Youre A 13-Year-Old Girl: Can You Find A Date To The Sadie Hawkins Dance?

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It’s a Monday morning, and you’re sitting in eighth grade homeroom at Southport Middle School.

You are a 13-year-old girl—a girl in between the age where you spend weekends riding bikes with your parents and the age where you spend weekends riding bikes with kids who have nontraditional haircuts and skip school to watch A Clockwork Orange on a portable DVD player at the bottom of the Southport Quarry.

You have a drawer full of training bras, a medicine cabinet full of Bath & Body Works lotions, and 70 Tweety Bird T-shirts you’ve grown out of in the past month alone. There are only three things you care about in this world: walking around at strip malls, frozen yogurt, and boys.

You love boys.

But right now you’re stuck in homeroom.

Ms. Parker is droning on about how the school dress code has been updated to allow nuns’ habits after the school was sued nearly into oblivion by the Association of Child Nuns.

You’re doodling a picture of your Bernese mountain dog, Timothy, in your social studies notebook.

Brendan McAllister is telling Miles Fischer about how over the weekend, he and his brother watched an unedited version of Wedding Crashers in which Vince Vaughn’s catchphrase was “Take a lap, Nutsack Jones!”

All of a sudden, your school mascot, the Southport Frustrated Dog, dances into the room.

You get a sense, deep in your currently growing bones, that something big is about to happen.

The Southport Frustrated Dog points to the loudspeaker on the wall and begins to sing the “Announcement Song”:

One two three, listen to the voice!
It’s time for the announcements and you have no choice!
The words will come through the big microphone!
You must take note of their content and tone!

The dog dances out, frustratedly. There is a crackle over the loudspeaker.

It’s the vice principal, Mr. Montana.

He announces that this Friday will be the annual Southport Middle School Sadie Hawkins dance.

Oh. My. God.

“The Sadie Hawkins dance is the one dance a year when girls get to ask boys to be their dates, which, due to social norms, is wrong,” Mr. Montana explains.

“If you want to know more about the Sadie Hawkins dance, you can head to the auditorium, where Ms. Cranmer will lead an information session that will answer all your questions.”

“Otherwise, get to first period, have a great day, and enjoy today’s lunch: French toast chips with maple syrup meat dip and carbonated milk!”

This is it: You are going to ask a boy to the dance.

Your stomach does a few flips forward, a few more backward, and then drops. The hair on the back of your neck stands up. Your fingernails feel hot and your teeth feel even hotter. You hope you aren’t having some kind of dumbass aneurysm, because this might just be the biggest day of your life.

Who are you going to ask? And will he even say yes? You need to come up with a game plan, and fast.

You head into the auditorium. You try to say hi to your friend Natalie, but the HD Power-Shine lip gloss your mom got you at Home Depot glued your mouth shut again. God, does your mom know freaking anything about anything? You try to wipe some off with your sleeve.

Ms. Cranmer is standing up at the front, waiting for everyone to file in. You slide into your seat. Ms. Cranmer clears her throat.

“All right, eyes up here!” she yells. “It’s Sadie Hawkins time, and in case you infernal twerps aren’t up to speed, you’re about to ruin the time-honored tradition of men being in charge! So everybody shut up and listen to me! Now, first things first: Does anyone know who Sadie Hawkins was?”

“It sounds like one of you freaky little nitwits had the right answer! Sadie Hawkins was the woman who was inside the E.T. costume in Steven Spielberg’s famous film E.T.!

“The Sadie Hawkins dance is named after Sadie Hawkins because she broke gender barriers by beating out hundreds of male actors for the role of E.T.! Including Christopher Walken and John Belushi, both of whom sadly buried themselves alive when they found out they were not cast as E.T.!

“It sounds like none of you freaky little nitwits know the right answer! Sadie Hawkins was the woman who was inside the E.T. costume in Steven Spielberg’s famous film E.T.!

“The Sadie Hawkins dance is named after Sadie Hawkins because she broke gender barriers by beating out hundreds of male actors for the role of E.T.! Including Christopher Walken and John Belushi, both of whom sadly buried themselves alive when they found out they were not cast as E.T.!

