So to give me that special edge, I decided to grab my brother Chuck's yellow cross-country jacket. It was very cool - complete with a large "E" on the left side of it for the varsity letter he had in cross-country. It was the addition to my wardrobe that would put me over the edge and make me irresistible to 7th grade women everywhere. I didn't bother asking if I could borrow it because I knew his answer would be "no." I just thought I would spare us both that little awkwardness.
So I went to the dance with my new-found confidence assured that everyone was checking me out in my brother's gleaming yellow cross-country jacket.
They were . . . but in the wrong way. Imagine a few dozen 7th grade boys coming up to you with a sneering, "I didn't know your name was Chuck." Note to self: when you wear someone else's jacket, and it has someone else's name on it, be prepared for snide comments if you are in middle school. I shrugged it off. A few "nice yellow jacket" comments were thrown in but I ignored that too. I decided that it was time to make my move so I went over to Cindy Klassen and in my most awkward tweeny voice asked, "hey, you wanna dance?"
I waited. The world stopped. She looked at me and then said the two words I'll never forget:
Shrieks of giggles ensued from her entourage as they all ran to the bathroom. I took that as a "no."
It was at that moment that a friend of mine brought the most egregious error to my attention. "Dude, where are your pants?"
In all my plans I miscalculated the one thing that would have made me the most unattractive dance partner . . . my brother's jacket was so long it covered my shorts and made it look like I was a 7th grade flasher. Already 80% of my body was legs, so covering my shorts with this long jacket made me look completely ridiculous. The one thing I figured was my ace in the hole was the very thing that worked against me!
Lesson learned? Actually a few:
1. 7th grade dances are best enjoyed not paying any attention to the opposite sex.
2. Look in the mirror before you leave the house.
3. And this is the most important . . . BE YOURSELF.
When we try to be someone else, it usually interferes with your best asset - yourself.
I just figured that in life we all need this subtle and gentle reminder from time to time - doesn't matter whether you are 13 or 33. You could be in the boardroom or at basketball practice - find out who you are and be that. You can't go wrong when you stay true to your self . . .