Oops! Poor kid may never be able to get a date now.

I consider myself to be a man of the world. I have seen things.

But, nothing prepared me for what I saw at that dance last night. And, I was NOT the cool parent.

I worked the ticket booth. Let's see if I can give you an image of that one. The ash cloud of a volcano rolling down a mountain at 100 miles an hour, but full of horny testosterone and bad breath and dressed in black. They descended upon us. And, each child, all 300~ of them, had to sign in and have their name checked against a list of kids who were not allowed to attend and a second list of kids who owed up to $50 in library fines. Once two teachers had done that, I had to take their sweaty $5 and put a wrist band on them. It was 45 minutes of non-stop insanity.

And, then when they were all in, there was nothing to do. So, I decided to brave the dance floor. The teachers warned me. They said I wouldn't last 15 minutes. But, they were wrong.

I got in there and talked to Rob for a second and find out what they were supposed to be doing and then I walked up on a group of about 10 girls who were not just dancing suggestively, they were actually humping one another's legs on the dance floor. And, Rob said it had been going on all night. Clearly the kids had the parents outnumbered. There were a couple of them that were working the dance floor, my Robby included, but for the most part, they were milling about the edges.

But I took care of that. I picked up my size 9 tennis shoe and put it right in the middle of that little group and just as soon as they realized they were about to hump on my left calf, that put a stop to that. Never had to say a word. And, basically, I spent the next 20 minutes making a reputation for myself. I broke up smaller groups of those girls over and over and over until I finally just walked up to two of them and said "If I catch you again, I'm taking you out to the principal." and I didn't see them doing that again.

After I had established my reputation as the mean old oger and gotten them into shape, I spent the rest of the evening, just walking around and they learned to set look-outs for me. So, anytime I got within 4 feet of anything I wasn't going to approve of, the look-outs would start breaking it up before it could get started. Hey, I did not care who broke it up as long as it got broke up.

All in all, very little physical interference was required. I stepped into the middle of that group of girls, but most of the time, I would walk up and just stand over a group of kids with my Lt. Warf eyebrow raised and that was all it took to break things up. Once I had to actually just put my body between two girls who weren't as easily deterred. And, when they gathered around a group of break dancers (good break dancers...great skills and fun to watch) near the edge of the floor, I climbed in the middle and broke that up with one sentence and my pointer finger. I love this age, when they can still be intimidated. I woudn't get away with what I did if it had been a high school dance.

And, while I was certainly the most aggressive parent on the floor, I noticed that some of the other parents got bolder after I got started and the last 45 minutes of the dance actually got fun. I started dancing in place to the beat and smiling and complimenting them on their dancing skills. And, I just walked. And watched. And, they behaved.

It was wierd. I really thought the problem would be keeping the boys off the girls. But, it wasn't. It was keeping the girls off the girls. The boys were easy. I just walked up behind them and gave them a tap on the shoulder and they moved on. No questions asked, no attitude, nothin'. But, the girls, they were bad.

When it was over, imagine a flock of ducks, all stupid and running for all they were worth. Most of them were gone within a few minutes, so by 8:30, there were just a few hoodlums left. At 8:30, they herded them back into the school so that when a parent came to get them, they had to go to the school door and talk to the principal to get their kid. One tried to escape the school grounds and I followed him around a corner, but he didn't really want to get away because as soon as I waved him back and let him know that I knew his name, he came trotting back.

It's like he just wanted someone with authority to stop him from doing something his big old teenage mouth had gotten him into. There were a couple others that threatened to run, but my scowl and obvious lack of fear and shouting out for help from the principal got them turned around real quick. And, there was one boy that tried to get away from me and I had to explain to him that I was not his mama and he would indeed do what I was telling him to do. Chest out, shoulders back, the possibility of physical harm and police back up. That's all it took.

All night long, kids were telling Sydney what a control freak her dad was. And, she kept telling Rob. It wasn't until after the dance that we explained it wasn't him. It was me. But, I knew what I was doing, so when she walked up to me, I said you need to move along because I have a bad reputation and you don't want these kids knowing you're mine. And, she moved along, knowing in her heart that she was up for some major crap from the kids later. But, I don't really care.

