Monday, June 17, 2013


Chaperoning the dance raised myriad memories. I wasn’t permitted to attend junior high school soirees. My frosh year in high school I nearly missed the first dance, Homecoming, because of an injury. A few days before the football game I was walking home and a gust of wind blew a dandelion pom into my eye. The pom still had its seed attached, which scraped my retina. It didn’t hurt a lot so my dad would not authorize a visit to the doctor. Overnight, my eye swelled up and became infected. Thankfully, the doctor was able to pry it open and prescribe an antibiotic topical treatment and it healed. I was lucky not to have permanent damage but I missed two days of school.

The other kids thought that I was silly since I wore sunglasses to the Homecoming game because the lights were too bright. One of my friends was convinced that my fashion inspired Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” song since he was visiting the area at that time. If so, he owes me some residuals! The dance was not impressive. The music was loud and I am not a fan of rock-n-roll. I was too shy to talk to the older kids. My friends and I huddled in a little clump and gossiped.

I attended other high school dances but never with a date. I wasn’t interested in most boys from my school. I had crushes on the ones who would never ask me out. One boy ardently perused me but I knew that he had hit his previous girlfriend and I told him no repeatedly. My brother-in-law finally stepped in and scared the boy off. I don’t know what he said but it was enough to keep the creep away. During dances I hung out with my friends and we were content. 4-H Junior Leader dances were much more enjoyable. We would hire a polka band and I would quickstep with kids from around the county. The teens from my school that would attend were already my friends so I felt comfortable to have fun.

During my Junior year, my classmates were in charge of decorations for the Prom. The theme was about time. I was in charge of painting a large clock. I was almost done when I had to depart to distribute the latest edition of the school newspaper. When I returned I was aghast to find that another student had painted monstrous lips and tongue on the clock to mimic a Rolling Stone’s album cover. It was impossible to fix and I didn’t have time to render a new clock. I became enraged. I tore it to shreds and yelled at the teacher who let the other student paint on my clock. I refused to attend prom with my friends because I was afraid that I’d punch out the asshole that had destroyed my hours of labor. I did take photos of the event for the yearbook but didn’t waste film on the idiot or his friends.

I attended my Senior Prom with a friend from another city. Scott and I had known each other during grade school, he moved, and we reconnected via 4-H. No chemistry so we were purely platonic. I had to reassure his girlfriend that there would never be any hanky-panky. It was a nice evening and I wore an old bridesmaid gown of my sister’s. I returned the following year to go with Tony. He and I were only friends and it was amusing to be viewed as “old.” A few years later he told me that he was gay, which really wasn’t a shock.

Dancing is pleasurable. During college I went out at least twice per week but rarely on the weekends. I became a regular at First Avenue and accustomed to have Prince stare down from the VIP section. I didn’t like the smoke and seldom drank alcohol. It’s hard to move when you are inebriated. I’m much more comfie with free form movement. I’m not good at anything that involves memorization and I despise being “led” around the floor. During the launch of “When Doves Cry” Prince came to the floor and actually said hello to me. I was shocked; he never came to the dance arena. He was going to say something else but the crowd recognized him and his huge bodyguards led him away. I will always wonder what he was going to utter.

It has been a long while since I danced the night away. I have to conserve energy to make it through the workweek and am usually exhausted on Fridays. I’m content to have dinner with friends and chat. At least the bars don’t permit smoking anymore. The loud music does tend to jar my body so I have earplugs with me. Sadly, I have turned into a fuddy-duddy after all.

Dance All Night
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