Friday, October 24, 2014

Hell Freezes Over

(An outstanding Eagles album, by the way.)

I was going to title this post "You Couldn't Pay Me Enough Money To Go Back To Middle School" but it seemed a bit too unwieldy.

Our middle school is grades 6-8, and since the school is small all three grades have their dances together.  The sixth grade boys in particular are having a difficult time with the idea of dances...the girls by and large are fine with it.  Just about every sixth grade girl attended the first one, but I think maybe 8 or 10 of the boys, if that many.   Thing One categorically refused to even think about it and I didn't push him.

Then, a week or so ago, he came home and informed me that he had to stay after school today to help decorate for the second dance because he is his homeroom's class rep, which is a student council position.  I gather that the student council puts on the dances.  He then hastened to add that he wasn't GOING to the dance, he was just DECORATING for it.  Ok, whatever.  There was another activity tonight he wanted to do with some of his buddies and that was the plan until Thursday morning, when I got a text from a friend informing me that her son (one of Thing One's best friends, and another of the anti-dance holdouts) was actually considering attending.  Seems critical mass of friends from the group had been attained, and the tide had shifted.  Thing One suddenly did a 180 on the idea, and I was scrambling at the last minute trying to find the permission slip on the school website, print it and get it signed so he could bring it in.  Again, whatever.  My friend offered to pick Thing One up from school, take him to her house to play and then bring both boys to the dance together, so I planned to take my younger two out to dinner and then to a family taekwondo class.  (And oh, the drama of the discussions as the older boys tried to figure out what to wear!)

Thing One was pacing around like a caged lion this morning...sheer nerves.  I told him that he didn't have to get near a girl if he didn't want to and that seemed to help a little.  Texted my friend after school and the boys seemed ok...they were playing football in her yard.  Got my younger two fed, walked into the dojo, and I get another text: my son's buddy is so nervous that he's refusing to leave the house!  I'm with the other two kids half an hour away, so my friend now has to take my son to a dance that her son is no longer attending.  Fortunately, she lives close to school, but I wasn't taking any bets on what Thing One would do without his wingman.  Texted her again after class...Thing One did actually still want to go, and she dropped him off without incident.  Go figure.  He's not home better believe I'll be interested to hear how it went.

It's not that he thinks girls have cooties or anything...he never did.  He's just not emotionally ready to deal with any sort of relationship drama.  I wasn't at his age either, so I totally get it.  He sees some of that going on around him with a few of his older friends and wants absolutely no part of it!  I think he'll have fun with his buds if he goes, so I was happy that he decided to give it a shot, but believe me...he's growing up fast enough for me already without throwing girls into the mix.  I'm not dealing with him getting older much better than he is!


  1. Ugh, I remember my first dance in 6th grade. It was AWFUL. Boys tried to physically drag me to dance with them.

    I never went to another school dance. Ever. Oh, except when I had to chaperone, but then I would take any other possible duty before that horror. The loud music, the smells, the kids acting insane - good grief, I'd rather take a month of detentions.

  2. What I remember most from all jr. high dances is the boys-on-one-side, girls-on-the-other thing, and the feeling of being a wallflower when the boy you liked asked somebody else to dance. Given that, not sure why in the world I went to more than one, but I did! I didn't really date till high school and that was probably a good thing.

    And the boys dragging you...awful! Funny thing, I had a talk with a girlfriend recently about dancing with boys you don't want to dance with. Both of us initially thought that saying no to somebody who gets up the guts to ask you to dance is rude, but after we thought about it, we decided that was no message to give our daughters and that we would tell all three of them that they don't have to do a darned thing with a boy that they don't want to do, EVER.

    1. I have a friend who give blowjobs to men she doesn't like if they take her out because she thinks it's rude to just say goodbye. That blows my mind (haha, blow) and I keep telling her to knock it off.

      I think it is good to consider other people's feelings. A polite, "No thank you" is hard to find with middle schoolers, and a nervous laugh by a girl with her friends can traumatize a boy trying. There are some folks who have the skills of making people feel special and wonderful even when they aren't getting anything they ask for - maybe I should work on cultivating those skills. Sort of not at all how I am though.

    2. Ok, that's just crazy. Wow. She needs to knock that off yesterday! I'm pretty good with other people's feelings but it sometimes puts me in a bad spot...I've had to work on prioritizing my own feelings more than once in my life.

  3. To put it in a little bit more context, sexual assault was rampant where I grew up and in our schools. Plus, starting in 3rd grade boys started trying to get me to be their girlfriend. I was totally not into that scene - much like Thing One now. The sexual harassment I suffered through for most of middle school was traumatizing. So a boy physically dragging me to do something I didn't want to do and nobody doing anything about it was something I had to shut down and never put myself in that position again.

    Sorry, not trying to hijack your post. Just ... yeah. I'm sure you're having lots of talks with your kids about appropriate behavior and how to stop their peers doing bad things.

  4. Oh, yeah. Starting with the conversation about it not being enough just to be good yourself, you have to stand up for (and to) others as well. From when they were little, all of them. My boys are big and they will use their size to stand up for others if need be or I'll know the reason why.


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