Grinding – rubbing bodies on each other – is distasteful, rude and has no place at a school dance.
Should Dedham ban it like some Rhode Island schools do, specifically mentioning in is rule book?
Really, it doesn’t matter much.
What does matter is that there are two distinct subjects involved in policing the grinders: there are the two offending “dancers” and there is the adult who stops it.
Everyone knows the grownups are watching closely. But the two grinders and all the other students in the hall are watching exactly what the parents – or their surrogates – do.
Offensive as grinding may be, it is just one of dozens of dances that have had parents screaming to stop the music and separate the sexes over many years.
Dances have boys and girls bumping and grinding and touching each other for decades. Slow dances are even more dangerous because the sexes embrace in the most intimate way.
This problem – intimate touch – has been around forever. That is because dance is by nature a precursor of physical love. It goes with the territory. It is not interloping, it is training for being with to the opposite sex.
Kids will try physical sex behind adults’ backs, no doubt.
However, there are rules during school dances, and students are trying to figure out what the rules are. Not the written rules. No, they can read those and know a dance is forbidden at a school function. But what the young people need to know is just how strict the parents or their surrogates are going to be.
How will grownups approach a clutching couple?
Not horrified, not shocked, not repelled because that means the youngsters have succeeded in taking control of the relationship.
Just let them know they are going farther than they should.
Most words are superfluous at this point.
My own catholic high school gave parents a little phrase to use when separating a couple.
“Leave room for the Holy Ghost,” they were to say. This was ridiculous. By its very definition, the Holy Ghost is non-material. Kids laughed. This was 45 years ago.
Kids are testing just how far grownups will let them go.
Grownups fail if they do nothing.
They are doing it right if all parties feel the situation was handled as a matter among young adults.