I’m not one hundred percent sure what has changed, but things are definitely different now, and somehow, I blame cell phones.
When I was in junior high we all couldn’t wait to go to the school dances. Nowadays, inexplicably, we have to tell our boys that they are going. “But it’ll be lame. I don’t wanna go!”
Shut up and get in the car.
Kids just don’t seem to want to hang out at school together after hours as much as we did. I think they are simply too connected now. It’s too easy for them to communicate via texting and Facetime, so they don’t see the value in going to the dance.
Do you know what you can’t do with a text? Slow dance with a girl, that’s what! (I don’t even want to think about or discuss what kids can and can’t do with Facetime, so let’s all just not go there.)
Our boys don’t even have phones, so you would think they would crave the socialization, and yet Son Number One’s biggest highlight at the last dance was buying a Snickers bar and two sodas at the snack table. We didn’t have a snack table when I was his age. We danced with girls! At least we talked a lot about dancing with the girls, and sometimes we actually did.
One problem with the current state of affairs at the middle school/junior high dances might be the music. It’s entirely possible that the songs just aren’t as awesome now, and by “entirely possible,” I mean “definitely true.”
Music today just isn’t as good as it was in the mid-eighties, and many of the songs are so digitally enhanced and auto-tuned that even if the dance was cool enough to have a live band, they wouldn’t be able to perform them anyway.
Many of our dances had live music. Rock bands made up of local high school kids that we actually knew or knew of, who could actually play instruments really well, would come to our junior high dances and cover all the cool Top 40 songs by Bryan Adams, Duran Duran, Night Ranger, etc.
If we had actual video tape of the events, which would have been recorded on actual video tape in a camera the size of a Ford Fiesta, I think we would discover that the bands actually sounded pretty bad. But I remember the events as being on par with a real rock concert, only with parent chaperones and no forty-five-dollar T-shirts for sale.
As long as I live, I will always remember the night when Tim Spangler, one of the mega-cool older high school kids, showed up at our seventh-grade dance to be the guest singer for one song – What I Like About You, by The Romantics.
I had never seen a guest singer show up to sing anything. I didn’t even know “guest singer” was a thing. At the time, however, I thought it was quite simply the coolest possible thing anyone had ever done on earth, ever.
And has there ever been a song in the history of music that makes you want to dance more than What I Like About You, by The Romantics?
Yes, is the obvious answer. It Takes Two, by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock makes you want to dance more, but that wasn’t released until 1988, so at the time in the mid-eighties, What I Like About You was the top dance song.
When that opening guitar hits and the whole band shouts, “Hey!” into their microphones, even the chaperones and the principal get up and dance.
It’s sad that kids don’t have those kind of experiences today. I think there’s only one real solution that makes any sense. I’m obviously going to have to DJ the next dance.
Better bust out my mixed tapes.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen
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