Let’s Dance?!?!

Declan’s school has held a spring “disco” dance every year he has been there. So, for four years now, we’ve shook our groove thing in a very dark cafeteria with about 100 kids, aged baby brother or sister to young middle schoolers returning to recapture elementary school memories. There is tons of sugar on hand, so the children invariably end up doing some crazed, manic, off-kilter version of The Hustle, but in the end mostly it’s just a great chance for the students, their parents and the school staff to let loose together.

I have a close friend in another part of the country who emailed me today and asked: “What do you think about 3rd graders having a dance where the boys ask the girls to go?”

My first reaction was, “That’s early.”

My second reaction was, “That’s really really early.”

My third reaction was, “WHY???”

My fourth reaction was, “I’m actually starting to get angry over the fact that this school which has no relationship to mine is forcing 9 year old boys to ask 9 year old girls out when that is so totally not on their radar and what about the poor little girls who don’t get asked, and by the way, this is not bringing up memories of high school AT ALL.”

What do you think? Are my second, third, and fourth reactions overboard? Or should we just let elementary school kids be kids and let a dance be a dance?

This article has 20 comments

  1. missmaryliberry

    Amy, your reactions are totally valid. My #5 reaction would be: why do we have to perpetuate the idea that boys have to ask girls? Can’t the girls do the asking (assuming, of course, it were appropriate or reasonable for 3rd graders to ask each other to a dance)?

  2. Sizzle

    TOO EARLY. Also, too hetero. Why can’t they all just dance together without it being about “dates”??

  3. Carissa(GoodNCrazy)

    Sounds like a wacky mom pushing for her kid??

    Even my (gulp) Jr. High kid NEVER attends the school dances as a ‘date’ course she may meet a boy when she gets there and doesn’t tell me.. or not.

    I vote too early.

  4. MPPs Mom

    I completely agree. Why is their first (or early) introduction to a social gathering like this dependent on old fashioned traditions? What about a girl’s right to ask…. what about the hetero thing… What about some 9yo boys not having any interest in interacting with girls at all to even consider going to a dance with one…. As far as I know they still don’t even interact on the playgrounds very much.

    And then I worry about all the kids who won’t get asked, and the kids who are too shy to ask anyone, or who’s parents won’t let them…and then how much fun is this event really when it doesn’t end up including everyone….

    Too early to introduce those things. Middle school is hard enough, why bring this on in elementary?

  5. Meghann

    The only concept my brain is able to convey about this is: WTF?

  6. joansy

    Our elementary school holds dances and they are fantastic – they are fun and a ton of kids participate, precisely because they don’t have any of that junior high/middle school drama of boys asking girls, kids feeling left out, and popularity related issues. Our dances involve a whole bunch of kids, dancing with each other, dancing with their parent, dancing with their teachers and having a good time.

    And as the parent of a soon-to-be 9 year old who has already informed me that she’s a lesbian (and she may very well be right about this) – the last thing I want to deal with is a heterosexual mandate by her school.

  7. Bobbi

    Oh that’d get a YUCK from me. Too early. Have a no pressure dance and leave the “will you go with me’s” for later.

  8. kimi

    Wow, that seems early. VERY EARLY. Granted, my little dude is only 11 months old but the thought of him having to ask a girl to a dance in 3rd grade is terrifying. I remember third grade and I was not in any way mature enough to deal with a boy asking me (or NOT asking me) to a dance. TOO SOON. Let kids be kids, there’s enough forced growing up these days already.

  9. Madame Meow

    I have a five-year old who hasn’t even hit the first wave of “girls are icky.” I don’t think you’re overreacting: they are making them grow up far too soon.

  10. MB

    and why does it have to be about the boys asking the girls???

  11. Sara (from Saving for Someday)

    So does the boy have to buy the girl a corsage, rent a limo with his friends and take the girl out to eat at Red Lobster? Or is Red Lobster so 80s.

    What is the school thinking? I’m all for chivalry but asking a girl out is a bit much for an 8 or 9 year old.

    My daughter is almost 8.5yo and if she attended a school she’d likely be in 3rd grade. I don’t want her even thinking about being ‘cute enough’ for a boy to ask her out.

    And these poor boys, forced to talk to a girl. I fear they may all choose death over having to ask a girl out. That is just way too much pressure for all the kids.

    What group of educated school administrators got together and said, “This is a great idea!”? And did the PTA sign off on this nonsense too?

  12. TJ

    I think this school has too many moms with nothing to do on its PTA. Shame on them for trying to stay young & hip by encouraging their children to do grown up activities.

  13. The Casual Perfectionist

    That seems way too early to be encouraging the “couple-y” thing. I don’t see a problem with a dance, but it should be more group-based.

  14. chloebear

    Totally wrong. What is wrong with people today? This is why our kids are so messed up! Let them be yound and innocent as long as you can. There will be plently of dances where these issues come into play. Hopefully I never have to go through that with G.

  15. Bess

    Once, in kindergarten, I was chosen by some unsuspecting little boy, as the ‘Farmer’s Wife’ in a rollicking game of the Farmer in the Dell. I screamed and cried and then ran all the way home. My Mom had to drag me back to school later in the day. I suspect my 3rd grade daughter, based on the added years, would have some slightly less dramatic reaction to a boy asking her to a dance. Maybe like, “Eiiiiiwwwwwww, No.”

  16. Melanie

    omg perfectly valid reactions to such nonsense. of course, who knows where the idea of “asking” someone to a dance came from, the school or the kids — just look at any princess flick and the boys ask the girls to the ball. I know my daughter (1st grade) has some friends who love to talk about things like having boyfriends or trying to kiss the boys. harmless? most likely. growing up too fast? uh yah. i told The Kid that she was only in 1st grade, she did NOT have to worry about any of that stuff, which was much to her relief. at some point the teachers had to tell some of the kids to knock off the boyfriend/girlfriend/kissing stuff bc it had become a distraction at school.

  17. Schmutzie

    I don’t think you’re overboard at all.

    I’ll take it a step further and say that it enforces a hetero-normative social structure where none need exist just when some of those kids are figuring out that they may not be so hetero-normative, and that kind of enforced people-with-these-kinds-of-genitals-must-do-this-kind-of-thing-with-people-with-this-kind-of-genitals activity is not so subtly silencing and shaming for those who may not fit the narrow definition being laid out for them.

  18. zenrain

    WAY too early…

  19. monstergirlee

    Way TOO early. Good grief, just let kids be kids. Time enough for “asking” in high school. That whole things bums me out.
    No, you’re not overreacting at all.

  20. Nat

    If the boy wants to ask the girl to the dance then yes, he should be allowed to BUT not as a policy…

    Then it starts the whole politics of who gets asked out, and what about the kids that don’t get asked.

    The Boy is 10, and he’s got NO interest in girls or anything remotely like that. (I expect it will change soon enough. but…)

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