I started dating Aaron when I was a (shocking!) freshman and he was a senior in February 2001. He was popular with his class - widely acknowledged as being a clown who was voted the most likely to be the next late night talk show host (he tried to get it changed to part-time ninja). I was a skinny 15 year-old with the remnants of an ill advised perm and sporting braces - he wore Hawaiian shirts, Merrells, and khaki shorts. It was love made in awkwardly attired heaven. My mother was worried about me dating someone older so without telling me, she got the phone number of one of his neighbors and some of his teachers to make sure he ‘was a good boy’. When Aaron asked me out to the prom, I was one of only a handful of people in my class to go, so I was excited. I bought a great dress and when I was at my orthodontist’s office a month before the dance, he decided to remove my braces early. The whole night was so much fun, we danced, had dinner, and my strict parents even let me go to the all night after prom at a local activity center. We had a photo taken of us in front of a blue backdrop with gold stars (the theme of the dance was Hollywood Nights). We are standing in the traditional ‘prom pose’ (me tucked under his chin, his right arm wrapped around my waist, my right hand holding his left in front of our bodies) and as I look through pictures taken over the last twelve years I see us using that same pose over and over again including on our wedding day. Of course, I also have another photograph from that prom night. As part of the décor, the prom committee got a dozen black and white cardboard cut outs of movie stars. I posed next to one of James Dean wearing his leather jacket from Rebel Without a Cause. When my friend’s grandmother scrutinized the photograph, she announced that I have one of the handsomest prom dates she had even seen; not realizing it was a cutout.
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