So, if you are sending your little sweetums to dances and not chaperoning them, get up off of it. You need to see what your little sweetums is up to, or I can pretty much assure you, you're gonna be a grandma...soon! Cuz, there's one little girl out there, and you know who you are, who may still be a virgin today, and if so, in no small part, thanks to me running her and some cute little blond gangsta out from behind a pony wall in the school courtyard.

Needless to say, my daughter will not be attending any future dances unless one of us is a chaperone.

Rob's up now and we talked over coffee. He made the point that parents don't know what is really going on at these dances or they'd put a stop to it. He reminded me of Sydney's description of the dances she went to last year and how different her description was from what we saw last night. I mean, she talked about group dancing, but not an orgy.

And, we reviewed what happened that I didn't know about. Seemed that the dance floor was pretty much out of control and most of the parents were just standing around, hoping their intimidating presence would keep things in check. Rob and one other Dad were milling about the floor. And then I came in and another pretty aggressive lady came in and Rob thought, Ahhh, reinforcements. When the original monitors saw so many of us get aggressive with the bad behavior, they got started too and things calmed down and everybody, including the parents, got to enjoy the rest of the dance.

Rob knew I had had enough when I crawled over a stone bench telling some punk that I was not his mama and he would do what I said and he took me home and put my overpowering brutish self to bed before I could scare any more kids on the streets of Austin.

Now that's off my chest, I can tell you about the other 90% of the kids at the dance.

There were kids whose faces I saw in the first 20 minutes and there were kids I saw in the other 40 minutes and there were kids I didn't see at all. If I saw you in the first 20, you were up to no good. In the second 40, you were doing okay. I saw 90% of them, including my little Sydney, in the second 40 minutes, when I was moving to the beat with them and looking out at their happy, smiling faces. Ain't sayin' my little Syglets was an angel. If she was, I wouldn't have seen her face at all. But, I can say, I was not ashamed of her behavior, and while she is speaking quite angry at me right now, her ruined reputation and all, her actions belay that maybe, just a tiny bit, she's glad that her dad has a reputation as a control freak. It helps explain anything she doesn't want to do.

I can't do that, my Dad won't let me. You know what a control freak he is.

Sorry for the long post, but I hope it kept you entertained and also that it scared you, maybe just a little bit. I hope this is a cautionary tale about what can happen in a school where parents don't get involved. We were never involved. This is our first year. Last night was our first dance. And, most of the adults that had done this before seemed a little overwhelmed. We only volunteered because we met the president of the PTA last weekend and when she sent out the list of jobs and volunteers to do them, the empty spaces made us feel a little guilty. But, I think we're in it now.

Lord, save me from being a volunteer parent.



Sam said...

Hahahahahahahahahaha. Fantastic blog entry. You cracked me up. Oh to be young and go to school disco's again :-) Sam xox

Becky said...

Glad to see you survived the night Lane. You should Google Prom Pictures - OMG!!!! Some look just like Street Walkers! Makes me glad I only had a son - and he was taught to be respectful and caring. He will actually step in if he see's a young lady being mistreated in anyway. Their not all animals as you said but in groups that have to have Guidance or the "GROUP POWER" WILL take over and can turn even the best of kids into gyrating idiots.

Shevvy said...

What a wonderful post. I don't have kids but it reminded me a bit of the trouble I got into at school discos! Whoops!
I don't think it will hurt her at all to have a Dad with a strict reputation, at the end of the day most kids respect authority and knowing clearly where the boundaries are, even if they test them a lot.
I want to know what juice you were on though that transformed the reserved guy we know into the one fronting out all the teens leaving the other parents in his wake.

Michelle said...

Way to go Lane! I totally enjoyed hearing about your evening, although I almost sprayed coffee all over my computer monitor in the process! What a trooper you were. You did what needed to be done, and did what others were afraid to do. Sydney may not be happy today, but she knows you love her, and although some of her friends may not like you alot today either, they will RESPECT you, and RESPECT is what is missing from kids today. No one is afraid anymore, like we were when we were growing up, and that is so sad, and disturbing.

I don't have kids, but I have a lot of respect for those who do. Raising kids is hard. You and Rob have a big job, today and ahead of you, doing the right thing with Sydney. I know you will always do what is right, and she will be a winner!
be blessed,

Becky said...

