A while back, I wrote about how I was forcing a 12 year old out of a mental crib and into her real age as a productive member of society. Those days are not long gone, but they are definitely fading in favor of the ones on the horizon. Instead of being horrified at what lies beyond that thin line, I am as giddy as a small child on Christmas Eve. This is where the fun really starts. I actually wrote most of this post nearly a full year ago, so this is even more fun to read / write now.
You see, my lovely daughter is (was when I started this) 13 years old. 13 and 1/2 if truth be told. She is amazing. Smart and articulate, opinionated, a wonderful friend, thoughtful and kind. She is in love with kitten videos and You Tubers and just hung Christmas lights in her bedroom for the first time. She is spectacular.
In the process of being at awkward stages one comes across life's little hurdles and speed bumps, social affairs and obligations. In the nouveau-prep archetype that her charter school models itself after, middle school dances are known as "Junior Assembly".
Sit back and let the privilege hit you.
We asked her about a school dance - it seems to me that by the time I was in 8th grade, I had attended no less than half of dozen of these messes, starting with the ''promotion" dance at the end of 6th grade. In fact, looking back on it, those were not only the social highlight of my middle school life, but they were sanctioned and held by the school. There was one for every holiday, and some made up ones on top of that. It was as if they couldn't wait to get us paired up and dating...
hmmm..that might be a topic for research...anyways...
She casually says, "oh yeah, they had something a while ago, but I didn't sign up for it". Sign up for it? What? You buy tickets at the door, with your wadded up cash in your sweaty hand while wearing a borrowed dress and slingbacks, right?
When we asked why she didn't want to go to this dance, she said without missing a beat: "Only the girls that wear makeup go to those things." Oh. Is that so? The 'girls that wear makeup' sounded too much like 'he who shall not be named' and I snickered. Then I looked up this little affair to see what it was about, since we had not received any information on the event, and who knows? There might be another and she might change her mind.
Oh how the times have changed.
These affairs are no less than practice debutante balls. Sure, the dresses are made out of slightly better fabrics, and the boys have moved from Drakkar Noir to the despicable toxin that is Axe body spray, but these little 'dances' are not the public events for pubescent early teens to attempt vertical dry humping to hip hop music that you and I attended. Nope.
The Junior Assembly is a chance to learn etiquette and show it off to your other clumsy friends and their eager parents. Ahead of these events, students register for their etiquette classes to learn how to behave in a formal setting (BLEH!) The room is filled with anticipation and expectation, all of the fears and desires of upper middle class white parents hoping that this will connect their spawn to the right people and that their fates will be sealed.
No wonder she had no interest. These are not her people. She watches superhero movies and is a major fangirl of the Doctor Who/Sherlock variety. These girls already have an account at Sephora. I for one, am glad to have gotten out of yet another shopping trip wherein I drag her around to try on dresses she has zero interest in, so no skin off my teeth.
And a 14 year old who still doesn't wear makeup? You just don't really understand the gifts that the universe is throwing at you until you have them, do you? She can keep reading and watching Minecraft videos on YouTube for as long as she wants. She's not missing anything.