I chaperoned a high school dance this past Friday. The times have certainly changed but not in the way your cynical minds might think. I feel as if we got away with a lot more back when I was in high school--hell, even in middle school. Either that or my old-man blinders have prevented me from seeing what was really going on. We, the chaperonian guard--teachers and staff members who'd volunteered or been roped into watching kids pretending to dance--partook in a social gathering of our own, while the timeless ritual of struts, faux-gyrations and awkward choreographed numbers took place to overly loud music. We didn't have to break up any fights, heavy grinding or talk down any rejected emo-kids. Kids these days are either incapable of pushing the boundaries or are smarter about it. I like to think the latter and fear for the former.
It's really about the music at these things. When asked by a fellow chaperone what I'd be requesting from the DJ, I said without hesitation, "Biggie and Tupac". I was told how this would be inappropriate at a high school dance, yet the song about tipping the girl who was 'dancing like a stripper' was somehow OK.
But I digress.
It's funny how some songs are timeless, and surprisingly others have not held up so well. Group songs like the Cha-Cha Slide by DJ Casper and Cotton-Eyed Joe are sure to fill the dance floor. Beat-It by Michael Jackson also got good play. Beat It came out in 1983. Beat It can stand out in a crowd of countless current hip-hop tracks that'll probably be forgotten by the public consciousness by this time next year.
What really surprised me was how quickly the dance floor emptied when Jump Around by House of Pain came on. This had always been a dance floor staple, not just when I was of the age where it was socially acceptable for me to quasi-dance in a public setting, or even now when I'm alone in my room in front of a mirror with the lights off. This was always a big hit at dances, whether at a wedding, a school cafeteria, or the old folks home. And yet, this past Friday, I watched the dance floor empty. No one wanted to jump around...jump around....jump around....jump up, jump up and get down. Did House of Pain say something racist? Why all the hate for House of Pain? It was truly an eye opening experience.
I must be getting old.
Perhaps not. In the immortal words of Principal Seymour Skinner, "No, it's the children who are wrong."