Boundbytheword Blog

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That first school dance… January 26, 2012

So my son had his first senior dance last night – only grade seven and eight students were allowed to attend – so, sort of a big deal. Last week, when the permission form came home and he gave some resistance, I figured he was nervous about the whole dance/girls/coolness factor. Who better to help him out but me? I might be older, heavier and way less cool than I once was, but I did have my day way back when, and I haven’t forgotten the jitters of attending a school dance.  

Ah yes, . Knowing the boy you liked would be there, watching him watching you, hoping he asks you to dance. Relationships were made and broken at school dances. How I loved those dances.

I wanted my son to be the kind of boy who likes dances too. I never understood boys who said dancing sucked or they just “didn’t wanna”. Huh? It’s dancing! Have fun, be silly, be crazy, maybe we even get a little snuggle while Phil Collins croons away about something in the air. Though I did choose a few stick-in-the-mud-dance  guys in my lifetime, I always preferred the ones willing to dance.  I understand now – wise old woman that I am – that the boys didn’t really hate dancing. They were afraid to look foolish, didn’t know how to do it and were embarrassed to try. Not my son, I decided.

So as dinner broiled one night, I danced around the kitchen with him. Our family has always been kitchen dancers.  I wasn’t worried about him knowing how to boogie-woogie, but thought he might be too shy to ask someone to slow dance. So,  I gave him the “slow dance” demo. This is what every twelve-year-old boy wants to do with his mother, I just know it.

I hear the collective groans.

I’ll just say – that even though he rolled his eyes and my husband thinks I may have scarred him for life, my son danced the whole song with me and was much more confident by the end of it. By the end of Bruno Mars’ love song, my son had taken the lead and was dancing quite nicely. Any teenybopper would be lucky to partner up with him.

Before you send a comment to remind me the word is “mother” not “smother”, I just want to defend myself. Taking the lead in a slow dance is hard – especially the first time. Think I’m exaggerating? Have you ever danced with the spinner – the guy who turned so fast you were dizzy before the chorus? Not good. What about Frankendance? The guy who stomps left, stomps right, and then turns a fraction of an inch at a snail’s pace. Not good either. Then there are the butt grabbers, the clingers, and the guys who want you to lead but won’t admit it so you spend the entire song apologizing for moving or not moving. Dancing is a tough gig for newcomers.

So – my son and I danced, and last night he was prepared and ready to go. He gave me strict instructions not to leave a five-minute radius of the school (in case he needed to call for an escape) and to be there at 5:30 sharp, not at the dance end time of 6 pm. I did as I was told and got there at 5:30. I meandered down the hall to see if I could sneak a peek, and was surprised at the music selection – Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Weird. But every kid in the entire gymnasium was on their feet and bouncing around. Still a hit after all these years – amazing.

I hung out around (behind) the door and watched as my son danced up a storm to Rihanna and Maroon 5 and a string of others that I had no clue about. He was no dud on the dance floor and I was happy for him. A few songs in, one of his friends saw me, and within 30 seconds a gang of kids came over to chat it up with me. Odd, and I could see my son was not impressed at the distraction.  I told them I was early so to go ahead and go dance, which they did, and my son asked me to go get this things (way at the other end of the school…lol) which I did. It was code for “get lost” and I was glad to do it if it meant he was having a blast.

I took my time wandering down and came back  as the final song was on – another classic, and another shock for me at a dance in 2012. Stairway to Heaven by Zeppelin. My first thought? That’s crazy – am I at my grade eight dance or what? My second thought? A flashback to dancing to that song. It put a spring in my step as I almost tore down the halls to get to what I assumed would be make-out central. I just hoped my son remembered the hand-zone we discussed in our kitchen.

I peeked my head into the gym and saw six couples on the dance floor (all hands in appropriate places). My son stood in a group of kids off to the side and saw me immediately. He waved off his friends (now separated into boy/girl sections, who all looked somewhat desperate and disoriented) and bolted over to me, ready to go.

Driving home he talked about how much fun it was, how much he sweat, how crappy the pizza was, who danced with who, and how he didn’t, in fact, know the moves to the Time Warp. (who knew I’d have to teach him that dance?).

I asked if he danced with girls.  “Sure he did”. Any particular girl? “Not so much” (or not so much into telling me). When I asked if he danced any slow ones, it was a clear – “no way”. By the way he bolted out of that gym during the famous make-out song, I believe him.

So I readied my son for his first slow dance, but he wasn’t ready. I’m not going to lie here – that doesn’t make me sad. The years are looming where he’ll live for the slow dance and ignore my hand zone cautions. But until then, I’m just glad he’ll still boogie on the dance floor like nobody’s watching.

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11 Responses to “That first school dance…”

  1. Deepam Says:

    Any boy or girl should be so lucky to have a mom like you – purple toe, boiling eyeball and crispy finger aside – taking that kind of time and care in such a non-pushy way obviously sets his sweet mind at ease. Lovely story.

  2. This story is a Facts & Arguments slice-of-life piece if ever there was. It really resonated with me.

    I, too, remember with little fondness Mr. Frankendance.

    You sure know how to capture a moment.

    Great story. Great writing!

  3. Dave Jones Says:

    I agree with the above. Good Mom stuff. It seems to me the kids all just get up and dance to the fast ones and if you don’t have a partner- so what. Now slow dances do take a bit of finesse. I think I was maybe what you would call a ‘rocker’. I encased my partner and we melded to the sway of the tunes. My fast dance style was defineitely ‘Rubber legged spaz’, a true sight to behold!

    Anyway, after dancing with such a hot chick in the kitchen he is probably ruined for dancing with any peer group girls for years to come.

    Sigh……………………… memories.

    • Ha ha ha…

      Yes – I’m sure that’s just the way my son would descibe me – a hot chick. I may have ruined him for dancing, but I doubt it was becuase those doll-like girls don’t hold a candle. But it’s a nice thought – I’ll just go with what you said.

  4. Dale Long Says:

    My mom taught me to waltz. Problem is, nobody (at least in high school and university) waltzes anymore.Slow, one step and sway, turn a bit and repeat was the dance. Fast dance, all bets were off. High school was still too much pointing and laughing at uniqueness when it came to dancing.

    Sue hates dancing, I do a mean twist.

    Keep teaching him Noelle. The dancing AND the proper etiquette.

  5. Cheryl Says:

    Hope you post pics of you teaching your son the Time Warp moves!


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