Go get 'em, buddy!! You're my kind of parent. Much to my boys' chagrin I would have been right out there with you putting a stop to the nonsense.
Unbelievable!! And these are the kids that are going to be taking care of us in our old age!! Lord help us all! I loved the post and your injection of humor....it made a distasteful situation bearable!

Denise in PA said...

Good for you, Lane! All I've got to say is I'm glad my daughter is over 21!

Auntie Em said...

Applause! Applause! Applause! I wish you could have been at all the school dances when my kids were in school! (Not that I would wish that on anyone.)
Take it easy today, you deserve it.

BlueRidge Boomer said...

Good for you and Rob....more parent should be out there watching over their innocent(?) little babies....!!
Makes me soooooo glad mine are 38 and 31....!!


9patchnurse said...

Good job! Keep it up. Sydney is lucky.

Rhoda said...

Just wait until high school - then it will be the guys on the girls. Someone suggested limiting the type of music that seems to encourage that type of dancing. I'm really glad you stuck to your guns. That dance floor needed you.

Tammy said...

Great post Lane, So glad the family survived the dance intact! I proud of you.. the whole time I was reading this post I kept thinking about the quiet shy Lane who was bullied at school for red tennis shoes. You have come a long, long way. I'm sure that deep inside your daughter feels loved and protected by her control freak dad. :D

sewmeow said...

I don't know you, but I LOVED what you wrote, what you did, and your concern enough to do something about it.

CONGRATULATIONS for being a responsible DAD!

Great job.

Stormy Days said...

My daughter's school started having dances for 9 year olds, and yes, I was at every one of them. Same behavior as you described, lots of drama. The school saw nothing since it was a fund raiser. I'd much rather bake for a bake sale and I don't bake.

Piece by Piece said...

Way to go Lane!! More parents should be doing exactly what you did.
Some day, not at this point in time, but some day, Sydney will appreciate everything, Rob and and yourself, (the control freak Dad) are doing for her.

Hazel said...

I need a minute to stop laughing lol .Poor Sydney must have been mortified , not to worry she'll get over it .I'm glad my girls are married but it's so much fun watching them do the same things to their girls .

Auntie Em said...

Lane, just had to come back and post to tell you that I have thought about you many times today. I think you did a wonderful job last night, and I think you ARE the cool parent!

Coloradolady said...

Oh, boy....I clearly missed the mark by any comment I made previously. Oh Boy! I guess I forgot the fact that my daughter went to a small Catholic School and there was maybe 40 tops at any dance they gave.....a far cry from the mob you guys had! I have thought about this all day and chuckled to myself each and every time.

I think you two handled it really well...and you are so right, you did give Sydney the perfect OUT to anything that might come up in the future that she feels uncomfortable with but feels pressured. Mine always knew they could blame me, I'd take the heat to keep them safe. That is a great thing for a young girl to have in her back pocket to pull out if needed.

I will warn you.....if you do too good of a job at this volunteer thing....your phone will ring off the hook for your time.....at least that is how it has gone for us in the past.....but it is WORTH it and like I said, these are really the best of times and they pass much too quickly. When Sydney goes off to College....you will remember that and know I was right!!

I hope you are relaxing at one of your machines this evening....you deserve it and an award!!

JoAnne said...

I used to work at a Youth Center, and we put on Middle School dances. Sigh.... No really, when you put out limits, sooner or later kids start following them, and though they may whine and complain, they respect you. And respect at that age is mighty hard to come by. Shame on the other parents for putting up with that behaviour! You are right, they are going to be grandparents if they don't watch it--but at least they were there! It is the other 90-95% that really need to see what is going on. Sidney may complain about your actions, but I would suspect that deep down, she is secretly glad (she may not know it yet.) When you know you have limits and must answer to them, you think twice about making a stupid decision. Establishing those limits is just not fun--not for the parent or the kid--but it is so worth it in the end. Good luck! I loved your story!

woolywoman said...

This cracks e up. When I was a kid, and I wanted to get out of a situation no questions asked, I would call my mom and say "WHAT? You are so mean! I don'r WANT to get piked up!" and that was her signal to come and get me. It saved me a lot of trouble, having such a mean" mom, and eventually I figured out which kids I wanted to hang out with and which ones put me into a bad situation!