When I was a high school senior, the school put on a winter formal. The dance was officially a girl-ask-guy event which was fine by me. I figured I'd not be asked and wouldn't have to spend the money. It was also going to be a ballroom dance, which was a ridiculous idea. None of the guys wanted to go. The girls picked up on this and were afraid to ask the boys. Ticket sales were not impressive.
One day, I was in my sociology class. It was one of those touchy-feely California classes where we sat in a circle and talked about stuff. The boys were lamenting what a lame dance this was going to be, because no one knew how to ballroom dance. Lesley Y. started to object. "Come on," she said, "you must know how to at least waltz." Everyone sat dumbly looking at her. I didn't say a thing, but she turned to me. "Wes, you must know how to waltz."
Well, my mother had taught me a waltz step, so we got up and waltzed around inside the circle for a little bit. I was embarrassed. After we sat down, a girl sitting on the other side of the circle was scrawling a note that she then passed around until it got to me. "To Wes. Will you go to the winter formal with me? Katrina."
This only added to my embarrassment because everyone could pretty much guess what had been written inside the note. But to my friends, this was all a big deal. Katrina was a foreign exchange student and a model from Austria. Later she would drop acid and freak out, but for the time being, she was considered an international woman of mystery. And she was desperate to find a dance partner who had half a shot at keeping up with someone raised in Viennese ballrooms.
Some friends of mine, sensing my discomfort at going to the dance with Katrina, invited us to double with them. We went to a French restaurant, which was a new experience and I hated it. I ordered duck, which is about as miserable a meat selection as one can make, but what did I know? I was 17.
The most embarrassing moment of the whole ordeal came as I tried to cut tiny pieces of meat from between the duck's tiny bones, and Katrina who was sitting next to me, made the pointed comment, "In Austria, when we are young, they make us eat with telephone books under our arms until we learn to eat with our elbows at our sides."
I don't know why, but something about today's Mary Worth brought back that memory.
Today's Full Strip