The pinnacle of any eighth grader's middle school career was the winter semi-formal. Girls started shopping for their dresses months prior, hunting for the perfect find. My mom took me to the Mall of America for the occassion and we scoured every gown in every store until finding the winner on the clearance rack at Bloomingdale's. Nothing screams perfection like a good deal. To complete the look, I found matching blue velvet closed-toe shoes and shiny skin-tone nylons. I even took the day off from straightening my hair and went au-naturale with a February frizz.
The evening was spectacular. My girlfriends and I had planned a sleepover and a fancy dinner out at Olive Garden. We even made our chaperones sit a few tables away because we were almost-grown ups now. We needed our space to gossip about the other dresses, the music and the couples.
I made the girls sit and listen to the play by play of my first slow dance over unlimited salad and breadsticks. While the scene only lasted maybe two minutes, I am sure I made my friends listen to the story for an hour. The two minute scene led to a two year crush. Really, why wouldn't the boy be falling over himself when the poodle-haired girl in velvet shoes was trying to tie him down?