July 26, 2006
There are few things in this world more devastating, more primitive, more hilarious than a High School Dance. Picture young boys and girls without full knowledge of their bodily functions trying to do something that, since Elvis Presley, has required that very understanding.
I had the opportunity to witness one of these recently.
The dance last year had over 70 boys and girls in the basement of a church and only two chaperones. With only two chaperones the ability to remain strict was sorely diminished. At some point in the night someone sneaked booze in and the party really got underway. When the parents returned to pick up their innocent children what they walked into was an orgy the likes of which haven't been seen since the time of Caligula.
Did I mention that this was in the basement of a church?
It was my friend who felt the brunt of the responsibility. He was not going to let that happen again so he roped in a few more chaperones for this dance.
That is where I came in.
When I arrived on the scene there were only 20 school kids there, some of whom were eighth graders, and it was unlikely that more would show. Perhaps the parents who heard of last year's event were uncomfortable letting their little boys and girls go to such a horrible church-oriented event.
My friend seemed to think that more high school students wouldn't show because of there being eighth graders present. As though the ninth and tenth graders thought that being in the same room as these "children" would revert them back to that horrid prepubescent period of life.
Of the handful of kids, several were whispering in a corner about leaving and sneaking beer from some unwitting parent's refrigerator. Most of that group had disappeared soon thereafter, including the DJ.
With the DJ gone I assumed control of the music. I started with a little Michael Jackson and some George Clinton. No one was dancing.
One of the girls ran over to the kitchen/DJ booth to request a few songs that I had never heard of and that the lights be dimmed. I shut off all the lights except the one over the kitchen.
The first song was apparently about Laffy Taffy, a delicious, gummy kind of candy and how the girls should shake theirs. There was a very heavy base line to it and unintelligible lyrics. Exactly what they wanted.
Only a few boys started dancing . . . I think. They got up and started flailing their arms around like some kind of Galapagos island bird mating ritual. I think one of them even tried to breakdance. He started with what looked like the robot and then fell heavily to the ground and into the worm.
Still, very few were actually dancing, if you want to call "the worm" dancing. One girl walked over and asked, in a devilishly polite manner, if I would turn off all the lights. With no lights, I wouldn't be able to see what I was doing. More importantly, no one would be able to see what they were doing. Well . . . it was their dance.
Once the lights were out and my eyes had adjusted, I could see that everyone was dancing. And what a disturbing sight it was. There was the central circle of girls on the floor trying to stay together and the boys would circle around them and try to infiltrate the circle and pick one out to dance with.
It was like watching a Discovery Channel special on predators. The prey found their strength in numbers while the predators swarmed around to confuse and attack, catching the herd/schoolkids off guard and coming away with a kill.
When someone would get partnered off, the resulting dance was obscene to say the least. All it consisted of was grinding pelvis-to-pelvis and awkwardly groping hands with hardly any notice of the rhythm kept by heavy base and growling lyrics screaming "bend over to the front, touch your toes."
Every so often a door would open or a light would be turned on and all the dancing would cease completely and they would scurry to the wall like little bipedal cockroaches afraid of being caught doing something they are not supposed to.
This went on for three and a half hours.
Finally, by 11:30 p.m. parents began to show up and the handful started to leave. A few were even nice enough to not whine when asked to help clean.
I left feeling amused about what I had seen and just a little depressed that it would have been me doing the worm 15 years ago.