The Most Terrifying Creatures on Earth


Friday night, I had the joy of attending a high school dance as a chaperone. This is not something I make a habit of and truthfully, I was just there for work. Can I just say, it shocks me that there are people in the world patient enough to surround themselves with these creatures on a daily basis. High School teachers, I bow down to you.

Even if you don't agree with me about the youths, admit this is the most terrifying place on earth.
Even if you don’t agree with me about the youths, admit this is the most terrifying place on earth.

So as I sat, yes sat, Indian style criss-cross apple sauce (don’t you know that isn’t PC these days?) at the edge of the gym, I sat back and marveled at these truly terrifying creatures. The rave theme lent itself to some unique outfit choices. But mostly it was a whole lot of cheer shorts (oh, those were the days), knee-high socks, and neon. And even more grinding.

Do you remember grinding? That thing so many of us did, openly rubbing on each other in public. When I think back, I cringe. We did that in front of our most beloved teachers? What did they think of us as they watched us mimic adult activities with clothes on, merely hours after thoughtful conversation in AP class?

Given, I cannot dance. I once was dirty dancing with a guy in college and he kind of stops and goes, can you hear the beat? Oh I can hear it, but I definitely can’t find it. Don’t rain on my super white girl parade. Just let me do my thang.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse “shorty got low.” And that’s when I realized just how truly terrifying they were. These people are allowed to drive? They’re allowed to make major life decisions? They’re allowed to have sex with each other? Heebie jeebies like whoa.

It’s an overused quote but a good one, “Youth is wasted on the young.”


I look back and I don’t feel wildly different from the 16 year-old who was doing exactly what they were. I’ve had a ton of life experience since then but my values, personality, and hairstyle haven’t changed a bit. Obviously my dance moves have. Even when I think back on 22-year-old Nadine, I’m astounded by her tenacity. She drank how much? She managed to stay out until the bars closed? Yes, I still feel like that girl too, but my habits are nothing like hers.

Terrifying as they may be, I love getting to work with high school students. Could I work with classrooms full of them, in person, every day? No, probably not. But working with them reminds me of how much life has changed and how much it stays the same. Their worries, fears, and thrills are the same that mine were. Some are even the same today. And that girl who is “backing it up” is the future. She could be President, a movie star, or someones Mom (hopefully not any time soon). She may not realize her potential yet. And someday she’ll look back on all those times she spent a Friday night grinding on some gross high school boy and laugh, just as I did Friday night.

But until then, she’s a little terrifying.

  • This is why I am a high school librarian. I get to work with teenagers on a daily basis, but I don’t have regularly scheduled classes other than my homeroom. The thought of going into the classroom with classes of them on a daily basis makes me cringe.

    Ironically enough, (I’m honestly not even trying to promote myself here) my post today just happened to be about the time I found a used condom in one of my school library books. Teenagers are gross.

  • I agree they are the most terrifying creatures. When I have a teenage patient and I see how they dress and act I feel like saying “when i was your age” kind of speech. What is with the half shirts and high waist shorts…that look isn’t working for me 🙂 Sheesh when did I get so old?

  • Cat

    haha this is brilliant. It’s amazing how much I feel I haven’t changed until I spend my time around actual teenagers and I must say am pretty horrified! Oh god is that what I used to be like…!! x

  • JC

    Can we talk about how half of them look like they are actually in their twenties, hello boobs and muscles. I was flat chested until I was 22!!

  • Haha – it’s amazing. I don’t feel my age at all but then there are times that I think I sound just like my mom and her “old friends”… who don’t seem so “old” anymore … Eek!
    Much love, Bailey from Vanilla Blonde

  • I also cringe when I think back on so much of high school and I can only imagine how interesting going back to a highschool dance now would be! haha I think it’s such an important time of life that goes by so quickly and we don’t realize it until after the fact– as most things in life seem to go!

