I guess I should start by saying I did ask permission before I wrote this.
Back when my wee cherubs were wee babies, I did not ask permission before I wrote about them. Permission seemed fussy. Babies are wee and adorable. That’s in their contract. Asking them IF I could write about them seemed like an extra step, and I am not one for the *middle man. They did cute stuff. I wrote about it.
But now, we are into the teen years. And I must tread carefully. Therapy is not cheap.
A few weeks ago, I signed up to chaperone my sons’ first school dance of the year. I don’t really know why I say yes to stuff like this since I am:
- An elite introvert
- In love with my bed and being in it by 8 pm
But as is the way of the Dana, sometimes I think something sounds fun, and I sign up for it. “That sounds fun,” I thought, when I saw the email about the dance, asking for food and drink and, you guessed it, Adult Volunteers. “I think I’ll sign up for it.”
Reader, if anyone has ever introverted as hard as I introvert, you know what happens when we sign up for stuff. On the day of the event, the Ghost of Introverts Past barges in, all clangy, and says, “UM I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE.” But in this case I had a hack: Ask the husband to come too, so he can be your buffer. (Also I really wanted to go so I could spy on my children.)
Brian has buffered for me for a long time. He is absolutely unaware of this. Whenever we go to a social event I prep him like this: “Do NOT leave my side. Unless I have to go to the bathroom. Then I want you to stand right outside the door. Not weird at all. Also, look for my secret signal for when I’d like to leave. You might want to stay longer, but I will not be able to, so you have to bow to my will.” Then he chortles and asks “Is your secret signal when you take your shirt off and wave it around your head?” which, if you think about it, might be pretty effective. 99% of the time when I give him the signal he is “having a good time” and “not paying attention” or “eating little sausages” and I’m kinda adrift.
In the middle school dance situation, I could not signal to Brian to leave early, as we had chaperone duties, and one of those duties is to not leave early.
Also, the shirt thing would have been way problematic in this context.
So, we did arrive, and I helped kids with their entrance fees, while I cooed at them about their super-cute outfits, and the music thumped its way into my semi-circular canals.
The theme for this dance was Palpable Awkwardness.
So, the thing is, I seem to have a really good memory of my junior high dances (It was junior high back then, not middle school. I am team “junior high.” Middling at anything is annoying and just reminds us we’re itching to get beyond it. Being in the middle is only preferable when you’re at a football game and it’s 27° and there’s a blanket.)
I remember the dances. I remember the darkness and the thumpy music and the longing. Purple Rain was my first slow dance. An excellent choice. I was led to the dance floor by David Silverman, my first love, who turned to face me and extended his arms parallel to the floor, a la Frankenstein, and then placed them firmly on my shoulders like he was about to give me a pep talk. I did the same, and we then stepped side to side with absolutely no ability to: 1. Make eye contact 2. Actually enjoy this moment because we were freaked out.
When the song ended we just sort of lifted our hands up and wafted away, leaving a trail of Brut and weird in our wake. And I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN IT OMG IT WAS AMAZING.
And that’s when I looked up at Brian and it slowly dawned on me. Hey… Brian was taller than David Silverman. And I was suddenly emboldened to do something I had always wanted to do. I asked a boy to dance.
It also helps that The Time of My Life had just started playing, and you all know the truth of it:
NOBODY PUTS DANA IN A CORNER.
Reader. We danced. At some point Brian backed up a bit and said, “Come on, let’s do the lift!” which made me ask him if he had done some drugs before dance, but I assure you, he had not.
(Has anyone else noticed that this post mentions taking off clothes and drugs? That’s weird.)
We danced, and at some point I actually looked around and saw that one of my wee babies was dancing with a girl too. We locked eyes. The theme of the dance really came through strong in that moment. But that’s a blog for another day.
For the remainder of the time, I maintained No Contact with my boys. The dj did kind of ruin the mood when she started playing Whip Nae Nae as our song ended, and I had to go wash my eyeballs after watching a 7th grade boys gyrate to it. He looked like he was having a seizure. Then the dj played Taylor Swift’s Love Story, which was basically whipping them into a frenzy. Brian and I camped out at the cookie table. We finished out the evening with a lot of shriek-singing and I think my older son rolled his eyes so hard he hurt his face.
But memories were made. I did a slow dance with my husband.
And I did, in fact, have The Time of My Life.
*I just now noticed that I talk later in this article about how I don’t like middles and oh my goodness this is amazing writing. #pulitzer
Want a bit of Pie and Coffee in your mailbox for a creative lift? You’ll get a Magic Morning freebie on the side! Click here. Eat dessert first, friends!! Get thee to the cookie table. 🙂