DECORAH, Iowa—What started off as an upstanding social outing for area teenagers quickly turned into a display of debauchery following the playing of the Billy Idol classic hit “Mony Mony” on Saturday.
The song was played about two hours into a teen dance at the Harold and Inez Gustafson Recreational Center in the heart of Decorah. The local Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches had sponsored the dance and had invited area high school students to attend.
“We thought it would be a good idea to bring young Christians together to enjoy one another’s company and move rhythmically to some harmless tunes,” said the Reverend Howard Oleson of St. John’s Church as he swept empty punch cups, a stray pair of panties, and torn condom wrappers off the rec center gym floor. “Instead, thanks to that numbskull DJ we hired, I witnessed something called ‘felching.’”
The dance started promptly at 7 p.m. with a speech by Father Anson Dunmore from St. Matt’s Catholic Church and a group prayer before Say It Loud Productions disc jockey/owner Sheldon Cullen got the party started with “I Can See Clearly Now” by Gospel Gangstaz, “Flood” by Jars of Clay, and “Higher” by Creed.
“Not my typical opening fare,” said Cullen when reached via cell phone. “I usually like to open with a little GNR, you know, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ or whatever, or AC/DC’s tried-and-true ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’ But with all these men of the cloth standing guard, I thought it best to play it cool.
“At least they weren’t holed up with altar servers somewhere, ya know?” Cullen added.
By most accounts, the teenage attendants weren’t really feeling the vibe either. Many of them stood on the outskirts of the dance floor; the dancing populace consisted of six dateless ladies and the occasional male goofball running across the gym.
But at 9:02 p.m., Cullen, who was operating his playlist from iTunes software, meant to click on the somber “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas when he accidentally double-clicked the neighboring “Mony Mony.”
Instinct took over. The teens let out a collective howl and sprinted for the center of the room, all yelling out the traditional reply to Idol’s verse: “Hey! Hey what? Get laid, get fucked!” This phrase was repeated eight times throughout the course of the song, growing in intensity with each repitition.
The timeless Billy Idol song "Mony Mony" sends Eastern Iowa teens into a sexualized frenzy.
By the time the song reached the “ride the pony” part, no fewer than 18 female dancers had removed their tops and many of the boys were also strutting around shirtless, clad only in boxers and socks. Simultaneously, a clandestine vodka-spiking had occurred at the punch bowl, and word quickly spread of the new alcoholic menu item.
Cullen, noticing the explosion of repressed sexual electricity in the room, followed the Idol tune with Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On.” At this point the teens—many of whom had fruit punch–stained faces and clothes due to urgent consumption of the spiked drink—paired off and began what can best be described as “sexual calisthenics.” Those who were without partners began breaking furniture and/or participating in fisticuffs.
With the clergymen taking shelter in closets or outside the building, the fracas continued for another three songs (“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails, “Add It Up” by Violent Femmes, and the aforementioned “You Shook Me All Night Long”) before Cullen calmed things down by tossing on Extreme’s “More Than Words.”
With the spiked punch bowl exhausted and bodily fluids expelled, the students made a break for the door. Rumor has it that most of the kids were in search of Class of 2002 graduate Derek Goebe, who is old enough and lame enough to buy the supplies for a raging kegger.
Oleson said this would probably be the last time the spiritual community tries to host any sort of entertainment activity, although the reasoning might have more to do with finances than morals.
“There’s no fucking way the rec center returns our security deposit now,” Oleson said.