“Here’s what you need to know about Sadie Hawkins: The GIRLS ask the BOYS to the dance. Girls can’t do that normally because it’s BACKWARDS and they CAN’T. Boys have the power for DATING whereas GIRLS wear pink and are GIRLS with long HAIR. Boys wear BLUE and ask for DATES. Except at SADIE HAWKINS. Do any of you creeps have any questions?”

“I HAVE NO ANSWER!!!!” Ms. Cranmer yells.

Ms. Cranmer gets on the floor and rolls around for 35 seconds before getting up and yelling, “I HAVE NO ANSWER!!!!”

As you begin to scream, Ms. Cranmer emits her own high-pitched shriek, harmonizing perfectly with yours. This is cathartic.

“That’s it!!! Goodbye, freaks!” Ms. Cranmer says.

You still have a lot of ethical questions about the Sadie Hawkins dance, but there’s no time to think about them now. The clock is ticking, and you need to find a man.

Commence daydream.

Oh jeez, it looks like you’re starting off your daydream with a real dud: Trevor. Trevor is the tuba-playing dweeb of the century. He rides your bus in the morning and gave you a Dunkaroo one time, but that’s pretty much all he has going for him. Plus, the Dunkaroo was honey mustard flavored. Trevor would definitely be a slam dunk, but you should probably set your sights higher.

Ahh, Farhan. Much better—Farhan is a solid option. He’s the only person on your school’s basketball team, which is hot. Whether Farhan would go to the dance with you is a total toss-up, but it’s worth a try.

Ooh, Colin O’Keefe owns a startup that helps retired lawyers turn their old briefcases into soccer balls for younger, more athletic lawyers. He’s so successful that he might be hard to snag, but a girl can dream.

If you can pry studious Augustin away from his books for a night, he’d be a decent Sadie Hawkins date. He did a Serbian folk dance at the talent show last year.

Then there’s kind-eyed Danny…

“Elton” John…

The Dastardly Baritones…

And Andy.

You love Andy.

Andy is the fastest freestyler on the swim team. He takes his little brother to the park on weekends. And hell if he doesn’t know how to rock a pair of boot-cut jeans. But would Andy ever agree to go to the dance with little old you?

You don’t have a chance to answer that question, because the bell rings and snaps you out of your reverie. It’s time for English class.

You turn to T.J. and ask about her plans.

“Oh, me?” she says. “I already asked Carla Monteleone.”

“She did, but that was only for the first three weeks of school. Now she’s allowed back, but she’s going to get straight Ds this semester as punishment. It’s okay. I still love her.”

“By the way, I decided that now that we’re in eighth grade, I’m going to start going by my full name instead of T.J. So you can me Tolerant Justine.”

Whoa. Your head is spinning. Yesterday T.J. was your regular old best friend, but now she’s Tolerant Justine, and she’s in love. You’re starting to feel like you’re falling behind. You’d better get a move on and find a date.

You’re heading down the hallway to English class. But wait. Something just happened. Goddamnit, not again! You just got your period. Didn’t you have it a couple weeks ago?

Your mom told you it was normal for your period to be irregular at first, but what does she know? Your mom is such a freaking idiot, it’s unreal.

Well, you’re going to have to figure out something to do.

You walk to English class with your sweatshirt tied around your waist: international eighth grade code for “I just got my period unexpectedly.” Hopefully it was just a false alarm and you’re not going to ruin your best pair of L.E.I. jeans.

You look up at Mrs. Smith, who’s starting class.

“Welcome to English class, everybody. Today we’re going to start from scratch at the very beginning, like we do every day. So, who can tell me what language is?”

“That’s a great definition of osmosis, and in many ways it’s also a great definition of language,” Mrs. Smith says.

You sigh dramatically. Mrs. Smith is such a dumbass. It’s pretty obvious that she only made one lesson plan for the entire year. And news flash, Mrs. Smith: It freaking sucks.

