The year was 1990. I was 12 years old – not even a “teenager” yet when I went to my first junior high dance.
It cost $2 to get into the “Skylark” – the dance club for teens in my hometown. Inside the double doors was a coat rack that led to a small eatery that offered single slices of pizza, candy and pop for an additional fee.
Four steps off of the eatery was the dance floor. To the left was a small stage where the disco-type lights were displayed for special effects. And all along the walls were red and blue plastic-covered booths – ideal for “necking.”
The DJ sat in an actual booth high above the dance floor enclosed in plexiglass.
During the dances, girls typically mingled with the girls – on either the dance floor or primping in the bathroom. And the boys, they basically stood around like wallflowers.
Except when a slow song would boom through the speakers – this is when the boys who were brave enough to ask a girl to slow dance would walk up to her and silently pray she would say, “yes” to his one request. This was also a prime time for girls to have their girlfriends ask a boy to “dance with her good friend.”
That’s how my first dance happened with a boy.
The song, “More than Words” by the band Extreme began playing and I had a friend of mine ask a boy to dance with me.
He said yes.
I began breaking out into a full-blown sweat. Was my hair OK? Did I put on enough “Taboo” perfume for him to notice? Where was my last piece of gum? Quick, give me a mint!
Anyways, we danced together for the 4-minute song and then as soon as the song ended, it was like the parting of the Red Sea – boom – we scattered and ran to our separate corners of the dance floor.
Flash-forward 24 years later … my oldest, now 11, attended his first middle school dance. I know he is only in the sixth grade, but by today’s standards, sixth grade is really the new seventh grade.
The week preceding the dance, I asked him at least 10 times if he had any desire to go to the dance. And every time, he responded with the same answer – “NO!”
So, it was only fitting that three hours before the dance, he decided to go.
But, not only did he want to go, he didn’t want his dad to take him and drop him off. I was working in the newsroom, so I was of no help. Besides, I don’t think he wanted me to be the one pulling up to the school in my “mom van.” That just screams, “UNCOOL!” Lucky for him, another mom was taking her son, plus a few other boys and had one spot left for him.
As I was leaving for work Friday, he was actually getting ready to take a shower … without being asked 100 times! He even wore a pair of jeans and a white-stripped polo shirt.
He wasn’t too chatty about the dance, but I did learn that he hung out with a group of “guys” and the first dance was the “Cha-Cha Shuffle” where you “slide to the left, now everybody clap your hands” which is a GREAT song … and kinda made me wish I was on the dance floor with him instead of sitting in a newsroom. However, I am pretty sure he didn’t feel the same way.