Friday afternoon/early evening I had the pleasure of taking my daughter to a school dance. This was my first time taking her, and it was quite the educational experience for me. See, I have memories of how dances were when I was a kid. The boys were on one side of the basketball court/cafeteria/gym/dance floor, and the girls on the other. The first song played, nobody danced. The second song played…still nobody dancing. By the time the third song played a few couples worked up the courage to dance, and a few songs later a few more did, and before you knew it the dance was halfway done and it was time to ask the girl of your young dreams, or more accurately whomever was still available to dance, to dance with you. You wouldn’t talk much because that was awkward. If you were “going out” with somebody then you got to stay on the floor for the “couples only!” song, a slow dance – I remember “All of My Love” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You” being the choice ballads, and dancing straight-arms on shoulders with my girl Benita Doss. Good times!
For the record, she broke my heart in the fifth grade and started going out with Scott Dolahite, that skinny punk with the Shawn Cassidy hair and dreamy looks. I guess Benita didn’t want a chubby, insecure boyfriend; what a ho! Kidding. Older me understands what younger me was crushed by.
Back to the present. Of course, we were there at the start of Zoe’s dance. If you think I wasn’t you don’t know me at all. From the start, there were boys out there dancing, and dancing well. They were sorta dancing by themselves in groups, and the girls were doing the same thing. Nobody was dancing together, or hanging out along the walls waiting for other people to start dancing before they did. Zoe danced with a few girls and then got shy, she wouldn’t even go out and dance with me – which saved me from being out-danced by the aforementioned boys. After a few songs, her friend McKenna showed up and all shyness was forgotten; Zoe and McKenna were doing what they called dancing for the next hour. Unfortunately, Zoe seems to inherited my rhythm, or lack thereof. She was having fun though, and nobody seemed to much care how anybody else was dancing. I know, how weird! Nobody being teased or pointed at.
After about an hour of dancing with McKenna, Zoe came over and told me she was ready to go home. As if any more proof was needed that she’s my girl, there you have it: she likes to leave early for no particular reason. I convinced her to dance a little bit more and we finally split at about the halfway point of the dance. She’d had enough for sure. We exited into the rain and I thought about how different things are for her. Like most changes, there was good and bad – the dance appeared to be more fun for her than mine were for me, but at my dances I learned important things about interacting with the opposite sex that I would fail at using for many years to come. That’s the kind of experience you just can’t teach.
I guess I’m just getting old. The world is different.