Dirty Dancing, Elementary School Style

7 02 2009

I can’t remember the last time I went to a dance. Much less, a school dance. Much, much less a school dance at which I was stone-cold sober. But hey, I’m open to new experiences. So, resisting the siren song of a bottle of blueberry wine, I slapped on some lipstick and some sparkly earrings and went to a dance last night. A school dance. An elementary school dance. An elementary school Family Dance. With the whole Blister family.
We arrived fashionably late and fashionably dressed. And by fashionably dressed, I mean clothes that didn’t have big holes, paint, grease, smushed peas, marker stains or cat barf on them. And by fashionably late, I mean half an hour late, because that is how long it took to find five complete outfits that did not have big holes, paint, grease, smushed peas, marker stains or cat barf on them. In my infinite coolness, I even hauled out the coloured hairspray left over from Halloween and gave Roo some pink-tinged piggy tails, and Neener some pink streaked bangs. I did not, however, give them real platinum blond streaks in their hair. Or gobs of turquoise eye shadow. Or airbrushed-on belly tattoos. Which apparently makes me infinitely less cool than the parents of some of the other little girls in Neener and Roo’s class.

Now, here’s how I really know I’m getting old: upon entering the gym, it took me two whole seconds to decide that the music was way too loud. Ridiculously loud. Like I said, I can’t remember the last time I went to a dance, and maybe my kids’ auditory sensitivities are rubbing off on me, but since this was supposed to be a family dance, I figured the music would be at least a little shy of deafening. No-sir-ee-bob. Despite the fact that the crowd ranged from grey-haired grannies to bald-headed babies, the music volume seemed more geared toward glassy-eyed club goers whose senses have been sufficiently dulled by jello-shooters and doobies. Still, I decided to be a good sport. So, while Mr. stayed a safe distance away from the speakers with Squiggles securely  strapped to his chest, Neener and Roo and I ventured on to the dance floor to get our groove on.february09-009

I desperately hoped that “DJ Jeff” would skip the Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers kid music crap, and give us brave parental souls a chance to kick it old school. Maybe a little U Can’t Touch This.  Or some Maestro Fresh Wes, since I’m pretty sure I can still let my backbone slide without herniating a disc. Or, in my wildest fantasies, a little somethin’ somethin’ that would allow us tragically hip Gen X ‘rents to show those young whipper snappers what a mosh pit was all about. A safe, controlled, adult supervised mosh pit, of course. I could even get into The Chicken Dance, if nothing else. And indeed, DJ Jeff did skip the Hannah Montanna, the Jonas Brothers, and all that kid music crap. Instead, he went right to the obnoxious, hiphoppish dance music with highly sexualized and utterly inappropriate-for-my-five-year-old-daughters’-ears lyrics. From the booming speakers in the school gym, the Pussy Cat Dolls breathlessly sneered, “Dontcha wish you’re girlfriend was hot like me? Dontcha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me? Doncha wish your girlfriend was wrong like me? Dontcha?”  Then Akon – and a cluster of Grade three and four girls – crooned “I Wanna Make Love Right Now.” And then, the non-Madagascar version of “I Like to Move It” implored “All the girls to move ya body. And when ya move it, move it nice and sweet and sexy!” Yes, let the gyrating begin! Who doesn’t love to see elementary school girls moving their bodies nice and sweet and sexy! How else can they prove that they are hot wrong freaks who want to make love right now! Suddenly, I found myself praying for a little bit of the Jonas Brothers’ Disney-manufactured-purity-ring-wearin’-homeschooled-Jesus-worshippin’-family-friendly goodness.

Then, before I could get myself too twisted up about the evening’s soundtrack, some sadistic bonehead masquerading as a responsible adult organizer of this “Family Dance” started the one thing more dangerous to a crowd of little kids than a mosh pit: a stampede. Yes, someone thought it would be fun to toss a few giant beach balls out into the crowd and on to the dance floor. Which resulted in a swarm of twenty or thirty kids running and charging and quickly shifting directions as they chased the beach balls that bounced and bobbed above their heads. By the grace of my lightening quick kid-picking-up reflexes, Roo was saved from being trampled when a wave of people knocked her down. And by the grace of the dirty looks several parents who’d been hit in the face with beach balls shot at whoever’s stupid idea it was, the fiasco came to an abrupt halt before anyone got hurt. But by then, we’d had enough. Neener, Roo and Squiggles had had just enough fun, and were now teetering on the verge of over-tired meltdowns. And Mr. and I wanted to get out of there before they started passing out jello-shooters and playing that sick pedophiliacal Nickelback song about the innocent-looking, pink-thong wearing, thumb-sucking girl teasing all the sugar daddies on the dance floor. The last thing we needed was to hear that hairy old creep singing the line “You look so much cuter with something in your mouth.”

Now, the last time I checked, I was not a prude. Although admittedly, I have not done a thorough check on my prude status since late 2004. Still, we let our kids listen to some pretty grown up music. They love Garbage and Weezer and Radiohead and R.E.M. And they know all the words – even the ‘curse words’ – to the Joan Jett song Bad Reputation, and they sing it with glee. And they totally dig Motorhead and Ozzy Osborne. But I don’t let my five year old daughters listen to songs about having sex. And I don’t let them wear makeup. And I don’t encourage them to have little “boyfriends”, or to make being pretty or sexy or cute their biggest goals in life. But pop culture sure does. So, the whole family dance experience made me feel like a big gigantic prude. Again. Especially because the only parents there who looked even remotely shocked were Mr. and I. Everyone else just seemed to smile – perhaps slightly uncomfortably – and accept that that’s just the way it is for kids today. It might be the way it is, but I can not bring myself to believe that it is ok. Or that I shouldn’t somehow try to fight against it for the sake of my daughters.

So I’m not sure what to do. Do we boycott the school’s family dances from now on, even though the kids had a pretty good time? Do I join the school association that is responsible for planning the dances, and risk coming off like a puritanical neo-con prude when I suggest that some elements of the last one were rather inappropriate? Or do I just show up at the next Family Dance and politely point out to DJ Jeff that the music is too damn loud and too damn dirty for a bunch of little kids and their parents? Ask him if he’s got any MC Hammer? Or how ’bout some Joan Jett? Or Weezer? Or Ozzy? Yeah, DJ Jeff, play some good ol’ wholesome Ozzy Osbourne. I can show the kids how to rock out to Crazy Train. But I might need a glass of blueberry wine or two first.

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5 responses

7 02 2009
mammasaidtome

I said it before and I’ll say it again! why are we in such ahurry for little kids to grow up? You’re old for a loooonnng time!

7 02 2009
K

Ick! Why on earth is an elementary school having dances anyway? Even “family” ones? Dances are for puberty-stricken teens to get close to one another… and maybe have a swig or two of the booze they stole from their parent’s stash. If they want to have a family-friendly event, a dance is one of the last things they should hold. Eww!
I suppose it’s cheaper than renting pool/rink time, or maybe some of those inflatable jumping things. And it takes less time to plan than an obstacle course or scavanger hunt. Besides, people could actually hear one another at an event like that and who wants that at a family event.
(Sorry about the rant, but a dance at an elementary school? Really?)

8 02 2009
Winston

You volunteer to be the DJ next time

8 02 2009
domesticblister

Ahhhhhhh, yeah good idea Winston!

10 02 2009
trish

Good thing my little aspie girl avoids dances, even sr. public school ones like the plague, can’t read body language in the light, why even try in the dark….
bravo ol’ mama prude, rock on…

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