I referred to the vice president of the United States as a "Man of Many Chuckles" in my handwritten prom invitation to him, and Joe Biden sent me a red-white-and-blue corsage seven months later in reply.
Is this real life?
I’ve never been very interested in going to prom.
High school dances aren’t really my kind of party. But you hear all these stories about girls asking their celebrity crushes to prom.
That's another thing I've never been interested in: having celebrity crushes.
But after watching Joe Biden in the background during President Obama’s speeches (and cracking up every single time he did one of his signature Biden moves: the Thumbs Up Grin, the Fist Pump Grimace...the Classic Double Ice Cream Cone) I thought if there was one way I could enjoy a high school dance, it would be by going with the funniest person in America.
So I wrote the vice president a letter on September 27, 2013. It read:
I would like to formally invite you to my Senior prom, taking place on the evening of May 16, 2014. I am inviting you so far in advance because I am sure many 17-year-old girls send you prom invitations, & I had to beat them to it. I could only tolerate a high school dance if I was to be accompanied by the the most delightful man in all of America--Joe Biden. I fear if you turn me down, I may have to invite Speaker John Boehner, & we can't have that now can we. Awaiting your response, Talia Rose Maselli
Dearest Mr. Vice President; Man of Many Chuckles;
I looked up the address for the White House online, put a Forever stamp on my crisp white envelope and mailed my letter that day.
Seven months later, with prom two days away, my doorbell rang in my small town of Newington, Connecticut. At the door was a very official-looking florist who handed me a red, white and blue corsage, along with a handwritten letter from the president's right-hand-man -- and my dreamboat prom-date, "Diamond Joe."
The Vice President wrote back:
Dear Talia, thank you for your lovely invitation for me to be your escort to your prom. I am flattered, but my schedule will not permit me to be in Connecticut on Friday evening. But I hope you will accept this corsage & enjoy your prom as much as I did mine. I would now like to invite you to be my guest in the West Wing of the White House as soon as you are available if you are willing. I look forward to hearing from and seeing you soon. Warm Regards, Joe Biden
Like I wouldn’t be willing.
As if I were going to write him back:
"It's prom or nothing, Joe. The choice is yours."
I actually didn't believe it at first, and I gave my mom the number that was on the florist card, and she called, expecting to talk to the florist and ask if they knew what this was about.
Instead, Joe Biden’s secretary answered.
My mom said, “This might sound weird, but my daughter just received a corsage…” and before my mother could finish, the secretary said, “Oh, good, she got it! Did she get the letter, too?”
I imagined the vice president in the White House, crossing the days off on his calendar and counting down until my prom.
Actually, that’s a lie. He probably has people for that.
But, being serious for a second, I have to say it was insanely nice for everyone involved to make this happen. It kind of shows that what you put out in the world does have consequences -- in my case, in the form of a letter from a VP hunk.
Besides, I’d much rather go to the White House than to prom anyway. I ended up ditching the dance just as I planned. But, I will say that if Biden had said yes, I totally would have worn an American flag and had a bald eagle on my arm.
Now I'm just trying to figure out, when I do finally visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in July, what do I bring the vice president who has everything?
Do I actually wear a prom dress when I arrive at the White House?
And a tricked out red-white-and-blue one at that?
I guess I should keep this whole thing going.
Like the Hartford Courant photographer put it as she directed me while I posed for pictures: "Hold up the hand with the corsage a little higher. Now look out the window. Now really look like you're yearning for Joe."
So dear vice president, if you are reading this: I want you to know that I eagerly await our meeting.
But in the meantime, I shall respectfully yearn.