That Awkward Middle School Dance

For the past two weeks I’ve been relocating every single piece of shit that I own – and then some – into the all new Chowderpad.  Forgive me.  For those who care, I’m still very much alive.    

I decided to spend the first night that I didn’t have to run out and buy ‘stuff’ by testing the smoke alarm in my 600 sq. ft. dwelling.  It works.  Not only is it loud, but there are two of them that beep at the same time.  They talk too.  A female voice told me to stop cooking and to exit the building immediately along with all of my pissed off neighbors.

After about ten minutes of listening to the incessant, loud beeping, I decided to just turn the radio on.  I couldn’t find the clicker to change the hippy-music station that was on but quickly decided that it was the way to drown out the sound.  My new neighbors have two good reasons to hate me now.

After a couple songs I realized why I prefer head banging and mosh pits over club and booty-grinding music.  A flood of awkward memories drifted into my subconscious, and one of the memories that stood out was my 8th grade Halloween Dance.


I kinda looked like this. But skinnier. And geekier.

I remember being absolutely stoked. Not just because Halloween is my favorite holiday, but because it was the first legit school dance ever.  It was gonna be off the hizzy for shizzy: costumes, decorations, spiked punch, chicks and heavy metal and shit. But heavy on the chicks part.  All I needed was a sweet-ass costume to reel ‘em in…

The days leading up to the big dance peeled off the calendar, and before I knew it, I was cart-wheeling out of my mom’s Caravan in front of the school in a badass Zorro getup.  (Editors Note:  You pussy.)

Ok, two things:

1.)      A Marketing professor once told me that minivans are appealing to women because they look like a pregnant woman.  Ironically, that man was never married.

2.)     And never go to a middle school dance dressed as Zorro.

The Wonder Years Adam S

That’s not Paul from The Wonder Years on the left. That’s me.

My cape fluttered as I stormed through the front hall of the school.  I could hear the music blaring from inside the gym as I excitedly gave my event pass to the ticket zombie (volunteer mom).

The hallway leading to the music was decorated with hundreds of Black and Orange balloons, spider webs, skeletons, monsters, event posters and a few stragglers outside the gym.  Everybody turned as I stormed past.  It was definitely the badass costume, I thought.  I was a virtual clone of the dashing Zorro, but with less chest hair and more pimples, and probably a boner too.

After turning many heads I exploded into the entrance of the gym, took two steps inside the door and stopped dead in my tracks.  It was at that moment when I realized I was the only clown in the whole gym dressed up – and not just any Halloween costume – one that involved a cape, pleather boots, a penciled-on mustache and black tights.  That my mom made.

I back peddled before anyone really noticed but they saw.  They saw everything.  The mustache is probably what really burned me.  Or maybe it was the black nylons.

There I stood, in a dark corner of the hallway out of sight, contemplating my exit plan.  My heart felt like it was gonna blow up and start my face on fire.  Was there a memo that went out that I didn’t get or something?  I thought it was Halloween?

My sweaty fingers peeled the mask off, exposing flush skin on my cheeks and forehead.  In milliseconds I’d gone from standing on top of the world to having the world standing on top of me – smashing the hollow toe-tips of my fake leather boots.

At this point I didn’t have an inconspicuous way out unless I spontaneously combusted and the janitor swept up my ashes and dumped my dust pile in the bin.  I couldn’t go back in that gym.  At the other end of the hallway I noticed a Ping-Pong table full of uber dorks.  Go figure – they were all wearing costumes. Clearly, this is where I belonged.

I just stood there watching geeks whiffing and digging boogers.  Then they argued.  Then they whiffed.  Then they argued.  In the meantime I stood there shamefully peeling off layers of my once-proud costume.  All I could think was just blend in, Chowderhead, just blend in.  Pretend you are coat rack or something.

