Mrs. Weller and I were blessed with the opportunity to chaperone our son's and daughter's Jr. High Semiformal dance last week. It was a revealing look at life in the seventh and eight grade - in more ways than one.
My first observation: I can't imagine why it is called a "semiformal." The ladies all wore long gowns. My daughter spent an hour having her hair and makeup professionally primped. She wore more jewelry than a NBA rookie. The only thing semiformal about the ball, so far as I could tell, was the motley dress of the knuckle-dragging, greasy-haired, drooling-from-the-mouth boys who were sniffing around my daughter and the other daughters I was there to protect.
I spent most of the evening on "border patrol." You know what I mean. My job was to make sure that, during the slow songs, the young gentlemen's hands remained planted firmly north of the equator. From time to time I would spot some miscreant's paws migrating towards Brazil. A scowl from Pastor Weller usually sent them scurrying north of Panama.
There was also more "boob-hiking" than in a milking parlor. The gals ended each jig with a two-handed readjustment to their bosoms. Judging from the number of strapless dresses I saw, including the one my wife purchased for my daughter, there must be some new law against covering up one's shoulders with fabric. Or perhaps there is some new allergy that causes a skin eruption whenever scapula meets chiffon. For my part, I would have preferred a rash on my daughter's bare shoulders to what's-his-names paws on them.
I mentioned that this was my son's semiformal, too. I must admit that I am strangely conflicted in this regard. For my daughter I was a wall, unmoving, separating her from the hairy horde that pursued her. For my son I was a bridge. "Hey bud, why don't you go and ask Lexi for a dance?" "Sure looks like Amber needs someone to cut a rug with her!" Is this consistent? Is this fair? No to both questions.
It is, however, instructive. Fathers who are privileged to rear both sons and daughters lead a more complicated existence, I think, than those who can focus on one gender or the other. My friend Ben has it easier. He wakes up every day knowing that he must beat back any lad stupid enough to stalk Liz or Paige. I also suspect Jason has an easier time of it than I. His home is nearly an estrogen-fee zone. With Mason and Carter its all about the testosterone.
Me, on the other hand, I walk the line between encouraging my sons to pursue and telling my daughter to resist. It is hypocritical, I know. But that's the way it is in Wellerville.
Did I mention that my daughter has asked me not to chaperone her next dance? Go figure.