You’re done paying attention for the day.

“Great answer. Now, who can tell me why language is important?”

Ugh, this again? It’s pretty obvious that Mrs. Smith only made one lesson plan for the entire year. And news flash, Mrs. Smith: It freaking sucks.

You’re done paying attention for the day.

You scream.

Your scream is powerful—it fills the room. Without warning, Mrs. Smith looks deep into your eyes and screams in perfect harmony with you. The sound waves build, shaking the windows and soothing your jangled teen nerves.

Until…

Oh no! The power of your shrieks blew up all of the desks in the room.

Mrs. Smith shoots you a look that unmistakably says, “I am angry.” You’re in trouble.

You turn.

As luck would have it, it’s Farhan, spinning a basketball on his finger as always. Farhan lives next door to Andy, so you could use this opportunity to get some intel on your man. Or you could hedge your bets and ask Farhan to the dance himself.

“Uh, I dunno,” he says. “Notes are, uh… cool.”

That’s all the confirmation you need.

“Mr. Montana’s office. Now.”

This is so freaking unfair! If Ms. Smith hadn’t screamed, too, nothing would have exploded. At least, you’re pretty sure. You don’t start the screaming unit in physics until next week. Ugh, whatever. Nobody ever cares what you think anyway.

“I’d better not see you grab your backpack that brashly again or you won’t be going to the dance!” Mrs. Smith shrieks after you. The floor shakes under your feet. You let the door slam behind you.

“I appreciate your show of respect toward me!” Mrs. Smith calls after you. You close the door gingerly on your way out.

You’re taking the long way to the vice principal’s office, and everywhere you look there are couples caught up in Sadie Hawkins fever. Sarah Nordstrom is making Tyler Dill sign a contract saying he’ll slow dance with her.

Hat Dale and No-Hat Dale are skipping class to hang out romantically near a window.

You peer into the back alleyway. Looks like Tara just asked Nicole to go to the dance with her and they’re sharing a celebratory cigarette.

Outside, Dan Delacroix and Jan Delafield are basking in the sun and the warmth of their love for one another.

Denny and Jon are laughing mirthfully at how easy life has become now that they have decided to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance together.

Jeez, could these people be rubbing it in any more? You’re going to lose your freaking mind if you don’t find a date soon.

But first things first: You need to report to the vice principal’s office.

You push open the door, and there he is: your vice principal, Mr. Montana. He tips his hat.

Dang, Mr. Montana looks good today.

You feel a little weird thinking that about your vice principal, but to be fair, Mr. Montana is only 15 years old. He got hired to be an administrator right out of eighth grade after he got a standing ovation for doing a backflip when he accepted his middle school diploma.

You heard he grew up on a farm in North Dakota, wrangling cows, farming chickens, building fences shirtless in the hot summer sun…

Whoa. You drifted off for a second. You snap out of it and focus your eyes on Mr. Montana again.

He is sitting across the desk from you, tossing French toast chips into his mouth between sips of carbonated milk. He looks at you expectantly, waiting for you to speak.

Mr. Montana tips his hat at you. “Well, that’s quite all right, little lady. I know sometimes life can be frustrating for an eighth grade gal, and you just want to scream. Hell, I’ve been known to let out a bellow here and there when I get upset with a misbehaving student.”

“Well, it’s no problem at all,” Mr. Montana says.

He winks, spins his hat around on his wrist, puts it back on his head, stands up, bows at the waist, sits down, and winks again. Wow.

“Heh heh. Well, I suppose I do rule. Thank you kindly, young lady,” Mr. Montana says.

He winks, spins his hat around on his wrist, puts it back on his head, stands up, bows at the waist, sits down, and winks again. Wow.

Mr. Montana opens his mouth and lets out a bellow as deep and sonorous as a whale’s.

“Whoa there, little lady! You fell out of your chair while I was bellowing. I had to pick you up off the floor. Are you all right?”

“Well, I’ll be darned. I hope I don’t have to do too much disciplinin’ or chaperonin’ at the dance, because I’d love to attend it with you.”

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