Ah, yes, remember those? The anticipation, the wondering if your secret crush would ask you to dance, the careful selection of your outfit meant to impress all who were lucky enough to behold your awesomeness. Even though it’s been a really long time since I was there, I still remember it very well. I was the awkward, gangly girl who didn’t feel like she fit into her body just yet. The one who wouldn’t stand straight because she’s a foot taller than all of her friends. Yep, that was me.
My son is in a private Catholic school for middle school. The Catholic Diocese here has monthly middle school dances for all children within the Diocese, not just the kids at the schools. The Catholic schools require a certain number of volunteer hours from every family to make the school a better place, and to also keep the parents involved. Fine, no problem. A dance came up, my hubby was working that night so I thought, why not? I’d just be sitting around a peaceful house all alone, so why not go torture myself for three hours listening to whatever it is that passes for music these days? Oh.my.God. I have just become my mother. You know what they say, ‘if it’s too loud, you’re too old.’ AAAAACCCCKKKK!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!! No, I refuse to accept that I’m old. I do not wear elastic waist pants or velcro strap shoes, nor do I have to keep my teeth in a bedside jar. Therefore, I am not old. Ha! You see… I’m not.
Oh, back to the subject of my post. Of all dances I could volunteer to chaperone, it was the Halloween dance, and yes, the children were in costume. From what I understand, they were expecting nearly 400 kids. That’s way bigger than any I ever went to ‘back in the day’. Before electricity. No, really, we had it. Before MTV. There. We didn’t have MTV when I was in middle school. Heck, we barely had cable. I think there were all of 12 channels.
Ah, but I digress. I signed in and found that I was assigned a door post. This post is to prevent children from going where they’re not supposed to. So I, and another lucky parent, were stationed in front of the double doors that led outside to part of the campus where no one was allowed. Oh, and did I mention they were right beside the dance floor? Yep, they offered me a great view of all of the action, and I use that term in a very innocuous and literal manner.
When I walked in, the DJ was already spinning some tunes, and OMG, I thought my ears were going to bleed it was so loud. Add to it the fact that I didnt’ recognize any of what he was playing and I was certain I was in for a monster headache in record time. I made a quick dash to the ladies and stuffed tissue into my ears, which they were eternally grateful for and made it much more tolerable for the most part.
The kids started filtering in and soon, it was really a hopping party. The costumes were comical and a lot were rather unique. My post was on the same side as the restrooms. I saw lots of clumps of girls rushing toward the ladies, huddled up and giggling all the way. You know it’s a physical impossibility for girls to use the restroom solo, and at a function like a dance, you must double it, easily.
The boys, well, most of them acted as if the girls had leprosy and didn’t go near them. I was expecting it to be more like the ones I attended growing up: girls on one side, boys on the other and dance floor in the middle. this one was a bit different, there was more mingling of the two groups.
Until a popular song came on, when they all rushed to the center of the dance floor, screaming all the way. And bounced. yes, that’s what I said, BOUNCED. That was their form of dance. A good song is on, and they collectively bounced as a group. I can’t help but wonder if the neighbors near the school thought there was an earthquake that night, repeatedly. When you get a group of 150 kids all jumping at the same time, someone should be able to feel it, right?
The costumes ranged from the undead, zombies, mummies and of course vampires. To nerds, lots and lots of nerds of both gender, Mr. Monopoly, an inflatable sumo (it was hilarious), and you know it wouldn’t be a party without Gaga. The young lady who was Gaga was at least a head taller than the rest of the kids, and that was out of her heels. Needless to say, she cut a path when she walked through. Oh, and I can’t forget the young lady who looked like she was an 80’s girl in her mom’s heels. They were not super high heels, but it was obvious that she was not experienced in walking in them, nor was she in on what happens when you wear high heels to a dance. Poor girl was walking like she had wooden legs.
At one point, they played a slow song and I was shocked, shocked I say, to see what happened. Rather than clearing the dance floor (what I expected to happen) they stayed! It was really comical. Boy-hands on her hips, girl-hands on his shoulders, at arm’s length, staying in one spot, swaying side to side. I looked over and saw the wooden-leg-girl swaying with a boy who was a head shorter than she was. I nearly went and told her to take heart, it won’t always be that way, that she won’t always be taller than all of the boys.
One of the biggest surprises of the night, when the DJ played Journey’s song ‘Don’t Stop Believin’. Really. I mean, you expect certain songs to be played at dances, YMCA, for example. It’s a requirement, I think. But when the Journey song came on, these kids screamed and rushed the dance floor and were singing it at the top of their lungs! I stood there, shaking my head looking at my watch and wondering where exactly that wormhole was that had just deposited me back in the 80’s. Crazy. But I loved it. I’m glad they’re enjoying at least some good music.
When will I chaperone again? Not for a few years if I’m lucky. Although, I have to say, it was rather entertaining to see what these kids are doing, and how different it is from when I was there.