“I Chaperoned the Middle School Dance… and All I Got Was This Lousy Migraine”
My hell began with an innocent email from the Middle School Band Director. She needed parents to chaperone the dance. The request landed on vulnerable ears: me, a guilt-laden mother who had neither purchased the requisite amount of band fundraiser chocolate nor properly altered daughter’s marching band uniform pants (how was I to know packing tape did not withstand rain puddles?…).
Before I knew it, I was reviewing the map of chaperone parent locations for The Dance. God apparently did not hear my prayers to land a role doling out Sprite and Chex Mix in the cafeteria and horror or horrors: I would be In The Gym. With the DJ, the cavalry of short-stick drawing teachers, and 150 pimple-faced, hormone-revved 6th, 7th and 8th graders bouncing up and down to music videos of an unrecognizable music genre.
I remember my own Junior High dances. Girls on one side of the gym, boys on the other, an invisible equator line down the middle. It was agonizing- waiting for a boy to ask you to dance, having to fear rejection asking one to dance with you. But those were more innocent times, days when turtlenecks existed and Air Supply cassettes played.
Now there are dress codes (no skirts short enough to see your belly button, no tank tops smaller than toothpicks) strict rules (no naked pyramids, no heavy artillery) and a principal armed with dog-catching equipment and a fire extinguisher.
The wide-eyed, quivering parents are instructed that tight circles around students, ‘girl on girl’ interaction and visible underwear are forbidden. These rules are repeated over the microphone for the benefit of the students, while I grapple with the concept of ‘girl on girl’ as it might apply to 11 year old children.
The parents are told to ‘break up’ any suspicious physical interaction, but most of us are hunched in shadowy corners trying to look invisible. I am busy trying to NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT with my 13-year old, who has painstakingly chosen my outfit, from the why-do-all-the-fashionable-tops-look-like-maternity-clothing to the my-feet-are-killing-me wedge shoes borrowed from her closet. I send text messages to no one on my phone in an effort not to look dorky.
The music is so loud it is vibrating my earrings; the only break from the noise comes in the silence-beeped censorship of bad words from the rap songs. I had enjoyed threatening my daughter by telling her I was going to ask her bald, bespectacled 60-something science teacher to dance… to a slow song. Such an action may have caused a judge to elicit a ruling of justifiable homicide for my offspring as my battered corpse rotted in a grave.
There wasn’t even a t-shirt… so I survived chaperoning the middle school dance and all I got to show for it was a lousy migraine.
Next year I will spend $200 on band fundraiser chocolate. And hem the band uniform pants.