It was held at the school, but it was in no way, shape, or form an actual dance.
I was eleven years old and in the sixth grade. I remember my friend Susie and I getting ready to go together. I wore my Rolling Stones baseball shirt with the lips on the front and my Jordache jeans. My only expectation of what a school dance might be like was from the movie Grease, so I was really looking forward to do the hand jive, having a big choreographed dance-off, and having some older handsome television show host hit on me.
|Dramatic pre-dance photo.|
Note bandana and feather roach clip.
Walking into the gym at AMD Middle School at nighttime was surreal. All I previously knew of the gym was getting pummeled by dodge balls and being humiliated while attempting to climb a thick, scratchy rope with knots in it.
Thank God the ropes and the balls were all put away and for the first time ever, the gym looked like a place I wanted to be. It was dark, with cool flashing lights, tables set up with snacks and punch (with a ladle, just like in the movies!), crepe paper, and balloons.
But by far, the coolest part of the dance was in the center of the room. A giant screen was set up, one of those old school big screen monsters that had three colored lights built into it. On the giant screen they were playing music videos on a loop.
I was in heaven.
The entire dance existed around this big screen television set. The whole middle school was crowded around this contraption like we were at a rock concert. Swaying, moving our heads back and forth, and mouthing every word to every song, we all let go of whatever social groups we belonged to and came together as one. It was awesome.
The videos I specifically remember were “Rock the Casbah” by the Clash, “Goodbye to You” by Scandal, and “Our Lips are Sealed” by the Go-Go’s. Everything was going really well - I was hanging with my gang of friends, life was good, THIS DANCE WAS SO COOL.
Then, it happened.
My obsession with Mick Jagger got me into trouble again.
I heard the opening chords and the drum beat and then the “doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.”
“Hang Fire” by The Rolling Stones was on the video screen.
Mick was wearing his striped shirt and his high waisted lavender pants, posing with his hands on his hips and jumping around like a maniac.
You would have thought he had personally shown up to AMD Middle School by the way I lost my mind. Think of those clips of teenage girls when the Beatles first came to America, how they would hold the sides of their face and just scream, like if they let go their heads might explode. That was my level of excitement with Mick on a big screen television in my middle school gym.
I pushed and shoved my way up to directly in front of the video screen. I screamed my head off. I knew the video by heart and I mimicked everything Mick was doing on screen. Then I kissed the flimsy screen. It’s like something had taken over my body and I couldn’t help myself. I was possessed with his spirit, and let me say again, I just couldn’t for the life of me understand or accept why everyone else didn’t think The Rolling Stones were the best band in the world.
People were not impressed.
I had done what you were not supposed to do at this dance.
I had danced.
I freaked out when I realized everyone was looking at me like I was insane, including LeeAnn, who was the only other girl that loved Mick, but obviously not as much as I did. Or maybe she did love him as much, but she had something called restraint and self control.
When I saw that the “Scratch, Scratch Me Back” boys from a previous post (Mario, Chris and the ringleader Billy) were staring at me with their mouths open, I ran as fast as I could to the bathroom before they could get anything out that I would have to listen to or endure.
Susie came in and rescued me after what seemed like a lifetime went by. Susie loved music too. She loved Def Leppard and the band Triumph. She knew how much I loved The Stones and she could totally relate to my actions on the dance floor. I remember her saying to me, “you know that video by heart Lori, you know all of Mick’s moves perfectly!”
It made me feel good that someone noticed. Susie was a good friend. We went back out into the dance and everything was fine. We had some chips and punch.
There is another reason Susie was a good friend. She distracted me and kept me away from the video screen for the rest of the night until it was time for her dad to pick us up.
Looking back I am no longer ashamed of my middle school dance freak out.
I just watched that video again and got that same sense that I wanted lose my mind jump out of my skin.