October 22, 2013

The Downside Of Dancing …


Homecoming, circa 1989.

This is picture was taken on the night I went to my first high school Homecoming dance. Corsage strapped on. Check. Bangs sprayed up to unfathomable heights. Check. Dyed to match shoes. Check. Best friend in her Gunne Sax dress next to me. Check.

We had dinner, went to the dance, got our pictures taken in front of a cheesy back drop and then danced the night away to music by Depeche Mode, Madonna, The Cure, Bobby Brown and Richard Marx. It was seriously good times. Good enough times that I remember much of the night twenty four years later.

I wish I could write the rest of this post without feeling sad.

But it’s not possible.

My son’s Homecoming dance experience was not at all what my experience was in high school. If you asked him, he’d probably use three words to describe the dance: loud, gross, and disappointing.

The DJ hired for the dance played mostly one type of music. It’s called Dubstep. Ever heard of it? Basically its electronic club music that features a very prominent sub bass beat. Think repetitive low drum beat. Very few popular songs were played. Zero slow songs were played. ZERO. The music was played was so loud Big C spent the entire night yelling to be heard by his friends.

There is a new trend in high school dancing. Did you know? If not, I should warn you, I’m about to get explicit. Big C said there were three types of dancing going on at Homecoming: twerking (thank you Miley), grinding, and jumping. If you weren’t doing the first two – which most of the kids were – you were jumping up and down all night. That’s what Big C did. Consequently he got in the car exhausted from jumping for two straight hours.

The rest of the kids at the dance spent their night rubbing their bodies all over each other and simulating sex acts on the dance floor. The closer you got to the middle of the room, the worse the dancing was. Girls in already too short dresses were hiking them up to be able to “dance” better.

I could detail more of it, but it would only make you cringe and wonder what on earth is going on in our school. I wish I could say this is limited to my child’s school. But I know it is not. That’s not to say there aren’t schools where this isn’t happening. I’m sure there are.

Big C was so disappointed. We knew going in that it could be bad. He confirmed it was worse than we all thought. He was mostly sad because he knew people going into the dance that he was sure would “never dance like that”. He was wrong. I could see the disappointment on his face as we talked about the night. He couldn’t merge the idea of all these kids getting dressed up and looking so nice with their choice to behave in a manner so contrary to the occasion.

His time with his friends before the dance was great. Dinner, photos, laughing, talking - he’d do that again in a heartbeat. But he strongly proclaimed upon getting into the car that he wouldn’t be going back to the Homecoming dance ever again.

We are not naïve parents. We know times have changed from twenty years ago. But that doesn’t mean we don’t long for our kids to have the experiences we did in high school.  I love this kid. He’s a winner in my book.


We’re already making plans for next year when two of our kids will be in high school. We’re scheming with ideas for a grand ComingHome party for kids who don’t want to attend the Homecoming dance.

What do you think? Do you have high schoolers? Have you asked them what goes on at the dances?

PS. I know you’re wondering where the teachers, administrators & chaperones were. They were there. They didn’t stop it. Long story short, over the years as complaints have rolled in they’ve justified the behavior with a “we’d rather have them dancing like that here than somewhere else” mentality. Major COP OUT.


TracyS. said...

Sigh. I am sorry it was as bad as all that. I had hopes his night would be better.

Susan B. said...

Having chaperoned these dances in the past and witnessing what kids call "dancing" I am a big advocate for having alternate activites for the kids.
I was one of the couple of chaperones that asked the kids to stop dancing that way and their reponses were so rude and disrespectful. Luckily the administration at Tuscarora had our backs and would step in to help out. The principal also stepped in and had the DJ play more top 40 songs and turned on the lighs around the permimeter of the gym.
I must say that I am so glad to not have to deal with these dances anymore!

The Queen Vee said...

At least it started and great.

I think a Coming Home event is a terrific idea, go for it and....."Make a Difference!"

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

I think you all rock. I also think that your idea is brilliant!!

Also, you need to post your blogs to FB so I can see them! Without Google Reader I've become a hopelessly bad reader.

AllisonK said...

I wish I could say it is different here, but it's not and it seems like fewer and fewer kids are attending (of course I'm just the mom so what do I know). My girls have walked away feeling the same way. Chris is an exceptional young man and you are great parents. Sending my love.

christa said...

Thank you for posting this. I have a son the same age but but his school does not host homecoming. Instead they host monthly dances. I am not sure if that is better or worse. He has not wanted to attend these dances yet. His freshmen year the first dance, cops had to come because so many of the kids showed up drunk! So the rest got cancelled. This year they have begun again. I do wonder if it is the same way here. It is such a shame that the kids that wanted to have a nice, fun night have to be assaulted by our warped society. So sorry for him and his friends, but I do love your idea for next year.

ps--thanks so much for recommending the BBC Sherlock series. We all love it at our house. We have been converting people and my sons friends over to it. (Showed him all expect one episode that we thought was not age appropriate for him) It was wonderful and hope that they continue to make more episodes.

Ronalin said...

