I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m totally serious when I said my mother didn’t want me to date until I was 30 years old. Sure, every mom says it, but my dear mother even bought books for me endorsing the notion of kissing dating goodbye. I’d roll my eyes and think to myself, The only kissing I want to do is ON A DATE! Of course I couldn’t admit this because my mom would think my soul was damned and she stand in my doorway at night and pray me out of my pathway to hell.

Oh, and my mom? She also didn’t let me watch Smurfs. In addition to the dorky affects of homeschooling, I also had no context of child pop culture except the episodes of Little House on the Prarie I’d watch every afternoon. Hand to heaven.

You could just imagine my worry when I asked my parents if I could go to prom with JD. You mean with a boy, my mom increduously asked. After a series of slammed doors, my mom agreed to let me go to prom…but I had to pay for everything myself. I had a bit of money saved from my telemarketer job, but I barely scratched enough together for my dress, to get my hair and nails did, and enough to speak with proper grammar.

I wanted to buy prom photos, but I couldn’t afford it. And I was torn. My best friend–knowing my love for photos–gave me $100 the day of prom stuffed in an envelope. You know…for pictures, Brianna said.

All these years later, I’ll never be able to repay my friend for her kindness. It’s one of the few photos I have of me and JD in high school…and though it’s absolutely horrific (LOOK! AT! THOSE! BANGS!), I love it for everything it represents: young love and bad hair.