Let's Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats (mp3)
Scene Two: The Lobby
Two hours into the dance
Outside in the lobby where half of the adults are gathered, a young English teacher and I joke about the dancing. I tell him I envision a packed emergency room where dozens of boys have entered to deal with “third-degree friction burns to their crotchal reagions.” He mocks my use of the invented word “crotchal” and says they probably use number codes for it. We’ve got another 352 out there! Those kids... they just won’t stop grinding... they won’t stop until someone dies from crotchal burns!
A teacher from the other school, a woman my age who graduated my same year, walks over to us looking flabbergasted. “We just walked through the middle of the dance crowd. It’s. Awful. Awe. Full. There was a boy with his hand all over his date’s breast and another girl with her dress hiked up so high I could see her panties.”
We all look at each other and sigh and shrug and all but communicate an acceptance of how powerless and clueless we are to the teenage world. Mostly I’m thinking I’m glad I didn’t have to see the girl’s panties, because then I’m forced to either ignore it or be the pervert who noticed it. Lose lose situation.
I’m lost in my reverie when she calls my name. “You need to tell your headmaster to talk to your students about this.” I raise an eyebrow. Was she serious?
“Seriously, there’s no excuse for them behaving like that out there. He should talk to them.”
I try to picture that. Our headmaster, on the verge of 60 with shock-white hair and his calming voice, trying to tell a collective group of 600 adolescent boys how they should dance. He could close with the Scary Anecdote, a version of one of those anti-smoking or anti-meth commercials that hope to discourage through fear.
“Boys, let me tell you a story. Two years ago, after a dance just like this one, I was in the ER all night, sitting at the bedside of a boy. We’ll call him Timmy. Timmy was dying. He was dying because he spent the entire night in cotton underwear and dress pants, grinding his privates into the backside of his date.
Unbeknownst to Timmy as he enjoyed the feel of his manhood nestled between his date’s welcoming cheeks, the constant and never-ceasing friction was removing one layer of skin cells after another. You might not know this, but the penis has far fewer skin layers than the rest of the body. That’s why it’s so sensitive. And poor Timmy, so excited to be dry-humping a girl to the sounds of Usher, chose to ignore those slight hints of pain his body kept sending to his brain.
Five hours later, I’m by his side in the ER, and he’s on fluids and on the verge of death, and what for? For 90 minutes of poorly-simulated sex friction. Yes, Timmy lived, but barely. And he’s been afraid to dance ever since. Don’t be like Timmy. Take care of yourselves. Look your date in the eye once in a while. Dance with her straddling one of your legs to the sounds of ‘Low’ by Flo Rida, letting both of your bodies sink towards the floor while she grinds her personal parts into your right thigh.
Or, better yet, dance in large circles of six or seven of your peers to songs by REM or the Violent Femmes. The ladies totally dig that.”
And I can see this teacher, a woman who has clearly forgotten her own behavior patterns some 20 years earlier, hearing this speech and smiling and nodding and saying to everyone, “Finally. Someone’s teaching these stupid kids a lesson.”