I Swear On My Pigsticks

Henry Hotdog (age 8) and I had to swear on our pigsticks. We were in the front seat of the car, held hostage by the tween girls in the backseat who were withholding information until we swore on our pigsticks. On the way to the dance they’d both giggled about boys, who they liked, who they wanted to have a dance with.

“So who do want to dance with?” I’d asked to a hysteria of giggles.

“You have to swear on your pigsticks that you won’t tell anyone” the second little traveller replied.

“How do we do that? What are my pigsticks?”

She raised both hands to her lips holding two fingers together, thumbs pointed upwards like guns, she kissed them and raised them to back of her head. With the two fingers now pointing like ears as she twinkled them.

“I swear pig sticks” she said with the seriousness of Dumbledore

“You have to say that, you have to swear pig sticks” said her partner in dance crime

Henry and I gave each other the side eye at the traffic lights, we kissed our guns, placed them above our heads and wiggled our new finger ears “I swear pig sticks” we said in unison.

They told us. Words spilled out like a flowing volcano. They came in over the top of each other. He said, she said, we heard, he likes her, she likes him. His little brother told a girl on the bus that lives in our compound that he said that she said that they said. Henry was transfixed, gagging for more details. We all giggled while the antics of the lead up to the dance were shared, someone had asked someone, someone liked someone else. When we arrived at the school they leapt out of the car.

“Have fun, good luck!”

On the drive home Henry Hotdog asked how a boy was meant to know which girl to ask to dance. Like it was some sort of hidden secret that he’d need to master by Grade 6.

“It’s not like that anymore. Girls can ask boys, boys can ask girls. Boys can dance with boys, girls can dance with girls. I’d say just pick the person you feel most comfortable to dance with.”

I thought about my friend Tom who’d told me the suggestion he’d been given as a teen. After a rejection of a dance request he’d been shattered, he’d shared his humiliation with his best mate. “Next time” his mate had suggested “if you ask someone to dance and they turn their nose up and say no ‘oh I’m sorry, I think you misheard me, I didn’t ask if you’d like to dance I said you look fat in those pants’.

I’d forgotten about the horror. The sweaty palms, the waiting until the very last song of the night. The complete awfulness of the pick me.

When she arrived home she bounced from the car.

“How was it?”

“It was great!” she grinned

“Did you dance?”

“Yes” she blushed

“The last dance?”

“Yes! I just went and asked him”

When we made it inside she hugged me goodnight “I’m so happy Mum, it was so cool, I had so much fun. I’m so happy.”

“That must have taken so much courage to go and ask.”

“Yep, but I did it!”

Thankfully times have changed/changing, I swear, on pigsticks.

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