He acted as though we were sending him to a hard labor camp typically reserved for either wayward juveniles who break the law or weary housewives returning home after vacation. The pulling of a rotten tooth, the removal of stubborn wax from ears, a shower utilizing actual soap would all have been preferable over the activity in which we were requiring our son’s participation.
Junior Cotillion. (Also known to adolescent boys as Junior Co-Kill-Ya)
Believing that reinforcement of nice manners and polite behavior is always a benefit, we enrolled our eleven-year-old son, Chase, in classes of a local chapter that would soon have him foaming at the mouth and requesting transfer into another family.
Personally, I couldn’t see how we could go wrong in an organization with the following mission statement:
To act and treat others with honor, dignity and respect for better relationships with family, friends and associates and to learn and practice ballroom dance.
I think that even Chase is okay with the first part of the statement, understanding from an early age that we expect him to behave in a manner that is respectful to others. It’s the second part that has him throwing a monkey fit on the way to each class, much like he used to do during his terrible twos.
Ballroom dancing does not register on the radar of interest for a sixth grade boy. I’m not sure it would interest me. But the lessons are included in the Cotillion program, and highly entertaining on shows like Dancing With The Stars, so how bad could it really be?
I pointed out to my son that athletes like Emmett Smith, Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice had all learned dances like the Fox Trot, the Waltz and the Cha Cha. He quickly responded that he was certain they “took a beating from their teammates in the locker room” because they danced too high on their tiptoes wearing pointy, jazz shoes.
Chase has now completed two sessions of the program. It brings me great joy to retrieve him from the end of each class, listening to him as he rants and raves about having to hold a girl’s hand – ONE THAT HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW – and lead her around the dance floor. “It’s torture,” he says every time. “It’s not fair. I really don’t think I can do it again.”
In the first session, Chase was required to fetch refreshments for several of the girls in his class, spilling pineapple juice on one – I MEAN, WHO DRINKS PINEAPPLE JUICE, MOM!? – and tripping over the daintily crossed ankles of another. He continues to have balance issues in the presence of females, although improvement was seen this past week as he managed to stay upright for the duration of the class.
I hope one day he will laugh about it all, like the well-mannered gentleman he is becoming, as he waltzes his bride across the dance floor, tall and confident.
I’ll be in the corner of the room, throwing a monkey fit about the unfairness of it all, wishing that we could do it all over again.