And that’s how I spent the rest of the night…


Everyone has a ridiculously funny story from their awkward middle school years like this.  What an awkward time transitioning from kid to adult.  But the moral here is it’s important to never ever ever stop being a kid. 😉

– Happy Blogging, you dorky Chowderheads \m/  


Minivan undergoing a C-section.


  1. Vanessa-Jane Chapman

    I always think that ‘humiliation’ is right up there with ‘unfairness’ as being things which you never really get over, whenever you think back to occasions where you have experienced either, those feelings get stirred up all over again! Speaking of which, your picture up there has stirred up those old feelings of unfairness in me that Kevin never ended up with Winnie!

    • Adam S

      Dude, I totally agree. I watched that show religiously and I was always pullin’ for Kev. Winnie was such a babe back then. That show was one of my biggest inspirations to write. It moved me, and I always saw myself as Kevin..

  2. jackiewellington21

    I love this post….It reminded me of the 8th grade dance. I just arrived in the United States and was encouraged to attend. Some girl came up to me and said, “Nice Costume!” But it was not a costume it was my everyday wear. On the island we wear uniforms, and even though I was in America, my mother made me wear uniforms to school. I was the only one dress in uniform everyday.

  3. CombatBabe

    Eek! That was painful to read. I’m sure you’re well over it now, but I feel for the 8th grader in you. 🙂

  4. G

    That must have royally sucked! Both middle school and moving (throw in almost burning down your new place and causing neighbor issues.) Glad you are alive!

  5. Cathy Ulrich

    Awww. I think Zorro is a great, sexy costume. Too bad the “cool” kids refused to go along with the plan. And it IS important to never stop being a kid, Adam.

  6. Fat Bottom Girl

    I have a hard time believing you weren’t cool, because I know I was cool and I would’ve been sporting a costume!! hahaha I think what scared everyone was probably the tights! And I’m sure that was because your manhood was already huge in junior high!! hahahaha

    • Adam S

      I don’t think they were ‘technically’ tights…I can’t remember. High school fogged my memory, if you know what I’m sayin’. Oh yeah, and my Johnson was already at 14 inches by twelve. It’s crazy. Corn fed diet I guess!

  7. Madame Weebles

    Wait, you mean that awkward time is supposed to END? I didn’t get THAT memo, obviously. I cringed a little reading your post—but I bet you looked all badass and shit.

    • Adam S

      Yeah, no shit. I concur, Weebs. That’s what I hated about the ‘clubbing’ years. Can you picture this Chowderhead on a dance floor? 😡

      I looked pretty sweet…

  8. calahan

    It could have been worse in that you walked into the gym during a meeting of the anti-Zorro League of Jr. High Students. That would’ve really sucked.

  9. diannegray

    I’m sure you looked great dressed as Zorro! This is the reason I NEVER go fancy dress to any party. My nightmare is arriving to find everyone else looking casual and me looking like a dork. I’m really glad you’re still alive 😀

    • Adam S

      I ain’t gonna lie, I looked pretty badass. I’ll have to look for the pictures. I have them all somewhere. Thanks for caring, yo. I’ll make my rounds soon. \m/

  10. speaker7

    I find the people in middle school who were too cool to wear costumes at a Halloween party are the present-day adults who are incredibly lame.

    • Adam S

      TOTALLY agree with your assessment, Speaker seVen. Fucking lame-o’s wouldn’t know fun if it slapped them on the tight ass. Let it hang out, was always my philosophy.

  11. littlemisswordy

    Welcome back! I didn’t want to get all stalker-ish, but I was this close! 😉 Great relatable post! I think we’ve all had our Zorro moment/moments and some of us/me just last week.

    • Adam S

      Right! I’ll never drive one of those fuckers. Even If I have twelve kids one day, I’d rather tie them to the roof than pack up the goof bus. (No offense if you drive one)

      P.S. I love the stick figure families… Phhhht!

