School Dance

When I was a teenager going to high school, October was the month I looked forward to the most. It was the month when the long-awaited school dance took place. In the ninth grade, being part of the student council, I got in free. It didn’t matter really, since I would have easily paid double to get in regardless of the price. For today’s Freedom Friday, let me tell you why I thought the school dance was the greatest event of the entire school year.

Gymnasium
Gymnasium

As I’d mentioned, because I was part of the student council, there were privileges attached to being the ninth grades’s representative. One of the key privileges was getting into the school events for free, particularly school dances. Our school sponsored three dances—fall, winter and spring. Typically, the fall one would take place in October, the winter one in February, and the spring dance sometime between the end of March and the beginning of April.

What made our dances special was the DJ we hired for the events. I still remember his name and for the purposes of respecting his privacy, I won’t mention it. Suffice it to say, he was incredible. Prior to the evening of the dance, which took place on a Friday night, the DJ would need the gymnasium for that whole day. He and his crew would set up these massive speakers in front of the stage that would extend from the floor to the ceiling. Other than a small opening in the center where we could see him perform, he had created an entire wall of sound. If you could imagine a rock concert, that’s the power I’m describing in the small confines of an enclosed area no bigger than a basketball court.

Anyway, when the fall dance finally came, I had to be there to make sure all the restrooms were in working order. You wouldn’t believe what went on in those restrooms. I also had to stamp the hands of those who paid their entrance fee. Once my shift was over, though, I was free to mingle. What that meant was hooking up with friends who hadn’t asked any of the girls to dance.

Like any gymnasium, it had four walls, but the students always believed there were three: First, the wall where the girls would wait for the guys to muster enough courage to ask them to dance. Second, the wall where the guys would watch the girls from across the dance floor, wondering if their self-esteem would suffer from the make-believe rejections running through their mind. Third, the ominous wall of sound where the illustrious DJ would spin the tracks.

Eventually, hanging out with the guys became somewhat boring, although we did have fun talking about what so-and-so was wearing, and of who was dating who.

Before going forward, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m writing this not out of a haughty spirit or to brag, because that’s not my intention. But when it came to girls, I never really had a problem getting dates. I attribute that to a little secret few guys knew.

The secret?

The hottest chicks were home Saturday night because guys were too chicken to ask them out for fear of rejection. Somehow, in my finite teenage mind I knew this, took advantage of the lack of competition and asked the hottest chicks out without fear of rejection. And they would go out with me!

Consequently, the night of the dance, I had no problem leaving the wall of dejected guys to stroll across the dance floor and ask the hottest of the hot to dance. And they would dance with me!

There was more to the fall dance than anyone else knew, though. Our hired police officers had to monitor the restrooms and on occasion tossed couples outside for making out in the stalls. The smell of weed hovered in the halls. Drinking in the parking lot was prevalent. And girls putting out behind the school was normal. There was a lot more that went on; however, those incidents were in the minority. The crowd I frequented was tame, and we had fun just being kids.

I think the best part of the night was the walk home. My friends and I lived in the same neighborhood so it was great talking about the stupid things we saw happen, who got in trouble, and who ended up with a suspension. Of course, girls came into the conversation, but we won’t get into that.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you remember about your school dance?

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8 thoughts on “School Dance

  1. Our school had a disco just before Christmas and we all looked forward to it because we didn’t have to wear our school uniforms on the day. Apart from that they were pretty grim affairs. If you could dance then you were set up for an hour or two. If you couldn’t dance, which included most of us who were into rock, we couldn’t wait for it to finish!

    It always puzzles me how much extra-curricular entertainment goes on in North American schools compared to those in Britain. Maybe it’s different today (I know schools in the UK have leaving proms, and the lengths people go to is staggering.) In my day we went to school, got horribly bored, read a few books, got caned, then left at sixteen with o-levels and babies!

  2. I can honestly say that I never went to a school dance. Yep that’s right, no homecoming, no winter ball, no spring fling, no prom. I wanted to go…..begged my parents because everyone else was going, but they would always find a reason for me not to go. Then the following Monday when every gathered in the quad before class my friends would gab about all happened.

    I will tell you this though, when my daughters hit high school…..they never missed a school dance. I wanted them to have those memories…….as for my son. He has never wanted to go, but I’m hoping he chooses to go to his senior promo this year. Just for the memory.

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