldn’t do this” and walked away from him and towards my friends. They all had huge smirks on their faces. See I am not usually the “make out with a stranger” type of girl, but I guess I can check that off my bucket list now. I sat at the table and my friend handed me another drink. I downed it. We sat at the table for a while talking and drinking until I felt restless and wanted to dance again.
I lost count of how many drinks I’ve had. I looked over and saw cute boy from before dancing with his friends. At that moment I didn’t care if he was sober or not, his suspenders made him irresistible. I walked up to him, snapped his suspenders and kissed him, hard. We ended up together the entire night. If we weren’t dancing, we were drinking, and if we weren’t drinking we were making out. It was exhilarating. At one point I remember him saying my name and telling me that I was beautiful and that he had always wanted to talk to me. Now, whether or not any of that was true is debatable but I didn’t care. I told him his suspenders were sexy and continued to kiss him. He told me my dress was amazing and held me tighter. The music was pumping, I was buzzed and I was making out with an extremely attractive guy. This was definitely not a typical night for me.
I knew the night was ending soon and I had to sober up. My parents were to pick me up after the event and if they had the slightest clue I had been drinking, well…lets not go there. I walked to the table and started drinking water. He took my water and drank it all, “If you’re sobering up then so am I”. We spent the next hour hydrating, talking and laughing.
Finally the DJ announced that that the party was over and the buses were on the way. Clearly I was bummed, but everything good comes to an end right? We walked our separate ways. I went over and sat on a bench outside with my friends and he went over to talk to his friends. We weren’t even separated for 5 minutes when I felt his arm around my shoulder. We both stood up and walked over to a large rock under a tree. He sat on it and I sat on his lap. “Hi” I said.”Hello beautiful” he replied. We both leaned in. There wasn’t much conversation after that.
When we finally got on the bus once again he was sitting on the seat and I was on his lap. He looked at me and said ” we we’re together the whole night. I wish I had the guts to ask you to this thing in the first place. You know what, lets pretend I did. You were my date tonight”. As you probably guessed, we cuddled and made out the entire bus ride. The bus pulled into campus and he hugged me tight. He asked me to stay out with him longer. “We could just sit outside and cuddle” he said. Believe me, I wanted to, but my mom was going to pick me up soon. Once we got off the bus I hugged him goodbye and turned around to leave. He grabbed my hand and spun me around and kissed me. It was like something out of a movie. He put his hand on my face and said “can I call you tomorrow?” I kissed him again and said “you better”. Then we both went our separate ways. The metaphorical clock had struck midnight.
I ran to my friends room and changed out of my dress and into sweatpants. My parents have no idea I bought a dress for the night, and they would kill me if they saw it. They dress was very classy but for a strict desi family, not classy enough. When my mom finally came to pick me up, my dress was in my backpack, out of sight.
The Day After
The next day I washed all the alcohol and lipstick stains out of the dress. I took both the dress and headband back to the mall and returned them. I am not going to wear them again and if my parents ever found them I would be dead.
I realized that day that I never gave cute boy my number. I don’t think it would have made a difference though, I am pretty sure what we had was a one night thing. He probably doesn’t remember much of it anyways. I checked to see if we were Facebook friends, we are. He even updated his profile picture. He could have messaged me if he really wanted to, I guess I could have as well. But I think its best we didn’t. That night was an incredible escape from my dull life. We were both dressed up, in an elegant environment, and tipsy. I don’t think if we met up again it would have the same effect. I saw cute boy on campus a couple days ago. We just waved at each other, and continued on with our lives.
I had an amazing night. Cute boy may not be my soul mate but for one night he made me feel special. I forgot all about my dreary life at home. I was bold with a guy for the first time. I stepped out of my comfort zone. For that one night, I didn’t have to worry about anyone else. For that one night, I was happy. For that one night, I felt like Cinderella.