  12. talesfromthemotherland

    Oh those Wonder Years… how they linger in our memories. Good or bad. Something tells me you’d be pretty popular in that costume today! (Ever notice that your gravatar looks like you’re wearing a mask- Zoro’ish in appearance, vs sunglasses?) Glad you’re alive. I was getting worried. But trying not to be stalkerish. But worried. 😉

  13. lillianccc

    Yikes. That’s why I tended to avoid dances in general unless there was relatively good chance I wouldn’t mess up on the dress code. And even then, the word semi-formal sent my 8th grade self into an anxiety-riddled state because I wasn’t sure if my polyester/cotton/acrylic blend dress was semi-formal appropriate or not.
    Also, I was totally making a joke the last time I said I was worried you had decided to relocate to somewhere remote. I didn’t think you’d actually take that seriously. In any case, I’m glad you’re back.

    • Adam S

      Hahaha! I’m now in a very remote part of the northern tundra. The Internet signal is weak and so am I. Food is scarce here. I ate snow for dinner again tonight. frankly, I’m getting sick of it. I can’t take it anymore. I’m going for a hike now with my snow shoes to clear my head.

  14. Maddie Cochere

    That was a wee painful to read, Adam.
    The mom in me wants to hug you. The kid in me wants to be at the dance with you and go off in a dark corner by the ping pong table and make out. (I realize when you read both of those sentences together, it’s a bit creepy.)

    • Adam S

      The song “Dancing in the Dark” comes to mind, Maddie. Don’t forget to put your retainer headgear on tonight before you fall asleep! As far as the Tigers and Indians go, let’s up the ante since you’re feeling confident:

      One entire week of blog posts dedicated to the winner. Five of them. You up for it? 🙂

  15. aaforringer

    Used to work security and did a middle school dance. It is there I learned what hell smell likes, Take 200 middle school kids hitting various stages of puberty, place them in a poorly ventilated overheated gym, all girls must wear too much perfume, and all boys must wear too much cologne or some sort of spray on body deodrant. Mix for two hours with some boys and some girls producing flop sweat while acuatly dancing within a yard of the opposite sex. Meanwhile all children will be sweating while listening to pop music and yelling at each other to be heard over the music.

    There you have it, what some portions of hell must smell like.

  16. Wendy Brydge

    Fun post, Adam! Quite enjoyable. It was a little sad, and I did cringe a few times, but hey, sometimes you just have to be able to look back and laugh at yourself, right? As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather get those geeky, embarrassing times over with at a young age rather than have them hit now in adulthood. Because now? Pft! I’m SO cool! I’m cooler than cool. Hell… I’m so cool I’m on my way to becoming your Post of the YEAR! Wow. I think I need some sort of monetary compensation for gracing your blog with my presence …

    Lord, I’m SO kidding right now. In 6th grade, I was head of the “Library Security” — an organization two friends and I invented to keep from freezing our asses off outside at recess when it was -30ºC. True story….. *facepalm*

    • Adam S

      Dear Head of Library Security,
      Your awkward years pale in comparison. Mine haven’t ended, unfortunately. Damn you, awkward years! Damn you to hell!! Ok, I’m done.

  17. becca3416

    The mini van getting a c-section shattered me. Now I am on the floor with ab cramps and I can’t get up and I am late for a hair appointment and omg come help me!

    But on a serious note, we ALL had that moment. If you say you didn’t, you are lying. Mine was when I wore my shirt inside out on picture day, when I fell down the bleachers in front of everyone at lunch, that time when I used to have to wear a retainer with a fucking tooth attached to it and remove it to eat….. etc. etc. etc. Very entertaining post as usual handsome!

    • Adam S

      Oh my god, I swear, that was one of the funniest fucking things you’ve ever typed – hands down!! I read it four times and I was rolling on the ground thinking about the tooth and the bleacher tumble! You’re a trip, darling, I swear. I think it’s pretty cool that we both have a shitty fake tooth. That makes us two peas in a pod, right?

      Thanks for the laugh! \m/

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