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What to Wear to a Prom

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Sam hadn't worn a dress for years, and the assumption that it was the default clothing for females annoyed the hell out of her. Especially the stupid little silhouette of a stick figure in a sticking-out dress on the doors of public conveniences. She'd even used the men's several times as a kid in protest, but stopped after one particularly unpleasant example in a gas station that probably hadn't been cleaned for weeks.

And she sure wasn't going to wear a dress to the prom.

And, what's more, she didn't see why she had to wait around to be asked just because she didn't have a penis, so she went and found Joshua Silberstein in the library. He wasn't bad looking and being a fellow astronomy club member meant that even if he couldn't dance, he could at least hold an intelligent conversation, and that was a definite plus.

She put her hands on the table in front of him and leaned forward. "Hey, Josh."

"Huh?" He dragged his nose (and a nice big one, it was too; Sam had a theory that there was a correlation between nose and brain size) out of his calculus text book. "Hey, Sam."

"Want to go to the prom with me?"

"Me?" His eyes widened. "You're asking me?"

"Got a problem with that?"

"Oh no, not at all. It's just that I thought you'd rather go with someone more... I mean, sure, that'd be great." Josh reddened slightly. "Really great."


So that was sorted. Now for the outfit.


She didn't even have to ask for money since she and Mark got generous allowances from their father--conscience money, Sam thought with resentment. It was surprisingly easy to hire a tux (after all they had to stock sizes for tall bar mitzvah boys) and she bought a pink bowtie and matching suspenders to go with it in case she got hot dancing.

That, Sam thought, regarding herself in the mirror on prom night, looked pretty damn good with her silk shirt. She pulled her hair back in a tight ponytail and carefully applied blusher, eyeliner, mascara, a touch of eye-shadow, and a pink lipstick from her mother's makeup drawer (which still hadn't been cleaned out; nobody had the heart). Mom would have been amused, and really, she would've almost certainly offered the loan of her dangly diamond earrings, Sam thought, doing a few dance steps and watching them swing and flash.

Yep, that was it! She looked hot with that combo of male attire and female makeup and that little bit of pink, if she said so herself. She added the finishing touch: a black and white fedora tipped rakishly to one side. She was ready.

Josh arrived about ten minutes early, the pink rosebud Sam had requested clutched nervously in one hand. His eyes widened. "You're going in that?"

"Yeah, great isn’t it?"

"No! You're meant to be wearing a dress!"

"Who says? And when did you ever see me in one?" Sam took the rosebud and inserted it in her buttonhole. "Perfect!"

Josh shifted from foot to foot. "Um. There's time to get changed," he said tentatively.

"I am changed. Right, let's go!"

"It's not what I expected."

"I know. Vive la difference!" Sam flashed him a grin. "That your father's car?"

"What I expected was Samantha, but I got Samuel," Josh muttered resentfully as he followed her.

"I heard that!"


A few people turned to stare as they walked into the dance (Josh hanging back and trying to look unnoticeable and unattached), then a murmur grew as more faces turned to them.

"See? They think you look butch too," Josh said, sidestepping away from her.

"Pink is butch?" Sam kept her chin up and her smile wide. "I think not."

Now they could hear what the closest people were saying. "Wow, look at Sam!" "I wish I'd thought of that!" "Doesn't she look great!"

Sam raised her eyebrows at Josh. "Told you."

Looking a lot more cheerful, he bent his arm for Sam to place her hand on, but she hooked her arm though his. "OK, let's have fun!"


Josh walked proudly at her side as they left and opened the passenger door for her with a flourish.

"Gee, you didn't bother to do that when you picked me up."

Josh flushed. "Sorry." And when they got to Sam's place, he leaned forward and planted an awkward kiss on her cheek. "Look, I wondered if, well, if we could see each other again."

"Of course: in class and in astronomy club." Sam got out of the car.

"No, I meant--"

"I know what you meant." Sam smiled coolly through the open door. "No."

"Huh?" Josh blinked. "Why?"

"You care too much about what other people think."