When did dances get this complicated?

Posted on March 4, 2013


Law school prom

It’s great to be back!

If you’ve just joined us (thank you, by the way), the Editor in Chief, Executive Editor, Head Writer, Creative Director, Best Boy and the entire Pencil Sharpening Team here at IBMP took a break from the Interwebs for a few weeks.

Upon returning, I was pleased to see the universe remains largely as I left it: people on Twitter still like bacon and coffee, someone on Facebook got her hair done and was OMG sooo freaked out!, there was a picture of someone’s lunch on Pinterest and a mommy blogger gave away something she was SO EXCITED to be giving away.

In other not-so-breaking news: my son still has selective hearing, my wife is still better at everything than I, and my dog still secretly laughs at me when my back is turned. All is right with the world.

I also learned, on the night I returned, that 6th-grade dances have evolved since I was that age. First of all, they say there are no drugs allowed at the dance but then they sell the kids every type of candy and sugar drink imaginable. When my son asks for $20 for food at the dance, my first—and clearly naive—assumption is that he’s going to spend it on, well, food. And I’m sure he would if they actually sold food at the dance. Twenty dollars buys a lot of Twix and Coke.

The second major evolution has to do with the market for dance partners. Dancing used to require only 2 people who were aptly named the “dancers.” One would ask and if the other agreed to the terms, they would then advance to the dance floor. There were no support personnel. Apparently, today’s savvy dancers know that if you want to dance with the best, you’ll need someone experienced and well-connected on your team, someone who knows how to get you in front of the right potential dance partners.

Here’s the conversation with my son during which it all (eventually) became clear:

Hey dad, at the dance last week, guess what.

Um, what, you actually spent less than 50 bucks on candy?

No.     Well, yes.     I guess.    But no that’s not it.

You actually asked someone to dance?


So you didn’t?

No, I did. Two people, actually.

Whoa, cool. People you know?

No. One had a boyfriend but the other said OK.

Awesome. What was her name?

How would I know? I told you I didn’t know her.

I don’t know, I guess I thought you might, oh, maybe ask her name.

Anyway, that’s not it either. I hug danced!

Wow! You asked a girl to hug dance!

No, I didn’t ask. No. Geez, dad. No!

Oh, right, of course. So who asked you?

Some guy I’ve never met before.

Wow, someone you’ve never met asked you to wait, some GUY? Dude, I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that, I don’t know. Really? I don’t think any of the books we got you cover that, um, stuff. What did you say?

Well I didn’t hear him say “hug”. I thought he just said “dance” so I said “yes”.

Did it seem strange to you that a boy was asking you to dance?

Naw, it happens all the time.

Just to you, or to other people too?

Everybody does that.

So boys dance with boys all the time at these dances? I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Ew! Geez dad, no! Ew.

So a boy asked you to dance and you said yes but you didn’t dance with him?

Why would I dance with HIM?

Um, because he asked and you said yes…? I just know when I was your age a request to dance followed by an agreement to dance usually resulted in actually, you know, dancing.

Well I DID dance but with the girl.

The girl?

Yeah, the girl he asked me to dance with. Duh.

Ah, so the boy was asking on her behalf, like some kind of a dance broker or something.

Yeah.  I thought you said you used to go to dances when you were a kid.

Sure, but I don’t remember girls having formal representation. That girl’s got an agent. So do you have her people talk to your people? Maybe do lunch or something and work out some kind of win-win arrangement? A deal for two hug dances with the option to extend the contract?


Never mind. How was the hug dance?

OK I guess.

Wanna tell me about it?

Not really.

Works for me. How about lunch?