Before bed each night, my brain likes to treat me to a nice little night cap of all of the humiliating things I’ve done over the years. These memories saunter into my head under the guise of “Remember all the fun trips we’ve taken?” just to rapidly descend into “Here’s a flashback of the time you slipped in a puddle of neon purple vomit on a subway platform while everyone laughed and several people filmed.”
Almost all of my pre-bed cringeworthy flashbacks center around incredibly poor dancing done by me in very public places. The earliest bad dancing memory I have took place in third grade at a class party. All the parents were invited to an end of the year party in Ms. Seldin’s class. I had JUST watched the Genie in a Bottle music video for the first time, and theres a part where she does some sort of belly dance where she wiggles her exposed belly with her hands above her head, and I was INTO IT. I thought it was the coolest shit a human could do with their body, and I did it constantly to any genre of song. Crazy Frog Song? Belly dance. Bye Bye Bye? Belly dance. Blue Christmas? Belly Dance.
Unfortunately for future me and every parent in the room that day, Ms. Seldin decided to put on some pop hits to liven up the class party. Most kids bopped around in a cute age appropriate way, not me. I decided this was my time. I was FINALLY going to get the boy I had a crush on to notice me, more specifically…..notice my hips. The songs started, and I took center stage (the read aloud rug) and raised my hands in the air triumphantly. I awkwardly swished my hips back and forth, completely off the beat of whatever song was playing, with my hands clasped firmly above my head. I also rotated around so everyone could get a FULL view of what was going down.
My poor mother was present, and for her sake I hope she claimed I was adopted. Or dropped on my head as a baby. And the mothers/fathers of the OTHER 8 year old students must have been horrified. Ms. Seldin quickly turned the music down, until the words and beats were almost unintelligable, but that didnt stop me. Not one other student joined me, no one else was really even dancing, but I was committed. At one point I could tell that some other kids were starting to grow irritated, as I was taking up valuable play space on the rug. I rotated and swished and lost all the feeling in my fingers while refusing to end my horrifying display.
Years later, while in High School, I mistakingly watched “Dirty Dancing: Havana nights.” I had found my new belly dance- grinding. For the record, grinding is horrible and I can’t believe we were even allowed to do such a thing on school property during homecoming. At one specific sweet sixteen, the lovely friend who had invited me had pulled out all the stops. She had rented out an event space with a full dance floor, crazy laser lights, and a DJ.
I was excited, sweaty, wearing way too much “Essence soft touch mousse concealer” in a color 3 shades darker than any skin color I’ve ever been, and had two flasks taped to the insides of my thighs with duct tape that were on the verge of falling off (due to the previously mentioned sweating). I somehow made it INTO the party (there was a parent checking for coherance and alcohol bottles at the door) and was ready to dirty dance. The music started and I snuck off to the bathroom to find some liquid courage. I took a couple shots then shared the warm sweat covered flask of 3 month old svedka with some other drunk 15 year olds before hitting the dance floor.
I was what the kids call “tipsy” (which, again, is horrible as I was a little baby 15 year old full of svedka and unearned confidence). I found some older boy on the dance floor that had once let me eat his fries at study hall, so I knew he was down. to. grind. I backed myself up into him unprompted, folded completely in half with my hands on the dirty floor and my butt sort of near where I thought a dick might be. I looked like a limp fish, flailing my body around while straining to peek my upside down head through my legs to catch his reaction to my sexy latin moves. Within about 4 minutes, he leaned over and loudly told his friend “Here, you take…. this” and passed my folded and confused body over to the nearest male body. That one hurt.
Then there was the time I was filmed at a kareoke joint that I had gone to with some friends after a concert in Manhattan. I was pretty deep in the bottle at this point, and I was once again FEELING MYSELF. Time to sew my oats, I thought. I was wearing an oversized shirt that said “I love cats” on it, no pants, and pigtails (at 25 years old). I grabbed the kareoke mic, and confidently chose Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda. Not only did I not know 90% of the words, I decided to put on some sort of a strip tease, one that I am sure the 5 gay men and one very straight lady I was with did NOT ask for or enjoy. One dear friend had taken a video and posted it to her snap chat story while equally intoxicated. I woke up the next morning with no memory of the fiasco, until my roommate looked at me from the couch as I exited my room for the first time in the morning and very solemnly said “…have you seen the video of you from last night? You should ask for it to be taken down. It’s……… not good.”
He was correct. It was not good. It was, in fact, horrifying. I looked like an adult cosplaying as a toddlers in tiaras character. I was also winking WAY too much, licking the thin pieces of skin on my face I call lips, and moving my body in such a way that it looked like all of my bones were actually fused together. All this while off key screaming lyrics such as “He toss my salad like his name’s Romaine.”
See, the ironic part about ALL of this, is that in grade school I used to sing. More specifically, I used to sing ONE song. A lot. I sung it at the New York State singing competitions, at restaurants where I used to perform, while in the shower, at open mics, and during my singing lessons. What was the song I memorized and sung for years you ask? Oh just a little diddy by Lee Ann Womack called “I hope you dance.”
Now, one of the lyrics (that are still firmly implanted in my psyche) is “If you get the chance, to sit it out or dance, I hoooooope you daaaaaaaaaance!” (That last line is meant to be screamed/sang very loudly, please adjust the little voice in your head reading this blog post accordingly).
I still love that song, but dear god in heaven above,
if I am intoxicated and/or feeling myself undeservedly
and I get the chance
I hope I sit the fuck down.
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