Junior High School is full of plenty of awkward moments, but one event takes the cake: The school dance.
It’s a blend of everything awkward: Prepubescent boys, early maturing girls, emotional turmoil, self-consciousness, and peer pressure. There’s storm, there’s stress—it’s even better than a soap opera. Today, I found out that I will be chaperoning this event at Southeast Polk Jr. High next Friday. I am so excited.
The dance may be extremely awkward, but this awkwardness is an essential rite of passage. I will never, ever forget my 8th grade dance. Allow me to share:
I liked this boy (let’s call him ‘Herb’). Near the end of the day, he asked me to dance. I’m excited: It’s a slow dance. We take a spot next to numerous other slightly sweaty, nearly silent pairs. I put my hands on his shoulders and he puts his…
On my shoulders. We are swaying to the music.
Do I smoothly move his arms to my hips? Of course not. That would be sensible (I am in Junior High, after all). It gets worse. During the song, our peers notice our awkward dance and stop theirs. Our classmates circle up, and we become their very own middle school movie. And, let me tell you, from their laughter, it was a hilarious comedy. Does Herb notice, and finally move his hands? Not a chance.
Luckily, they knew that “Herb” was the one who made the mistake—but when you’re part of a pair, embarrassment can’t be solitary. I can’t remember the song, but it felt like it lasted as long as 10 “Stairway to Heavens.”
Moral of the story: Junior High dances are awkward. But those who have experienced moments as awkward as mine can at least be rewarded by experiencing it vicariously 9 years later. Let’s hope that Beyonce has given the boys some tips for landing “Single Ladies”—sans swaying.