Hysterical scene from Bobbing from Watermelons, by April J. Moore, involving a classic Pat Benatar song, high school prom & a dance-off with 2 moms.
Quick Setup: Middle-aged Helen is on a quest to reinvent herself after realizing she leads a boring, uninspired life as a mom, wife and part time food columnist for the local paper. In this scene, Helen is volunteering at her daughter's high school prom when she is confronted with her nemesis, Nadine.
Sidenote: April, the author, always pictured Helen as Melissa McCarthy.
Excerpt from Bobbing for Watermelons:
By now, more students arrive and stare at the tense group with Nadine trapped in the middle. The DJ seems enthralled with what’s going on, too, turning down the music and watching us with amusement. “This one’s for all you parents and teachers out there. Let’s revisit 1984 and show these kids how to dance.”
A low murmur rumbles through the small crowd of students. I doubt they find his comment amusing, but my ears perk up as I hear the unmistakable drumbeat of “Love Is a Battlefield.” I. Love. This. Song. I would have killed for the leopard print skirt Pat Benatar wore in the video. It’s in this moment I realize I’m too weak to resist Benatar’s sultry voice. She calls to me, beckons me to join her in what I surmise is the best show of girl power I’d ever seen. Subtly, I begin to shimmy and move ever so slowly toward Nadine, encroaching upon her personal space. She gasps and shoots me a scathing look.
I move in closer and shimmy a little more, this time adding more shoulder action. I haven’t the slightest idea what I’m doing, but all I see is Pat Benatar in her bizarre, yet oddly cool, rag-like dress, waging a type of dance war against a vicious looking pimp.
With no response from Nadine, I stretch out my arms and shake my chest . . . ouch, that hurts. Instead I opt to snap my fingers and swing my arms like I’m straight out of West Side Story, daring Nadine to join me in a dance war of our own.
Oh! I probably sat through that video a million times. I remember wishing I could have an opportunity to dance like that. It seems ridiculous now, seeing as I’m the only person dancing and probably the last person people want to see shaking any part of her body. Then Nadine abruptly breaks her stance and shimmies. Her glaring eyes lock with mine as she snaps her fingers and shakes her boobs at me.
“Bring it on,” I whisper, our faces a mere six inches apart.
“Don’t worry. I plan to,” she says in a threatening tone. She takes her turn at her best rendition of the video’s choreography.
Crap. She’s not half bad.
I’ll have to bump it up a notch. She finishes her ten-second dance rendition and stares me down, her smugness taunting me to compete.
We’re almost at the part of the song where Pat and the rest of the girls scare the pimp with their highly coordinated dancing and menacing faces. With my new, fun hairstyle, and my sexy new outfit, I feel pretty damn invincible.
I throw my arms up and pump them in the air, shake and shimmy some more, and then whip my head around in head-banger fashion.
Nadine mirrors my moves, only longer and more dramatic.
The song is winding down, but I have to drag it out so I’m the last one to dance—she can’t have the satisfaction of finishing last. I shake, shimmy, spin, snap, whip my head around, and then I do it again, then again. She’s not thrilled. In fact, I detect smoke issuing from her nostrils. She looks like she wants to pounce on me. And, to my bewilderment, she does.
For a split second, all I see are two palms coming at me. They hit the front of my shoulders, throwing me off balance. The growing crowd gasps, which could be because of Nadine’s shove or because I’m about to take them all out.
I stumble backward, flapping my arms hysterically as if I’m about to lift myself up and fly. Panic sets in. A freakishly strong ninety-pound stick pushed me over and now I’m going to crack my tailbone.
As my new heels slip out from underneath me, I’m miraculously caught under my armpits. A scrawny kid in a tux is struggling to hold me up. I scramble to my feet in order to relieve his straining biceps. I try to sweep my hair out of my eyes, but it sticks to my sweaty forehead.
“That was so uncool,” a girl standing next to my lanky hero proclaims as she points at Nadine. Other students chime in with “yeah!” and “no kidding!” The music stops and the DJ says into the microphone, “Not cool, lady.”
Even though it appears the crowd is on my side, I flush with embarrassment. My attempt to have a little fun and lighten the tense mood among the adults turned out to be immature, moronic, and embarrassing. I smooth out my outfit as if to recover some dignity.
Nadine is strangely quiet. Not one utterance resembling an apology. Not one gasp of disbelief or twinge of guilt at what she did. She’s staring off to my right, into the gathering of students. I want nothing more than to hold her head down in the bowl of punch.
Then I get a sickening feeling from my throat down to my gut, as if I’d swallowed a cactus. I think I know what—or who—Nadine is staring at. I turn around. my daughter Zoe and her friend Becky are standing right behind me.
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