Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys underground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Let’s eat all of these people!” — Venom

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fort Nightly

When I was in middle school (which, back in the Stone Age, was called "junior high school"), my parents enrolled me in a ballroom dancing class. The class met every two weeks and it was known as "Fortnightly", which was always pronounced as two words.

I had forgotten about it until I bought a book of Dave Barry's columns at the animal shelter's resale shop, Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up. As hes said:
Our parents sent us to ballroom-dancing class, but it would have been equally cost-effective for them to simply set fire to their money.
True enough.

Like the class Barry wrote about, Fort Nightly was held in what now would be called a "multi-purpose room", but was the cafeteria with a stage at one end. To steal from him, the class started with the enemy genders lined up on either side of the room. The instructors then proceeded to try and teach the kids formal dancing.

They would have had had better luck teaching goats to speak Mongolian.

For one thing, the class was cruelly timed for the year that a lot of the girls had had their growth spurts and the boys had not. It was like watching a WNBA team try to dance with munchkins. But only if the munchkins in question had all of the grace and coordination of a troop of intoxicated baboons. The girls made sure to keep the boys at arm's length, mainly to avoid having their feet stepped on. The boys, in turn, responded the way that adolescent boys do in any uncomfortable situation: By hitting each other and making fart noises.

The final session had refreshments and the parents were invited to watch their kids try to dance. That went about as well as you might have guessed.

Except that one of the mothers asked the organizers where were the black kids. The school was about 30% minorities, mostly blacks, maybe a few Latinos and a couple of Asian kids and about that many Jews. The Asian and Jewish kids had been invited to enroll. Much consternation ensued.


Ten Bears said...

Am reminded, a chuckle, of something Jimmy Buffett wrote (in my mind) not too long ago, something about a hitch-hiker and a note home:

Said Mama I'm fine if you happen to wonder. I don't have much money but I still get around. I haven't made church in near thirty-six sundays, so fuck all those West Nashville grand ballroom gowns.

Funny how things associate.

dinthebeast said...

You know, when I was in Junior High School, they did a similar thing once a year in PE class, and it went similarly.
We had maybe three black kids in that school (one of whom we elected class president one year) but for some reason I never noticed how many Jewish kids there were.
There were quite a few, and I just never realized they were Jewish until years later when I happened to think about it.
The perks of growing up in a town of 25,000 people...

-Doug in Oakland

Tod Germanica said...

Stripes...[trying to teach the platoon to march] C'mon, rhythm! Hut, 2, 3, 4. Black guys help the white guys...

w3ski said...

They called it "Cotillion" in my school. It was supposed to be something special. You were "invited" and acknowledged or some such bull.
Same thing about the side of the room. Same thing about learning not to stomp on the young ladies feet.
Beginning to understand the pleasures of touching a lady on the hip while she moved. Appreciating the lilt of the female voice.
That for me was the early 60's and all those social skills went to naught as I entered the age around me.
I don't think I've done a "square step"? Was that even it? The "1, 2, 3 ,4 stuff? Since then.
They tried, wrong guy, wrong year.

3383 said...

In Florida and Alabama it was square dancing. Which worked okay, and was kind of fun.
But the following dances held were never square dance.
If I had only known then what I know now....