I thought it was over at 9:00, but there was no sign of kids leaving so I went in to find my budding teen. I pulled the door and entered another dimension. The semi-formal junior high dance. The air was hot, the music loud and I felt old.
The girls took the opportunity to show off bra straps or lack there of, and more skin than the dress code regularly allows. They floated around in dresses, limping from shoes too big, heels too high. Officially initiated into the world of womanhood where, for some reason I've not yet understood, vanity outranks comfort. Some were beautiful, in dresses well suited to them. Others, I can't believe their parents bought them that getup, let alone allowed them to leave the house. They each had a try practicing their skills for the mating game. Some dared join in, other ran away in swarms of high pitched giggles.
I couldn't help but laugh to myself at the display.
The guys pretended not to care. To not notice. Practicing skills themselves. The brave using the slow dance as prime opportunity to take a turn playing the game. Most boys walked faster when a slow song started. Either searching for, or avoiding a girl. I couldn't tell which. A few brave pairs dared the next level and held hands. The girlfriend taller than the boyfriend. Dragging him along with her throng of friends. I asked Martin why a boy would subject himself to it at that age. "Because you got to hold her hand" was his answer.
Eventually the last song was played and the game was over. The budding teens returned to being just kids and found their parents for a ride home.
I find it interesting. Like a study of social behaviour. To watch from the outside as Reiley enters what will be the most socially challenging years he has yet encountered. To see it all from a different perspective. Sometimes the reality I see now is vastly different from what I remember of that age. I worry for Reiley, but remember that as an adult it will all mean much less.