How I Singlehandedly Ruined a Middle School Dance

Kids are jerks.

I say that both as the mother of kids and someone who used to be a kid. I say that as someone who was, just yesterday, told “You should be ashamed of yourself!” by my three-year-old (literally no idea where he’s heard that…) and as someone who, at age eight, very sneakily flipped her mother the bird under a beach towel, when she was forced to leave the neighborhood pool before dark.

Kids are jerks.

To more fully illustrate this point, I would like to relate a story from my days as a Limited Too wearing, scrunchy-clad middle-schooler, who recently had her palate-expander removed.

It was the night of one of our school-wide dances. My girlfriends and I (their names have been changed so that they don’t accidentally read this and remember what a huge jerk I was.) met beforehand to apply glitter to our temples and slick back our ponytails. Jenn, one of my BFFs, was really, really hoping this guy Dave, would ask her to dance. Anna and I assured her that he would while we took turns spritzing each other with mushroom clouds of Gap Dream perfume. I really liked this guy named Evan and was totally hoping he would ask me to dance, but I think I had maybe already asked him out and he had said no.. or I was anticipating him saying no – or something like that. Either way, my sights were set on Evan. Remember that.

At 6:59, we clamored out of my mom’s Mazda MPV and booked it for the gym. Or half of the gym. Cones were strategically set up to keep all the tween bumping and grinding on one side. Gross. I know.

The night went as most middle school dances do. We danced to the better part of the Space Jam soundtrack. We got really sweaty. We bought snacks and ate them leaning next to the bathroom – standard stuff. But as the evening began to come to a close, Anna and I started giving Jenn a hard time about Dave. If he wasn’t going to ask her to dance, then she should ask him! Like any self-respecting 7th grader, she refused, saying if he wanted to dance with her, then he would ask.

I called bullshit.

Like an ox with braces, I bumbled over the Dave to demand he dance with my friend. How dare he ignore her when she was over there looking so cute in her brand new Warner Brothers long-sleeved tee? I saw him looking at me as I made my approach. Just then “I’ll Make Love to You” or some other equally inappropriate slow jam started blaring over the speakers.

“Wanna dance?” he asked me.

“Um, sure.” I answered. But only for a minute – and just to ask him about Jenn. I was being such a good friend.

The song droned inappropriately on and I did bring up Jenn. Dave very politely said he would ask her to dance, but that he just liked her as a friend. I said “Okay.” And then he asked me out. And I said “Okay.”

I said “Okay.”

After the song ended I wandered back to Anna and Jenn to report what had happened. Which I did with a smile. “He asked me out!” I exclaimed.

“WHAT?” was their perfectly appropriate reply. “How could you do that? You know Jenn likes him!”

“Yeah, but he obviously likes me and not Jenn, so how is that my fault?” was my completely jerk-y, no good, very bad response.

The rest of the night didn’t go so well. I was completely oblivious to my back-stabbiness and could not understand why my two best friends weren’t speaking to me. They were supposed to come back to my house for a sleepover and their bad attitudes were really going to put a damper on my late-night pizza-eating. In the end, they didn’t come back to my house – I went home alone and sulked about how I was being so wrongly persecuted.

Dave and I went out for a week, at the end of which he had Evan (remember him?) call me and break up with me. Karma, amIright? By the grace of God, Anna and Jenn didn’t drop me like a bad S Club 7 CD and we were back to BFF status within days.

So the moral of the story is this: kids are jerks. But at least they’re jerks who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing.

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