At first, he adamantly cried, “No way.” No way was he going to join some dorky “dance club,” show up wearing a tie in front of his peers, and EVEN worse, be forced to dance with members of the opposite sex, in front of his peers.
Dance Club is a long-standing tradition at our Middle School here. Every Wednesday, for five nights, there is a dress code, strict guidelines, and a professional dance instructor to guide awkward teenagers through the basics of dance etiquette and of course, the steps. (I don’t think this will include the Rumba, but I’m not absolutely sure about that.) The session runs right through the Valentine’s Day Season, with the finale culminating as, “70s Night,” complete with Leisure Suits.
As I read through the invitation and guidelines, I thought back to my own first 7th grade dances, which really did take place during the 70s. Elephant-ears were the classification for bell-bottom jeans that were REALLY wide. I worse those, with a pink pullover. I also remember standing along the wall, waiting, and feeling very sad. My sweetheart crush never did ask me to the dance floor. It’s probably just as well; I probably would have stepped on his toes. At my school, our dances came without instruction.
This could be the chance to save my son from a similar fate. While he protested, I calmly pulled my parent card and said:
“You’re not quite old enough yet to know what’s best for you. You’re joining dance club. Just think of it as a vaccine — they hurt at first, but in the long run, you’re better off having the shot.”
Truth be told, I think he was relieved that I had made the decision for him. When asked, he could easily say to his friends, “Yeah, my Mom is MAKING me do it.” And of course, most of his friends echoed the same fate, “Mom is FORCING me to take it.” Because, honestly, they know there is no other way to master this timeless mating ritual. Better to leave it to the professionals. Still, the boys were all nervous, and dreading the whole thing… “what will happen?” Dreading the unknown is our worst fear in the human race.
Other parents let the kids lead; when they balked about dance club, the parents said, “OK, you don’t have to go.” Still, with fewer boys than girls joining, I felt it my civic duty to make sure my able-bodied male was there to contribute to the dwindling lower numbers. Otherwise, some of the girls would have to dance with chairs, or something like that.
The first night wasn’t so bad. He came home with a slight grin, relieved that the unknown was now known, and it wasn’t the big, dark, scary thing after all. But no details, no comments were offered.
The second night there was ice and now, and the class was canceled. (Not school, mind you… just no dance club.)
Later, we learned that dance club has no makeups when the class is canceled due to weather. That class, and those steps, are gone. So, I’m worrying. When and how will they ever learn those missing dance steps? Will they wind up stuck in a bar somewhere, standing in the middle of a line dance, unable to move because they don’t know the next step?
“There’s that class of 2014 again. They never did get to make up that missing dance class, and they get stuck out here every single time.”