Forget about winter.
According to social media posts, the spring prom season is officially underway. Young ladies are talking about the perfect dress, young men are sweating the cost of flowers and limo rides and parents are already complaining about the music.
I’m happy for kids who enjoy the prom, but have to admit school dances scared me to death. Maybe because my dance moves resembled a seizure in progress and my biggest high school honor was winning Geek of the Week. Twice.
The highlight of the prom used to be dancing. This was great for kids who knew how and spent the evening groping each other to “My Girl.”
I never had the pleasure. Once you hear “Buzz off, creep” a few times, the desire to boogie – even badly – vanishes. I was still in junior high when I realized asking a girl to dance meant risking a blow to your heart, not to mention your pride.
But most of my pals loved the prom. And it looks like kids still do.
Maybe because the high school prom may be the last normal dance they attend.
Especially if they go to Princeton University.
The main event on Princeton’s social calendar is the annual Orange and Black Ball, better known as the OBB. It’s a big deal. Or it used to be.
Attendance is now dropping faster than the collective faculty IQ. Probably because the OBB is no longer a social event but an exercise in political correctness.
The main goal of the OBB is no longer to have fun, but to get your dance partner’s official consent to take the floor.
This used to be simple. You’d walk up and say, “Hey. You wanna shake it?” You’d hear “yes” or “no” and move on.
It’s not that simple at the OBB. To make sure no one felt pressured to dance, new rules centered on dance floor consent were written in advance of the 2017 OBB.
The rules were posted on Facebook by Princeton’s office of Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources, & Education (SHARE).
Posters splashed with cool graphics and written tips explaining the new system were spread across campus. The information included these nuggets:
“Going to OBB this Friday? Planning to have a great time tearing up the dance floor with your friends? Great! Check out some tips about what consent on the dance floor looks like!! #OBB #Respect Matters #ConsentIsCool.”
Consent is cool? Sure. But since when is consent hard to recognize? If someone’s dance partner isn’t wearing handcuffs or attached to a leash, you figure they’re not being held hostage. Except maybe at Princeton.
OBB attendees were also advised that saying “Do you wanna dance?” is an “appropriate invitation.” Acceptable responses included: “Absolutely!, Yeah! Let’s do it!,” and “I’d love to!”
“Get lost, loser” was not among the “acceptable responses.”
Dancers were also advised to check in every few steps to make sure their partner was enjoying the experience by asking “Hey, are you still into this?” or saying “We can stop if you aren’t.”
Rules like that would make me want to skip the OBB and spend the night at home playing World War II video games. At least I wouldn’t have to get the enemy’s consent to bomb their capital off the map.
I don't know if the OBB has an official sponsor. But whenever this many weenies gather in one spot, Oscar Mayer hot dogs would be a natural.
Alex McRae is the author of “There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love.” He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org