My parents drive me to school. I ask them to drop me off a block away from Columbia but they don't. They drop me off right in front of the school where everyone can see me. I wouldn't mind so much if they drove me in the custom made land-rocket that Dad and Mom use on patrol. The "Deca-car?", "DartKart?"...oh well, I haven't come up with a good name for the car yet but it is 12 cylinders of of customized Maybach Exelero awesomeness.
Unfortunately, we only use that car for super-heroing. The car isn't even kept at our house. It's at a secret warehouse downtown where my parents also keep a lot of their other crime fighting equipment. We use the teleporter (that all Guild members have) to move secretly and instantly from our house in the suburbs to the "Dart-Lair?" "Deca-Cave?" (still no good name) in order to get to the car and go on patrol. My parents thought that it would be hard to explain why an eight million dollar vehicle kept driving in and out of their garage so with the help of Alpha and Gadget they installed Guild teleporters in our house and the warehouse. There was no super-cool ride dropping me off in front of the school to leave an indelible image in the brains of all the girls that saw me in it. Instead my parents dropped me off in the mini-van. Which is to say the least not nearly as cool.
At least they let me walk from the parking lot to the gym alone. At the entrance I handed Ms. Smith, an eighth grade English teacher, my student body card. She slid it through a card reader and I was admitted into the dance. Once inside as my eyes adjusted to the dark and the flashing strobe lights I saw all of the guys standing to one side of the gym and all of the girls standing on the other. So I walked over to the "guy side" where I met up with my buddies Kenji and Juan. I was more surprised to see them at the dance then I was at myself for being at the dance. The DJ then began to talk. He asked everyone if they were "ready to party". There was an enthusiastic response from the eighth-graders in the gym. We seventh graders were all still a little shell-shocked at the prospect of our first true social interaction with girls that emphasized gender. I didn't know if I was more afraid of fast dancing or slow dancing. Fair to say that they both had perils that could be ripe for future mocking.
There could be a series of spastic Elaine Benes like moves on the dance floor.
or there could be an embarrassing moment when a girl I'm dancing with realizes that I do not have a roll of life savers in my pocket.
Slowly the dance began to get underway. For the most part it was the girls who initiated the long awkward walk across the dance floor to ask one of the guys to dance. Behind her you could see a group of her friends giggling. Asking someone to dance is awkward for both boys and girls but at least for the girls the likelihood of a guy saying "no" is slim to none. So that is how the night proceeded. For the first several songs I stood along the side of the wall with Kenji and Juan. Then Michelle Jackson asked me to dance. Which was OK. I've known her for years so it wasn't that awkward. She came up to my group with two of her friends Mandy and Cindy who also asked Kenji and Juan to dance. We went out on the dance floor and danced in more of a group than in individual pairs. We had instinctively created a circle to protect us from the mocking eyes of others. The song ended and Kenji high-tailed it back to the wall as fast as he could leaving an unbalanced number in our circle but Juan and I braved it out for a few more songs.
Later, to my surprise, Stacey Williams, a real-life eighth grader, asked me to dance. Now things were starting to get interesting. This time there was no security blanket of friends. Juan and Kenji were left at the wall and I went to dance with Stacey all on my own. It was fun. Then the music changed to a slow dance and as I began to walk back to my spot at the wall she asked me to dance again. So I stayed. I had my first slow dance with a girl. An older girl too. She said I smelled nice. Thank you, Usher. I kept my hands on her waste but when I looked around I saw several guys with their hands much lower. I even saw some squeezing. As we turned in a circle slowly swaying to the rhythm of the music I caught a glimpse of Jenny Howard dancing with Eli Webb...and he had his hands on her butt.
Are they dating? When did this happen? How come I didn't know? All these and other thoughts stream through my head. The song ends. I thank Stacey for the dance and go back to the wall. Even though I continue through the night to keeps a visual tab on Jenny and Eli I manage to have fun. I dance with a few more girls. There was even a second slow dance with Stacey. Does this me that she likes me?
By the end of the night I was feeling comfortable enough to start busting out some real dance moves.
That may have been a mistake on my part. I will find out on Monday.