On Friday I spent a good part of the afternoon primping for my date with a MUCH younger man...I was going with my son, Bryce, to his 'Someone Special' dance at school. It was a dance for just the 4th graders, and they brought home invitations to give to their 'someone special' (who had to be over the age of 18). Now, keep in mind that their elementary school does not have regular dances, so this was a one-time special occasion. The invite said "dressy, but not formal". I was very excited to have the chance to spend a fun evening with my young man and be able to get dressed up and give him an opportunity to learn how to properly treat a lady!
So, here's what I spent the afternoon looking like....
In order to look nice for this little gentleman.... (this is his cool/tough guy pose...he knows I like mobsters...)
And we headed off together.
We arrived at the dance a few minutes late, walked in the door and froze in our tracks, mortified. We were waaaaay overdressed. Apparently, to these people, 'dressy' means just make sure you wear a nicer sweater with your jeans, if you bother changing at all for the event. And all the parents were just sitting at tables while the kids carried on out on the dance floor. So, of course since they were sitting there bored, and we were late, every head turned to look as we walked in the door. It was a horrible experience. Bryce had been worried about this very thing, and had specifically asked his teacher how "dressy" it was supposed to be...he said "Like, should I wear a dress shirt and tie??" to which she said yes. Apparently she's not attended one of these events (she wasn't there that night either). Immediately Bryce's tie came off, and shirt was untucked. I stashed the tie in my little purse and scrambled to find the most out-of-the-way corner to hide in. We stood and debated momentarily how to handle this situation. Then I told Bryce just to go have fun, that I'd be fine. It seemed like forever that I sat there feeling awkward, but my sweet son came back after just a few minutes and said "Mom, are you lonely? I can stay here with you..." I assured him I was fine and that I appreciated his sensitivity, but told him we were here to have fun, so he should go out with his friends.
After a little while they played a slower song and tried to get the kids to go get their 'someone special' out to dance. Of course, that's why we were there, so when Bryce came over for me, I mustered up every ounce of self-confidence I could and out we went. It wasn't too bad. Afterward I headed back to my hiding spot, until a few minutes later when they started playing the Electric Slide. (Now, understand, my kids and I love to do dances like this and regularly just do them around the house...) Bryce came running over and said "C'mon Mom!" There were two other adults on the floor at this point, and I just thought, "Seriously people! We're supposed to be here WITH them, not just chaperoning!" so I decided to take a new approach....just act confident and intentional. I had purposely dressed nicely and so did my son because we were going on a special date, and darn it, I was gonna have fun with him! We let loose, did the slide, and then they had a relay race (carry a jelly bean on a spoon across the room to your partner, transfer the jelly bean to their spoon and they return to the starting point, all without dropping the bean; if you did you had to start over). I am proud to say we got third place, and only because some other lady had to cut across in front of me because she apparently didn't think to line up directly across from her kid....go figure. Anyway, Bryce was excited we had done so well, and we proceeded to just be happy little joiners the rest of the night... The 'locomotion' train that went all around the cafeteria and into the hall, the mini photo-shoot in the hallway, the chicken dance...we did it all.
In the course of the evening, I did notice 2 other dads who were all dressed up in suit and tie with a little girl on their arm in a fancy dress with a wrist corsage. Now THAT's what I'm talking about!! I was thoroughly impressed with those dads and noticed they too had participated as much as possible. I thought it was really sad to note that on the slow dances, a majority of dads came out and danced with their little girls, and totally put the moms to shame! There were very few moms who danced with their sons, and many of them just sat there the whole time looking miserable. They had showed up, but didn't bother to even try to look nice (I was literally the only woman there in a dress), didn't participate, and didn't even interact hardly at all with their kids! (I'm really not sure why they came at all). It just made me think how sad it was and what an opportunity they were missing to teach their sons so much without ever having to say a word. Oh, well.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening with my son...it helps to have one of the coolest (not to mention one of the most good looking!) kids in the room, if I do say so myself. After that initial moment of shock, he wasn't intimidated at all, and was aware the whole night to keep checking in with me, brought me a drink, and came back with a huge piece of cake for us to share. (My stomach was in a knot still by that point, so I wasn't able to eat any, but he made a pretty good dent in it!) I was glad to see him be such a sensitive gentleman, and I was certainly stretched out of my own comfort zone (to say the least) which I guess is also good for me every now and then!