Of mosh and men

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

In 1979, 10 of us eighth-graders were recruited to make a dance video for our school. Burgundy and gold polyester skirts and tunics were home sewn, and a "Studio 54" routine choreographed. My dance partner was the foxy Steve, who reminded me of Mick Jagger. My status on earth had peaked as we lost ourselves in darkness under a glittery disco sphere.

There are days I still long to shake it on the stage, but opportunities for disco have thinned out like my pre-menopausal eyelashes. Sure, there's the occasional wedding reception or step aerobics, but a Charleston step at the Y always turns my hair prematurely blue.

I love the night life; I like to boogie, but my children insist Donna Summer and these living room moves are irrelevant. In fact, my sons don't dance. They mosh. They thrash. They bleed.

The 13-year-old son attended his first hardcore concert days ago and proudly parades assorted bruises sustained in the pit. The screamo band was sweet, but for him the evening's highlight was his buddy's knuckles connecting with the jaw of a fellow mosher. The mosher fell to the dance floor knocked out cold. My son reports it was awesome as the dude was helped to stand before again collapsing unconscious.

Wow. Perhaps 13 is too young for slamming in the pits. As a fresh thrasher, he might inadvertently bloody the wrong brow or tug the wrong piercing. His older brother is a veteran mosher and celebrator of mild concussions. He is fearless for the "wall of death" where moshers near the stage are encouraged to part the waters then rush each other at full speed.

I'm told the energy and adrenaline in such arenas is otherworldly, but me, I like to jam with my American Bandstanders Red Bull-free.

The genre of music my eldest son's band plays is bone chilling and sends most adults sprinting for Xanax or the Bible. Practicing downstairs several times a week, I have yet to hear syncopation tempting me to shake my groove thing. It does beckon more insulation for unfinished basement walls.

Our dance practices before the video shoot were enchanting. Twirled and dipped by Jagger, I lived my PG-13 Saturday Night Fever out loud. Pages in my Judy Blume diary were flooded with "STEVE AND I WILL HAVE THREE CHILDREN AND A PUG!"

But hormones and newfound glamour rattled my fragile angsty soul. Maybe the pressure to dance in my first film is why I crashed and burned, annihilating any chance of adopting a pug with Mick.

A trace of DNA on the gene I would someday pass to male offspring with a preference for physical damage mixed with dance -- showed up in one critically mortifying moment during dress rehearsal.

My inner mosh princess drilled a bony elbow backwards into Steve's eye socket.

Somewhere Judy Blume echoed, "No teen ever dies of embarrassment. Awkward and aimless, you're still beautiful."

But freakin' Judy Blume was full of crap. Even with icepacks, the swelling of his eye was fast and furious. I wanted to die.

Maybe I share more in common with my teens than I imagined. I remember living for Friday nights and losing myself in dance. Their stage diving, crowd surfing and headbanging are what the hustle and freak were for us.

I just wear my mosh scars on the inside.

Michele Ranard sincerely hopes moshing is just a phase. She is a professional counselor/tutor and freelancer with a twisted blog at www.cheekychicmama.com.