me and my fro

3 Mar

me and my fro

This is the aftermath of an LDS (yes, that is the correct acronym here) dance party. *Disco night*

Alright, here’s the thing. Mormons have alot of rules. Yes, we have them for a reason. Yes, we believe that we have the agency to choose whether to follow these guidelines. And yes, this means you’re ‘not supposed to’ have premarital sex, do drugs, drink (yes, I mean ever), et cetera. So what many of my friends wonder is a pretty fair question:

What DO we do?

One thing we do is dance.* About every month or every two months, my immediate church building (called a ward) and a few of the neighboring wards all get together for a youth dance. It’s essentially a bunch of flirty, insecure, pockmarked 14-18 year olds shoved into a dimmed basketball court with music blasting out all conversation. At normal dances, most of the songs are pop or electronic music, or some combination of the two. Everyone bops (in case you’ve never been to Utah, there are alot of white Mormons in the world) up and down and screams the lyrics to the crappy and oh-so-catchy. Then there are the slow songs, where guys ask girls to dance (unless girls are directed to do the asking) and couples invade the gym. There are never enough guys willing to ask a girl to dance. This, naturally, makes the few girls left unasked feel like the last one picked for a team in PE. Unwanted.

This dance had a disco theme. I should have known better, but I really wanted to have fun at this one. You know, like the old days. Before everyone was too cool for this song, for this dance. Before people could drive to Taco Bell and ditch half of it. Before we were old enough to date each other and break up with each other and make drama. Besides, I had the perfect idea for a costume: I was going to bring back the fro.

Let me explain. My hair is ultracurly. I’ve had the nickname ‘Goldilocks’ before for a reason. People love to touch my hair, to boing it. One of my Korean friends wanted to measure the spring constant of one of my luscious locks. Every day, I brush my mane in the shower with mounds of conditioner so as to tame the ‘Leon’ (another nickname). Today, though, I brushed it dry, and even teased it a little to create my white-girl-fraux.

I had the shiny blouse. I had the rainbow platform heels. I had the bell-bottom jeans. I had the jangling silver bangles and the rings galore. I had the hoop earrings and the Foxy Cleopatra makeup (curtesy of my lil sis, Tor). And to top it all off, I had the hair.

My friend Roach gave me a ride to Charcoal’s house. He didn’t come in because he wasn’t supposed to have driven me. He’s not legal yet to drive others. The driving laws in this state are dumb—nobody even follows the rules, so what’s the point? Anyway, he left to get some neon crap from the mall while I intruded on a last-minute party gone wrong. Boxes of pizza lay unopened on the kitchen counter as little siblings crowded the kitchen table. I was the only guest to Charcoal’s party, and at first I wondered if I should just turn back before they saw me. Of course, they commented on my hair and my outfit. Luckily, I’d showed up late enough to continue a natural conversation until it was time to head to the dance. We went to the carpool meetup, where Charcoal and I hopped in Hawk’s mom’s car. Hawk is totally awks, awkwotaco,  hawkward. However you put it, he either kills the conversation or makes you want to kill him just so he’ll shut up. Sweet kid, though.

Anyway, when I got to the dance I was feeling hot. I was turning heads, getting compliments left and right. But as soon as I peeked inside the dancefloor, I wanted to hide in the bathroom for the duration of the dance. It was miserable. There were about fifteen kids inside a 100square foot gym. Some were dressed up; most weren’t. It was probably the lamest dance I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen alot of bad dances. Char and I went into the ladies bathroom to adjust ourselves. She put her phone on the papertowel dispenser. A second later, it slipped right down the front of the dispenser and straight into the trash bin. It wasn’t at the top, either. As she was digging it out, she aptly predicted that this was sure to be a bad omen. Then the poor thing realized that her time had come in this most public of settings, catching her in WHITE PANTS. She stayed in the bathroom for a good half hour, playing games on her phone until her parents came to deliver up products and panties.

Meanwhile, the bad friend that I am ditched her to go dance. Some of the songs were fun. I even secretly liked some of the disco songs I grew up with. Thanks, Dad, for listening to music before your time. Anyway, during my first slow song, this cute guy named Tie asked me to dance. He’s younger, but he’s tall. I like tall. He held me slightly closer than the “Book of Mormon width apart” rule. The minor departure from Mormon culture felt almost devious. The conversation was easy: there was plenty to say on how crappy the dance had turned out to be. We even chatted a bit once the music stopped.

After a few futile attempts to dance, my group went into the halls to sit and chat. At first it was fine. A good song came on, and we rushed back inside to dance.

Shmands, one of my best girlfriends, stayed outside. She and Inferno (this tall guy, half-black and muscular, who thinks he’s better than the world) stayed in the hall to talk things out. They hadn’t talked since August, and it needed to be done. Mads kept trying to go outside to chat with them. I could see that they were having a private conversation, but  Mads kept persisting. I figured she knew what she was doing. But I didn’t want them to think she was a third wheel or something. I was obliged to follow her, awkwardly wondering what to say. I mean, what was I supposed to do? I couldn’t dance with a bunch of younguns all by myself. I know I shouldn’t, but I care who people see me with. Anyway, this cycle of Mads interrupting Inferno and Shmands, me following, and a good song dragging us back inside was basically all that happened throughout the dance. Well, that and my fro. Char came back, and when Willow Smith‘s song came on she begged me to “whip it real good.” Hesitatingly, I obliged. I joined a group of guys with fake fros as they whipped it. It was fun, and I felt hot. People loved my fro, and tons of people wanted to touch it. Then, I whipped it a little too good: I slipped, fell on my bum, and broke my 12 dollar shoes in the process. Humiliated, I returned out into the hall where I was, again, unwanted. Tanman, who’s super cute with kids and who’s the nicest guy to anybody who feels left out, eventually came. He cheered me up a bit by encouraging everyone to dance. I let loose again, and started to have some fun. A slow song came, and Tanman asked me to dance.

It was over in a moment. I danced with a little kid, 15, who I noticed wore a Doctor Who T-shirt. I unleashed my inner nerd and had a pretty good conversation about David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Blink and the Girl in the Fireplace. After the dance, he remembered my name, and tried to chat with me. He felt a connection, I guess. (Hush, don’t say it. I know exactly how hypocritical this is.)

After the dance, Roach and I chatted about how he thought everyone hated him. I hugged him and complained a bit about the dance. I didn’t mention how a few times I felt like crying.

I didn’t mention how a few times,

an idea flickered

(just for a moment)

about how nobody would notice

if I just sort of


I get flickers. They don’t stick, thankfully. I think (I hope) that flickers are pretty common for other people, too. I didn’t always get flickers. Maybe they’ll go away when I can leave this cliquey suburban high school behind for college and beyond. Maybe.

I keep telling myself that I’m done looking for guys here, how they’re all too wimpy to date us. But Jurn just got a boyfriend, and as happy as I am for her… what’s wrong with me and my fro?

*Note: here, the term ‘dance’ does not refer to grinding, clubbing, or other spawn-of-satan terms. (Jokes. But seriously, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bunch of dirty dancing at a Mormon dance.)


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