The Leadout




The Leadout at the Pickwick Club. That happened a yesternight ago. Well, okay, a yesternight several years ago. Okay, a yesternight many, many years ago. But the memory is still there. Today they call them proms.

I was with the girl who is now the lady of my life, but she wasn’t then, True I had gotten the invite to a crucial social event, but that didn’t mean my competitors weren’t sitting lonesome at home plotting their next maneuvers.

When you’re trying to impress a girl that she made the right choice, the main thing is to try and not act dumb, which is not easy.

The first potential blunder came right away. I knew her evening gown was mostly purple in color. A purple orchid would be the flower of the night. I knew girls talked among themselves, and they knew the price of flowers. A purple orchid went for like $3.50 and a while orchid for $7.50. I think there was even a white orchid with a variegated center or some such that went for $11.00 or $12.00. Would she think I was cheap, picking out the cheapest orchid? The florist did have that little water tube that the stem of the flower resided in, and it tended to last four or five days instead of wilting overnight in the fridge.

She seemed pleased with the flower. Her mother as well. I’m not sure about her father. The faces at Stonehenge showed more emotion than he did.

Then it was time to leave. Her dress had a bunch of crinoline or something underneath that made it stick out, sorta like the ladies going to Twelve Oaks for the BBQ in GWTW (Gone With the Wind).They had a buggy to get in with some open spaces.

We were going to be getting in a car. We tried the normal approach. That didn’t work. She would have fit nicely in the trunk (that’s when trunks were big), and I could have left the trunk lid open, but the more I thought about it, I thought that might be a potential blunder number two.

We decided the workable approach was for her to back into the seat. There was a potential danger here, because her dress might flip up, and expose more of her than she wished to expose.

She sat down, but most of the dress was still outside the car. I kinda compressed the dress as she turned to a normal sitting position, pushed it all in, and closed the door. I had no idea if it would return to normal when we arrived at our destination.

I got in the car, and we smiled at each other. A portion of her dress was on my side, but somehow I found the gas pedal and brake, and away we went. Some of her dress started poking me in my ticklish ribs, but I wasn’t about to laugh.

Finally after a reasonable amount of torture time, we found a parking place close to the Pickwick Club. Now I only had to get her out of the car.

I decided on one quick pull. I wasn’t sure whether the compressed dress, once it was unleashed from the car, might act life a shot from a cannon, and she would come sailing through the air, knock me down, and continue on, landing on her feet at the entrance to the Pickwick Club. Fortunately the dress only flipped back to its original shape, and she only almost knocked me down.

Those types of dresses were not intended for close encounters. I extended my hand and arm out to her, and we walked into the Pickwick Club about four feet apart.

Now I understood why all of those waltzes in GWTW or cotillion dances were always at arm’s length. It’s not that they didn’t like each other. It was as close as they could get.

The Pickwick Club had that dazzling thousand mirrored ball spending in the middle of the ceiling, and the lights glancing off of it reflected all over the room, almost like the stars had decided to come inside for the night.

The night went well. We didn’t dance a lot, but talked, which I figured was my strong suit, once I got past a few dumb words.

The word Leadout must have been derived from the fact that before the night was over, each couple had to walk through a wooden trellis-like structure, and that was termed the Leadout or presentation, not into society, but to your classmates.

I did look like a tall penguin in my tux, but my girl looked fabulous. I didn’t stumble, thank goodness.

When it was time to leave, we went through much the same to get her into the car. When we arrived at her house, it was time for me to kiss her, an impossible task for both of us sitting in the front seat. I could lean over toward her some, but my neck was still not long enough to reach her lips.

Sometimes the dumbest move can be the smartest move when you’re only trying to come up with something that will work. Little did I know that move would ward off any competitors I might have in the future, because my girl thought it was the craziest thing she’d ever seen or heard of.

I got out of the car, got in the back seat, leaned over the front seat, and kissed her.

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