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.