The boy had a dance this afternoon. All I saw was the view from the door, but it was enough to make me dry heave all the way home. It was held in the cafeteria, which means the air was rich with the combined smell of last week’s menu and dozens of tightly packed, profusely sweaty, early-stage teenagers. If awkwardness had a smell, it would be this: a heady mix of body odor, pizza, goats, Frito chips and desperation.
The boys aren’t old enough yet to be truly earnest in their pursuit of girls. Instead, they all stand packed together near the Guitar Hero set-up, hands deep, deep in their pockets, tripping each other, and blurting variations on the word “poop” at random intervals.
The girls are starting to realize that the boys are simpletons, undone by the merest glance from one of them. A flutter of her eyelashes, and his hand dives ever deeper in his pocket. The girls are figuring it out and they’re working it. Unfortunately, everything in their arsenal they learned from the E! Channel, so they’re like little bitty, under-developed and overly made-up versions of Pamela Anderson, with enough toilet paper shoved in their bras to support a battalion of allergy sufferers.
The teachers are posted at the entrance and exit, the punch bowl, and the bathrooms, anywhere a kid could make an escape, throw up, or make out (however, they seem not to notice the two full-throttle puberty cases chowing down on each other’s faces in the far corner.) The teacher at the door where I stood to retrieve my boy looked particularly sweaty and disconcerted. I imagine he spent the previous few hours questioning every choice he’s made since high school and realizing his mother was right when she said he should’ve been a doctor.