  • It is terrifying to thing about as a parent .lol..I work with kids and the trust my jr. high is ten times worse.

  • I mostly still feel 16 years old, until I go to get up off the couch too fast and my lower back hurts… Then I feel my current 34 years old!

  • Yeah, sounds about like an every day work day for me. (I teach high school theatre.)

  • I’m a middle and high school teacher, and I can honestly say that chaperoning dances is one of the most interesting times of the year. Who are your students when (they think) you aren’t looking? You’ll learn a lot!

  • Haha! Yes, they are terrifying creatures for sure. Yikes!! I haven’t been back to my high school in a long time but my reunion is coming up. I imagine it will feel mostly the same way as this…. ha

  • Haha! This is so accurate.

  • I loved working with teenagers. There were times I wanted to strangle them, but I loved working with them more one on one or in small groups where you could really get to know them. I think it’s partly because I still feel like a teenager at times though lol. I will say, I’ve never chaperoned a high school dance and have no desire to. Once the youth I worked with wanted me to chaperone their Halloween dance and I was all “Hell to the no.” I didn’t want to have to watch them. On the other hand – I have hosted dances for jr. high and OMG those are the best because they are so awkward and adorable and awesome.

  • I could NEVER EVER be a high school teacher. When I was around my little brother’s friends (he is 18) I was constantly thinking, “I didn’t act like that, did I?” But the truth is, I probably did. For that, I am glad that high school is a phase we can grow out of.

  • bri

    “Can you hear the beat?” OUCH!
    Whenever I interact with a teen, I always wonder if I acted like that when I was their age. The answer is most definitely and that’s just embarrassing and scary!

  • Yeah I so hear you, the young what can one say they are so bloody frustrating………….

  • Cringed and shuddered through this whole post – the memories it brought back were painful. But boy was it a rite of passage.

  • Marianna @ Delightfully Dunn

    This is so true. I was actually thinking the other day how so much has changed since high school yet 9 times out of 10 I still feel like that 16 year old with awkward posture. Great post!!

  • Chaperoning is definitely an eye opening experience. I haven’t had the pleasure of chaperoning high school kids… BUT I have had the pleasure of chaperoning lots of events for the chapter of my sorority at the local university and I have to say that sometimes when I watch them I wonder if I looked like them when I was in college and I wonder what my advisors thought of me. I would like to think that perhaps I wasn’t that bad… but who am I kidding… I probably was!

  • oh me, I KNOW!!! I always feel that way when I watch them!!! The worst part is I’m usually caught between them and their parents – and while I want to protect their youth, I also have an obligation to their parents! Oh babies. Love them.

  • I graduated from high school not too long about but despite the few years difference between the teens and I is just something… weird. We never grind back in high school so to know kids these days are doing that in the cafeteria instead of the club is just.. bleh, disgusting.

  • I’m a high school English teacher and I can confirm that are, most definitely and unarguable, super-gross. And terrifying. And so entertaining, encouraging, frustrating, inspiring, and infuriating all at the same time. It’s a hot mess, but it’s always interesting!

    • Egads! Two seconds after I post about being an English teacher, I see a TYPO in my comment! The horror! The humiliation!!!

      If you need me, I’ll be hiding by the coffee pot.

  • Told my nephew to sit Indian style. He said “You’re not supposed to say Indian, it’s Native American.” Thanks, 5 year old! bahahaha

  • Kym

    This post made me laugh out loud .. and then my stomach turned thinking about the grinding business I did at dances in front of teachers. ACK!!! I bow down to YOU for making it through that on a Friday night lol. xo

  • “I once was dirty dancing with a guy in college and he kind of stops and goes, can you hear the beat? Oh I can hear it, but I definitely can’t find it.” omygosh!! You are too funny.

  • And I’m entering the lions den… signing up to be a high school teacher for next year! But seriously, youth is wasted on them… which is why I refuse to act like a “grown up” at age 26!
    Enter my current giveaway!

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