Once we were done gushing over how fabulous all of the rooms were, we were off to dinner. We didn't visit the rooms of the girls from our ward's "in" group, but it was no big loss because they were undoubtedly the same as all the others. They were along the same hallway intermixed with our rooms. Kimberly and Lara, who were just a little older than Amy and me, were sharing the room next door to ours. Then on the other side of our room was Claire, Kimberly's older sister, with a girl she had invited named Tina. Tina, in fact, attended my high school, but I hardly knew her as she was a senior and a cheerleader. I was surprised that she had come to Youth Conference at all since her family wasn't active in the church and she almost never attended the Sunday services.
After dinner and the opening welcome program, we rushed back to our rooms to prepare for the big event of the night: the dance.
The rule with Mormon boys and girls is that when you turn fourteen you can go to dances and when you're sixteen you're allowed to date. I was looking forward to turning sixteen in a few months and the prospect of dating. Not that I actually had any prospects. So far the only guy who had thought to ask me out was the nerdiest guy in my school, a guy so undesirable that even I didn't want to date him, and normally I would be willing to set the bar pretty low for this sort of thing. Yet not only was this guy remarkably funny-looking, he was also a bit strange. He seemed to believe that his dog understood human speech as well as any human and that she spoke German. He was always on about his dog except when he was bragging about his grades or test scores, so I found that I couldn't tolerate speaking to him for longer than the six minute breaks between classes. In that case the excuse that I wasn't old enough to date yet came in handy. And I figured that hopefully in the time leading up to my sixteenth birthday I'd be able to convince the love of my life to notice me, or failing that I hoped to at least find an acceptable substitute. So you see my real motivation for attending Youth Conference.
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My little sister Annette was pretty excited about meeting people at the dances as well. She had just turned fourteen two weeks earlier, so she just barely made the age requirement to attend this year's Youth Conference. She had really lucked out on the scheduling. Tonight's dance would be her first, and she was thrilled about it. After this, the usual monthly dances with just one stake of maybe six wards of kids might be a disappointment.
As we were working on our make-up and hair and comparing dresses, Annette was ecstatic. We all gave her special attention and advice. Amy did Annette's hair up in a style that looked fabulous, and we all complimented her on it. Our discussion while getting ready was generally a profusion of compliments: how the color of Jenny's lipstick perfectly flattered her complexion, or how Tammy's dress was so gorgeous that you could hardly tell she had made it herself. In truth we were all reasonably attractive for teenage girls. I was a little short and Amy could probably have stood to lose a few pounds off her butt, but we weren't too bad. Once we'd made ourselves as beautiful as we were going to get, the eight of us were off to the dance.
When we arrived, the hall was already set up with streamers and other decorations. The punch was on one side, the chairs were set up all around the edges, and the mirror ball was spinning millions of polka-dots of light all over the floor and walls of the darkened room. The stereo speakers were already booming out a dance beat even though no one was really dancing yet.
So our little group did what we always did at the start of a dance: we went out into the middle of the dance floor and stood in a circle and started dancing. Not that it was particularly interesting to dance in a circle with a bunch of other girls.
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