Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

February 9, 2014

Ed Hungness: Maybe learning to dance isn't that bad

I don’t want to go to a dance!

What red-blooded, ten year old boy wants to go to a dance?

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I protested. “I’m not going Mom!”

But mothers can be very persuasive in such matters.

I am blessed with vivid memories of my youth and the majority of those recollections are pleasant. To this day, I cannot remember the exact details of how I became enrolled in an extracurricular class called “social dancing.” As I recall, my obviously misguided parents were sold on the premise that ballroom dancing was the solution to adolescent awkwardness with the opposite sex.

The reason they gave me was that everyone needs to learn how to dance.

By way of the suspected parent-teacher conspiracy, my friends and I were to be taught the “social graces” and would magically be transformed from little snot-nosed ragamuffins into young gentlemen. We would learn about manners and how proper young men should treat a young lady.

After getting wind of my fate, I called my buddies to share my fears and gain their sympathy. Unfortunately, my appeal fell on deaf ears. We were all in the same boat, victims of a diabolical plot to tame our occasional coarse behavior. It was hard to visualize learning the waltz and spending all that time with girls.

Male participants were required to be properly attired. The painful shopping trip to JC Penny included purchasing a suit, dress shirt, black oxford shoes and, worst of all, a tie. I was just a kid. How could they expect me to dance and be happy in a suit and tie? I felt like I was going to attend a six-week-long funeral.

The little girls in our class were much more enthusiastic and the hallways of the elementary school were all a twitter with giggles and laughter. We boys could sense that we were being watched and selected as potential dance partners. We felt so used. We would rather play baseball.

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