This morning I saw my friend Toni post about the “Things she learned Chaperoning a Middle School Dance.” We had talked a bunch on Facebook the night she was chaperoning as I had just done the same thing at our school the week before. We laughed about how things “weren't this way when we were kids” and admitted that despite our best efforts we had “become our Moms anyway.”
Toni's experience was a bit different than mine – though I found it just as funny. When I was in Middle School we had dances actually every Friday night, and they were appropriately called the “Friday Night Dances.” I can remember so much about them – come on it wasnt THAT long ago – from the outfits to the dancing to the girls crying in the bathrooms. But I learned a few things from my Chaperoning Experience as well.
Our Middle School Dance was held the afternoon of Valentine's Day from 4-6:30pm. The invitation said “semi-formal” which was grossly misunderstood to some of the girls who showed up in everything from painted on jean shorts to formal ball gowns… like floor length sequin stuff-you-wear-to-a-Mardi-Gras-Ball gowns. The guys all looked like they wore exactly what they had worn all day to school – apparently they thought three or four gallons of cologne was the only “semi formal” part they needed to partake in. I was pretty impressed with the dresses though. This school most often looks like it could be mistaken for an inner city school in downtown Chicago, so to see so many girls in dresses was uncanny…. it almost makes you over look the backdrop of graffiti painted on the walls.
As the music began I learned that the DJ was also a teacher – which I thought was fantastic. This guy should absolutely be the DJ for every middle school dance in the country. He was terrific. He kept the music light and entertaining and perfectly timed. I learned that the “line dances” like the Cupid Shuffle and Cha Cha Slide are perfect deterrents. When a crowd would gather around a few dancers to watch – thus creating a large circle that teachers could not infiltrate in to which of course poses a threat with fights and such – the DJ would start a “line dance” type song to get all of the kids to back away and get into a more manageable group.
During these line dances though I realized the need for a new class – “Remedial Direction” – as “slide to the left” and “slide to the right” led to several bump-ins from kids going the wrong way. The scarier part was realizing these kids will be driving soon…
During the Electric Slide a Conga Line got started somehow and before you knew it the entire room was in a line weaving around like a snake. It made me wonder if the days of the Electric Slide were coming to an end. I asked Samantha later if she knew the steps and she didn't but she knew the Cupid Shuffle… part of me thinks I should teach her the Electric Slide just out of principle…
Like Toni I saw a few dance moves that have only been replicated in places full of one dollar bills, but for the most part I was very impressed at how well all of the kids behaved…. and danced in heels. As someone who loves shoes I could not help but check out some of the heels on these 12-14 year old girls – and was a cross between impressed and appalled at how well they could walk – and dance – in them.
The funniest part of the night came about 30 seconds into a “slow” song when the DJ cut the music and said “Do you want me to play Country the rest of the night?” Which of course got a response of 400 voices screaming “NOOOOOO!” His reasoning (I had no idea what he meant) – “If you do not want me to play Country all night I better always see some SPACE between you and your dance partner. I've got Country all qued up and if you start grinding on each other and I can't see AIR between you, I will play it ALL NIGHT LONG.” And guess what… it WORKED. There was no grinding, no making out, heck I only saw one boy give a girl a kiss on the cheek after a slow dance when he asked her if it was ok for him to go hang with his guys for a while.
I never thought of Country Music as a bargaining threat…but…
The night ended with the Whitney Houston song “I Will Always Love You” which makes me tear up every time. By this time my Dad had stopped by so he and I struggled through the whole song trying not to embarrass Samantha by crying. The song came out during the time my parents were getting divorced and years later it was kinda the “theme song” of my own divorce. We managed to get through without any tears falling – laughing at the both of us struggling through it. Luckily Samantha missed the whole thing.
After the dance I took Samantha to Moe's for dinner – her request – and stood in line for what seemed like forever as she showed me the blisters on her feet from her heels. I laughed as I thought in my head “honey this is just the beginning” thinking of my Senior Prom where there was a pile of ladies shoes on the dance floor as tall as I am.
I thoroughly enjoyed chaperoning this dance and hope she will be ok with me doing it again next year. It was a fun experience and I like getting to meet her friends and kinda keep an eye on all that's going on. It is always entertaining and I get some good laughs – and a blog post of course – every time.
Have you ever chaperoned a Middle School Dance? Was your experience like mine and Toni's too?