The year was 1986. It was summer, I hadn’t quite turned thirteen and I was spending a long weekend in a camp with all the other kids whose parents were attending an APEX conference on the Gold Coast. There had to be a couple of hundred of us ranging in ages from 5 to 15 years old. It was madness.
But being quick to make friends and always the first to put my hand up to try a new activity I was in my element. I had a ball.
My main responsibility though was to watch out for my two younger brothers aged 10 and 6. We were put in separate dorms with kids our own ages but I was under instructions from the oldies to check up on my brothers from time to time especially at night.
Mum (being mum) had packed a pair of pj’s for all of us but my brothers wouldn’t wear theirs unless I wore mine which made the first night interesting. At dinner we were the only kids in pj’s (Ozzie Ostrich to be precise) although the other kids I’d met understood why I was doing it. Just to be safe though I told the boys they didn’t have to wear them after that.
One night we were told that there would be a dance for the older kids. Now I’d never been to a dance before so this was a novel idea for me. I imagined that it would be a bunch of us mucking around with some music in the background. How wrong I was.
Most of the girls knew exactly what they wanted from the night and it wasn’t mucking around. Even back then I knew when I was being chased by girls but I’d always brushed it off to go play footy with my mates. Unfortunately there was no going outside here. We were stuck indoors.
It was just like you’ve seen in so many cheesy teenage movies with the girls sitting on one side of the hall and the guys goofing around on the other. About an hour after we got there no-one had been up for a dance…no-one.
It was about then that I felt a tap on the shoulder. I turned around to see one of the girls my age that’d made it clear on the first day that she liked me. “Do you want to dance with me?” she asked all doe-eyed and obviously a little embarrassed.
I didn’t want to say no outright and make her feel bad. So thinking I was being smart I said “Ok, but only if and when ‘Out of Mind, Out of Sight’ by the Models gets played.” No sooner had I said that then you can guess what song started playing. The boys laughed and said I had to go, so she grabbed my hand and lead me to the dance floor.
I highly doubt you’d call what I did “dancing” but I grooved away the best I could given that I was 12 years old and had never danced before. Turned out we were the only two kids that got up and had a dance the whole night, which actually made me a bit of a celebrity for the rest of the camp.
The funny thing was that after that one dance she quite happily said thank you and left to go back to her friends and I didn’t talk to her again all night. I shrugged my shoulders and went back to goofing around with the boys.
So what’s the moral of the story?
I actually have no idea…but if I had to guess I suspect that if you give a woman the attention she desires, even for five minutes here and there, then she’ll be happy and leave you alone. Which means you can go back to hanging out with your mates and then you’ll be happy. Win/win.
Well, that’s a little over simplified but at least that’s how my 12 year old brain processed it at the time.
Mind you I haven’t seen a whole lot during the years that’s changed my thoughts on that too much either…