to celebrate national novel writing month (or the unfortunately nicknamed "NaNoWriMo") this year i will spare myself the white-hair-inducing effects of writing 50,000 words in the month of November by writing a story a day.
these stories will be of any length and veer into any territory i wish. the idea is for me to write one a day for every day of november. these will be first drafts with minimal editing.
if you are into any of it. please comment below! perhaps you can help me figure out if there's ANYthing in these stories worth adapting or polishing into something awesome.
story 12. tuxedo girls (by jenny yang. tuesday, november 12, 2013)
“what are you? gay?” ann laughed in my face.
“no. but i just thought it’d be cool if a girl wore a tuxedo to the graduation dance,” i mumbled.
it was the eighth grade and the first time that i had felt like i was a part of a group. sixth and seventh grade were all about me and my one friend lisa. during lunch time we walked up and down the side of the blacktop by the buildings just talking. Everyone else was either playing a game or sitting on the grass in large groups. eighth grade was the first time i felt like i was being accepted into the cool group - or at least what i thought was cool which was a group of korean american girls that seemed to have known each other forever. and then there was me, the loner chinese girl.
but i realized, this was also the first time they had someone hanging around that they could make fun of for being weird.
i could see it in their eyes. they thought i was a freak. we sat around the lunch tables and talked about what to wear to our eighth grade middle school graduation dance. after the main afternoon ceremony with our family, it was tradition to have a semi-formal dance. this was the most formal dance of any of of our middle school years. girls perched themselves atop uncomfortable heels and tight shiny dresses to perform our culture’s idea of a coming-of-age ritual: giving your girl-child an excuse to wear makeup and dress like a five dollar hooker under the sanctioned eyes of parent chaperones.
“i just thought guys can wear tuxedos. why can’t girls? who knows i just might do it,” i wasn’t gonna back down.
ann, karen, and amy quickly changed the subject. i stayed quiet for the rest of lunch. they will know. they will know.
after school i went to david’s bridal and found myself a tuxedo. this was gonna be the one. it was classic styling but fit with a cumber bun that would go tightly around my waist. black suit and bowtie and white dress shirt. even a pair of turquoise cuff links for good measure. i had saved up all of my money working at penguin’s frozen yogurt. once i debut my tuxedo at the graduation dance, the tone will be set for my reputation when i start my freshman year with new kids at our high school.
the day of graduation arrives. my parents were proud but for goodness sakes it was the eighth grade. i was expected to graduate from college so...boring. my parents kind of dress up. all these other kids get corsages and leis and flowers. the yang family? dad decides to put on a pair of slacks. i mean, dad was already 63 at that point and on his way to retirement. anything that allowed him to wear his brown sweatpants and beige tackle vest in his downtime was alright by him.
we hustled home after the ceremony so that i could get ready. my friends thought that i was possibly wearing an off-the-shoulder fuschia bejewled cocktail dress with suede kitten heels because i shared such details just as a misdirect. but the entire time, i knew, i was going to go hard with the tuxedo.
i made sure to wear my dad's beige trenchcoat over my outfit. i also brought along with me my "date." i registered her name with the school because she wasn't a student at magruder middle school. everything was arranged. shanna would be my buddy in the debut of the new me.
both cloaked in large coats, shanna and i scurry out of the car and wave a hasty thanks and see ya later to my brother tony for taking us. we walked straight toward the cafeterium where the DJ already started blasting the dance music and the lights were dimmed sufficiently to protect our middle-school ego from harsh glare of dancing while insecure.
we walked straight to the DJ booth and i handed him a CD.
"please. can you please play this song?" i yell into the DJ's left ear.
thank god, he nodded.
after that gwen stefani and eve song was done, marvin gaye sweet soulful voice came out of the speakers over that steady beat.
"just like music..."
shanna and i position ourselves in the middle of the floor and threw off our coats. yes. we had choreography.
the moment erick sermon said, "i wish the music would adopt me" shanna and i whipped into our routine.
let's take a step back for a moment. have you ever watched those teen movies and how people are dancing at a house party or the school dance? who directs them? how is it that everyone is consistently not embarrassed and equally spaced out to make the dancefloor look full? everyone is moving on beat. everyone is smiling. this is not how middle school dances are. they are horrible. they are the plague. people go to them just so they can wear something fancy or new or show off some kind of outfit they would never be able to wear in the daytime during school because everyone is too young to do anything with themselves after 8pm.
back to the scene at hand. there we were, shanna and i. we had thrown off our jackets to reveal matching tuxedos. we practiced our choreography to erick sermon's rap song "music" nearly all semester and this was the moment. dances were so boring with everyone worried about how they looked. no one was having any real fun. so shanna and i created this choreography and decided to wear tuxedos. why? because they look sharp and my lemming friends were getting annoying.
as we went through out precise hip thrusts and floor work and coordinated arm swings, everyone just stared. granted, we were not professional dancers. the other kids were already standing around the sides of the room and certifiably not dancing. and now there we were in the middle of the wide open dance floor doing our clearly orchestrated dance routine. as we got into the groove so hard my under-boobs were sweating, no one clapped. no one nodded. no one gathered around us in a circle. they just stared. whether they were already positioned with their backs to us or not, they just craned their necks around and stared. no one came around us and threw their hands up to the beat like they did in 8-Mile.
and then we were done.
dj guy followed up our song with "it wasn't me" by shaggy. great. that was gonna be our outro. i turned to shanna and hugged her. just two girls in tuxedos celebrating their moment on the dance floor.
we walked outside to where the lunch tables were. there was ann, karen and amy. ann, the bitch, walked up to us and said, "um. nice job guys" while barely containing her laughter and her judgey korean eyes.
no one else said anything to us. the rest of the night i decided i would just hang out with shanna. we bought a bag of popcorn each from the vendor lady for a quarter and sat there enjoying the rest of the night.