Are Basement Dances Extinct?

Flippin' Sweet Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

While speaking to a 13-year-old relative at a recent family gathering, I asked, “So what exactly do you and your friends do?” I wanted to know: do 13-year-olds today still do what I did back in the day? Are there still board games and gossip fests and prank calls and slumber parties and hilariously dramatic romantic movies? I was told that 13-year-olds these days “hang out.” I wanted to know what that meant, but all I got was that they don’t really sit around and talk, they maybe sometimes watch movies, they will text people and they sometimes kind of play video games, but not good ones, apparently, because they’re not allowed to play games rated ‘M’ for mature. And no, they don’t wander parks doing drugs, harassing old people and trying their hands at graffiti (I did ask).

So, fine, kids at this age, especially in the burbs, do “whatever.” They “hang out.” We did too, I guess. But then I was really heartbroken when I asked about basement dances. One of my favourite things at that age was to gather with my friends in someone’s unfinished basement, munch on chips, sip on pop, turn the lights out and put on the music and just dance. And when the party had been going for a while, someone would inevitably put Under the Bridge or November Rain or even Stairway to Heaven on the tape deck and we’d slow dance—very awkwardly. It was a thrilling, exciting weekend activity, and usually coincided with someone’s birthday.

My usually articulate 13-year-old relative just laughed when I asked about this, the conversation swept along to something else and I never got a clear answer. So maybe some of you out there know: did basement dances go out with the tape deck? Let me know.

I hope not.

—Megan, editor of canadianfamily.ca and CF‘s managing editor

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