I am sad that school dances have to be so bad, I love the idea of a Coming Home dance at the house, I know that it would be amazing. Chris, good job in making good choices, your siblings will want to be just like you!

jd said...

oh wow. Poor Chris. Have you heard my own rant about this before??

my school (high school where I teach) used to have a "no freaking" rule, which was moderately enforced. Then it wasn't. I'd go to chaperone, and refuse to be put on dance-floor duty, because I was the only one trying to enforce it, and that- being impossible- made it so that I ended up on the sidelines, staring at the ceiling because it was too disgusting to look at the kids dancing.

Following that experience, I expressed my disgust to other teachers and found-- to my disgust-- that they didn't care. I talked to the principal, and he said, "Well, that's how they dance at the clubs in Hollywood." (SERIOUSLY?? I'm pretty sure people are using crack cocaine at the clubs too; that's your defense??) He also said that it would be too much of a pain to have parents come and pick up the kids from the dance, so they really couldn't enforce anything. Again-- really?? I had heard from more than a couple of kids that others were literally doing sexual acts on the dance floor... including in the center of the dance floor (yes-- the center is a dangerous place)and you're telling me the parents wouldn't want to protect their kids from this? And not all kids want to dance like this; they feel the pressure to.

So, I shared many ideas that could help, like, MAKING THE KIDS AWARE AHEAD OF TIME that there were dance standards that were GOING to be enforced; having a 'jumbotron' camera so that what the kids were doing was broadcasted; making sure the DJ wasn't playing overtly sexual/explicit songs (which he was! Hello...); and overall just giving them higher expectations, etc. etc. Well I met with a lot of resistance on this from the staff/admin. And then at the dances, when I'd try to shove through the crowd and enforce the "rule", it was just too big of a job and was too horrifying.

Fortunately, though.. a couple of years later, I think my endless snarky comments paid off because they started raising expectations. I haven't been to prom in a year or so, but it was better the last time.

Here in SoCal, they have a lot of LDS proms, aka "Mormals" :), which- ten years ago, I admit I thought sounded lame-- but now... I see NO reason to go to Prom. The kids have a GREAT time at these LDS proms, their friends from school come too, they are extremely well organized and fun and are a safe place to be! Love them. I wish I could chaperone one :).

You are stinking adorable in your Homecoming dress. Dyed-to-match shoes... ah the memories :)

Apis Melliflora said...

Coming Home is the best! I will come and help chaperone if needed.

I'm sad with you. Sad.

And I admire Chris' decision so much.

brendag said...

Having a son who just graduated and a daughter who is a senior this year, I know exactly how you are feeling. Our two oldest have chose to do alternative activities on homecoming night. The last two years our daughter and a bunch of friends all dressed up, took pictures, went out to dinner, then went laser tagging (they changed clothes). They all had a great time. And in May Mormon Prom is amazing!

Lee said...

Oh Sam....yes, it is going on elsewhere and we chose not to go this year; Jack's freshman year. We had heard about the very same things happening here and there is a movement of kids opting out and going to other events. My niece and her friends got dressed, did the picture thing and then went to a bounce zone. The had a great time. I love the idea of a Coming Home. I know more kids would love to have an alternative while still being able to participate in a school activity that exemplifies their school spirit. Go for it. And thank you for setting an example. You inspire me. xo

Anonymous said...

HI, i am 15 and just recently attended my first homecoming dance, and let me tell you are right on with the description, i left early after being grinded on my multiple guys. and its not like they ask politely, its just everyone grinding on everyone and you better hope you are in a big enough space to get out of it. I will not be going to another school dance.

Randon and Bethanie said...

Put me on the committee! I'll help you organize, chaperone, whatever you need. I think this is absolutely needed for our area!

Lots of love to you!

Aiketa said...

I'm so sad to read about Big C's experience at the dance... And what a great idea to organize an alternative option for those that prefer not to go to the school dance.

Here, in Catalonia or Spain, school dances are not something as common as in the US. We did a few though and I have really fond memories of those dances. It's so bad that times has changed too much in things that shouldn't have changed.

P.S: I love the photo of your Homecoming dance. It makes me smile seeing you that serious as if you were mad about something. Also, I was only 2 years old when that photo was taken. haha

Anonymous said...

I am so genuinely sorry your son had such a bad time. :-(

On the bright side it sounds like he has friends who share his values. That is great. I would encourage him to not let everyone else's behavior get him down. I went to my prom in 2002, public school, and was happily oblivious to that type of dancing, although I'm sure it was happening. Then my friends and I had a great prom weekend playing board games and going to a theme park while others were uh, doing more adult things. It is possible to have a good time and stick to your guns.

Sue said...

Ug. One of the reasons Dan and I have given up a lot to live in Cokeville is the hope that our kids will be protected from such nastiness. In this tiny town the student body is so small that there is nowhere to hide nastiness. I hope that continues to be the case when my kids are in high school. I'm sorry that you are fighting that battle and Chris is experiencing first hand the evil in the world. However, it is clear that you have taught him a healthy respect for himself and for women. Rock me on the stellar parenting!

I thought you might get a kick out of this amusing video about twerking (no gross images included.)