Dance Anxiety

“Can I stay home from school on Friday?”

Dex asked; we didn’t know what to say.

“There is a dance for 6th graders and 90% of my friends are staying home so they don’t have to go.”

Everything came rushing back, as if I was Molly Ringwald just finding out her underpants were on display for every nerd in school.

“The teachers say it is supposed to be a romantic dance. With romantic dancing.”

This is where I start to question this hysteria that must have entered their 12 year old brains. The school is encouraging romance among preteens?

“If you don’t want to go to the dance, you have to go detention.”

By now my eyebrows pretty much have embedded themselves in my forehead.

I try to explain that, chances are, they have blown things out of proportion, which just makes the anxiety worse, because now I am calling him a liar. Awesome. I change course and remind him about all the dances from elementary school that were so much fun. I got the tween look of death. That one. Where parents just don’t understand. I remember that look well.  From when *I* had to go to teen dances and was petrified out of my mind and embarrassed and wanted to hide and apparently wasn’t smart enough to think of asking to stay home.

Unfortunately, hiding isn’t the really the answer, as much as I would love to have him home and just hang out with me all day and put the weird growing up stuff on pause for a few years. Instead, I emailed school to 1.) let them know kids were dreading this dance almost as much as acne or braces and 2.) ask what this romance business was about anyway?

I got an almost immediate response that of course it was not romantic, dates were not encouraged, and teachers would be teaching the kids group line dances if anything.

While that sounds maybe more awkward than anything, I am pretty sure by this time next week Dex will be looking back fondly at his first middle school dance.

Or at least he’ll know how to do the Electric Slide.

This article has 10 comments

  1. Laura

    we have been having this SAME thing! it’s funny, sad and nerve wracking all at the same time.

  2. william

    oh hell yes I remember this!

  3. Aimee Giese

    Elaine, I feel him too! Kids these days are lucky theu have their phones, but we have been avoiding coaching him to resort to that – hoping he will join in some, you know what I mean? We talked more about it last night and he is feeling better!

  4. Elaine Ellis

    In high school, I was at a student council retreat in Fort Collins with all the rest of the Colorado student councils. I learned that the week ended with a dance. My mom picked me up early, and we told everyone my great aunt died. I feel him. I really do.

    The key to avoid dancing is find yourself at the food table, the bar and the bathroom and to repeat the rotation.

  5. @MonikaRun

    Poor Dex! I’m happy that the romantic part sounds like it was just a bad game of telephone with the kids.

    One day, when he is at a wedding, he will be glad that he learned how to line dance in middle school when the electric slide comes over the speakers.

  6. Aimee Giese

    Monika, perhaps a wedding really soon! 😉

  7. JennyMoose

    I got my first and last suspension from school at my first dance in 7th grade. Some beoytch told my friend no one would ever want to dance with her because she was too fat. So I did what any best friend did, I punched the mean skinny little redhead right in the face. And I got suspended. And I would totally do it exactly the same way again.

  8. Alexis Marlons

    I guess at that age, kids are not ready yet to be on a dance.

  9. Beth Sharp

    My daughter had her first middle school dance as a 6th grader. I went as a chaperone. As we were getting ready, I asked her what she wanted me to wear b/c I didn’t want to embarrass her. At least not at her first dance anyway. She said she didn’t care what I wore and that I didn’t embarrass her. So then I said Great! We can dance together! If looks could kill, I was dead on the spot. She informed me that what she meant was that my CLOTHES do not embarrass her.

    Before I go on, there are two things to know. 1. I look like I am 10. I am actually 34 (35 next month) and just 3 years ago I was denied access into an “adult” bar, after I showed my ID, and all I needed was a bathroom. I ended up at the “college” bar instead and it was traumatic. 2. I love the cupid shuffle.

    Fast forward to a few hours later, standing in the middle school cafeteria. The cupid shuffle comes on. I keep it cool. Trying to act completely uninterested and my 11 year old daughter comes running at me and asked me to do the cupid shuffle. I calmly say, “Are you sure? I don’t want to make you uncool or anything” Inside I am dying with excitement. I mean, my daughter just asked me to do the cupid shuffle with her. Maybe I am that cool mom. Maybe, just maybe, we will get through the dreaded hormonal teen years and come out as friends in the end. So, as I say, ok but only if you are sure and we make our way to the dance floor she nonchalantly tells me… “It’s ok mom, they all think you are an 8th grader”.

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