You all know the scene.
Junior. High. School. Dance.
You’d think they’d just call it a punch bowl meet-up.
In junior high, I, more than many, felt the pain of social awkwardness. I could list off more books I’d read in the last week than the number of girls’ names I knew. My free time was spent messing around with my graphing calculator. “Socializing” was something to be feared, not loved.
Here’s the weird thing, though. I loved school dances.
Maybe not in junior high, but by the time high school hit, so did my feet on the dance floor.
I had been raised on church dances, where local youth would gather at the church building and, well, dance. No need to bring dates. Just ask a random girl and away you go.
Of course, in high school a little more planning was required.
I remember my first “real” dance was junior prom, and I asked a girl in (what I thought was) a creative way: I printed out an invitation, put it in a bottle and then froze it in a block of ice.
Then I left it at her doorstep, rang the bell and booked it out of there.
We went to the dance, and I thought it was really fun, but it wasn’t until later I found out the bottle I used wasn’t waterproof. My invitation, by the time she probably found it, was only so much illegible pulp. Luckily, she found out from a friend who had sent it to her.
This set the standard for my dating life thereafter: fun but embarrassing in hindsight.
I’m not particularly adept in social spheres, though I’ve gotten better over the years. Couple that with a natural impulsiveness and my social life is no longer a mystery.
I seem to swing between two extremes socially: passive hesitation leading to extreme extroversion. Dances filled the need for me to connect with another person, for better or for worse. They acted as a pressure valve to let out my stress over my (lack of) relationships with others.
I’d like to say it’s all behind me now, that I am a more complete person today, a consummate professional. In some ways that is true.
But I still feel the allure of the dance, perhaps now more acutely than ever.
Homecoming week (or week-and-a-half, depending on how you’re counting) is full of activities ranging all over the map. Sports games, awards ceremonies, charity drives and even rubber duck races combine to celebrate WSU.
Still, there is one event, for me, standing above them all.
The homecoming dance.
I may not be good at dancing but I’ll dance all the same.