It is a rite of passage. All young men go through it. He may be the most talented athlete on the team or the smartest lad in the class. He can be as thin as a toothpick or so fluid you must look twice to be certain his isn’t linked with the ball. Regardless, when the time comes for him to get all dressed up for the dance that celebrates graduation from primary school, most youngsters suddenly become all thumbs. Fortunately, you bought him a snazzy suit from Hudson’s Bay; the one he’d worn so proudly when he performed at the county talent show just last month.
And why shouldn’t he suddenly become so discombobulated? For the first time in his young life he is judged by criteria over which he has little or no control. After all, he comes into this new stage of his life just as he also first enters that phase of puberty when his body grows rapidly but at uncoordinated rates and spurts. One day he finds he doesn’t fit into his favorite pair of pants; the next he feels his neck is so long he looks like a baby giraffe. Worst of all, he feels that every change in his physique is painfully noticeable to those around him. That’s why using money saving Groupons to buy clothes for his ever-changing body makes such good sense. (Especially when they offer up to 65% off boys apparel and free shipping.)
In his mind the person most likely to take note of all these changes is the very one he is expected to escort to their first dance. For some strange reason, the girls are suddenly taller, more graceful and poised. They are as attractive, intelligent, and aware as he is disjointed, awkward and uncomfortable. For the first time in his young life he feels a sense of his own seeming inadequacy at the very time he is expected to be paired up with those whom he has secretly admired from afar. Wouldn’t anybody feel uneasy when thrust into such circumstances?
And yet, while it may seem forever to him, this is only a brief – though painful – passing phase. Yes, he may need to return to Hudson’s Bay for a more stylish and better fitting suit. And he also must learn the more intricate social details needed in this expanded world. But the shaky steps taken at his first dance serve as the foundation upon which he can build the confidence that enables him to take on the challenges that lie ahead.