In Eddie Scheidler’s “Scout Memories” column, he takes a sardonic look at some time-honored rites of passage at LFHS.
Gentlemen, the time has come–homecoming season is officially upon us. For, well, all of you, the Homecoming Dance is something entirely new. Now before I get ahead of myself, the dance isn’t all that easy. Maybe it’s the struggle to find a date at the last minute or the indecisiveness that comes with deciding on which color bow-tie to sport on the big night. Or, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering how on God’s green Earth you are going to impress a single lady with your, let’s just say, tasteful dance moves. Whatever the case, the Homecoming Dance is no walk in the park.
With that said, before you begin hyperventilating and sweating unhealthily through the back of your shirt, take a second to stop, calm down, and breathe a little. Lucky for you, I’m here to help navigate you through these uncharted waters.
First things first, let’s tackle arguably most crucial step in the entire Homecoming Dance process: finding just the right person to go with.
*Quick disclaimer: there’s no shame in riding solo on this one either. You get to tear it up on the dance floor with your buddies without all the stress and commotion that comes with finding someone to go with. Not the worst position to be in, my friend.*
Anyways, if you’re coming from a middle school with a graduating class of roughly 50 (such as yours truly–proud SMS alum), the large pond that makes up the high school can be a bit intimidating. At the same time, it’s not all a bad thing. With new faces comes new opportunity. Then again, it’s freshman year, and the braces and buzz cut look aren’t always the biggest confidence boosters when it comes to asking out the cool new girl from DPM.
So if you are anything like the brave soul I once was back in the glory days of freshman year, you’ll attack this situation head on, like any true man would: by going through the girl’s friends to ask her for you. With any luck, you’ll find out that she may possibly be somewhat interested in going with you–but just as friends. Sure, the lack of enthusiasm in her response doesn’t exactly make you feel like the king of the castle but, hey, at least it wasn’t a “no.” And with that, you’ve gotten the green light to ask her in person. Well done, young Padawan.
From the way I see it, asking a girl in person is what truly separates the men from the boys. To be able to drive on over to the girl’s house, hop out of mom’s minivan, trot up the steps leading to the front door, and ask her right then and there takes some serious nerve. Yet you came prepared, and the several layers of Old Spice deodorant mixed with your dad’s old cologne are giving you a much needed second-wind. After all, you spent the last few hours killing off markers trying to make just the right bubble letters to go on that incredibly witty poster of yours. Man oh man, you clever son of a gun. Nevertheless, with your mosaic of a poster tightly clenched in your left hand, and the $5 bouquet of roses in your right (again, what a deal), you feel that you are on top of the world. Nothing could possibly go wrong. All that’s left is to spit out the million-dollar question, smile your way through a picture or two, and get on out. It’s easy as that–mission accomplished.
But for some odd reason, the second the front door flies open and mom pulls out that camera of hers, you choke under the pressure. The lights are too bright. You didn’t train for this to happen. Suddenly, for reasons only God knows, it’s as if you are transported back into Spanish class–not having the slightest clue as to what to say. Your lips are moving but the words simply won’t come out. All those hours in front of the mirror prepping for this very moment are gone to waste just like that. As your several coatings of Old Spice reach their final limb, the wonderful mother of yours comes to the rescue and prompts the question for you. Once again, mom saves the day. What else would you expect?
With your date secured and all the festivities of asking the girl behind you now, you’re one step closer to the night’s main attraction: the dance itself. Yet before you get there, you have to go through what every man dreams of leading up to the big day. Maybe it’s just me, but what guy doesn’t love a good ‘ole pre-party. There’s no way I’d rather spend a Saturday afternoon than pose for a thousand of the same uncomfortable picture, make endless small talk with parents who haven’t seen you since you were in diapers, and repeatedly have tell people that the sweat coming through the front of your shirt isn’t what it looks like–it’s from a spilled water bottle, okay?
Needless to say, nothing quite beats the feeling of meeting your date’s father. It’s funny how with one handshake, not only do you think you now have a broken hand but he has successfully put the fear of the Lord into you. You begin to wonder if he can smell fear through all your excess cologne. Adjusting your tie, you feel as if the room is closing in on you; that somehow the temperature has spiked a hundred degrees. Then again, you are outside in someone’s mile-long backyard, and it appears you and your date’s father are on an island of your own. Best of luck, sergeant.
And finally, as if it would never come, you’ve made it to the dance. The color has just about reappeared in your hand as you make your way through the gym doors. It’s go time, baby. Right as you are about to become the much-needed life of the party, you make a quick detour to the gents’ room. With your hair perfectly in line and your breath almost as fresh as your clip on bow-tie, you enter the room, feeling as if you are the long-lost product of John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever and Moses from the Bible. Parting the sea of students with your out-of-rhythm-trot on your way to center stage, you realize you are going to have to be the one to spice things up. This is your moment. Unfortunately, your brain and hips don’t work hand-in-hand, and your version of “The Dougie” comes across of more of a threat than an invitation for ladies to come dance with you. Regardless, you dance to the beat of your own drum, literally, since clearly you aren’t going off the beat of the music being played. In the end, if your moves aren’t all there, so what? You’re having a good time and that’s all that matters, right?
And just like that, in the blink of an eye, the music will stop, the gym will be empty, and you’ll find yourself sitting on the curb outside the school. Your adrenaline is at an all time high yet the night has come to end. And because you’re a freshman, mom will tell you that you can have fun when you’re older–just not tonight. There’s no point in pleading with the rents to let you spend the night out on the town because after all–dad is on mom’s side–and as we all know, mom never loses.
And that, my friends, is what I’d like to call a night to remember. Until next time, Homecoming. You’ll be missed.