When I was in the 8th grade I asked my sister and mother how does one "dance" at a dance. For my frame of reference was early Madonna videos and old MGM musicals and somehow deep inside I knew that framing my face or "vouging" or attempting a reverse foxtrot waltz wasn't exactly what was suppose to happen at a dance. My sister told me bluntly "With your sense of rhythm the best you can do is hold on the shoulders and push the poor girl around the gym till the song is over." My mom being a little bit more revealing said there are four dances every man should do 1. The Electric slide. 2. Boot Scooting Boogey 3. Heaven forbid the Macarena and lastly though its fallen out of favor 4. The Hustle. She and my sister promptly gave me a quick tutorial in each of those dances. That was the extend of my dancing education. From there I've learned the running man and the sprinkler. What can I say? I'm multi- talented.
So while Karisa and I were traveling around the room we began to observe other dance styles. After a terrible swing dance attempt we both looked at each other with the look of shared understanding. Each of us in some point of our awkward dancing careers had that person who had fallen for the Big Band swing dance craze and taken one lesson and thought they could teach the world to swing! Sadly every time someone either ended up on the floor or with a black eye a mark that some dances are best for Dancing With the Stars or as Karisa put it "What happened in 1944 should stay in 1944".
As the hour winded down Karisa leaned in and said "Just wait till the lights come on there is a reason why they say wait till the lights come on before you get their number". I thought how could this be? All those who were swaying awkwardly making bad conversation (so how are you? What do think of this Dance? Here's my name stalk me maybe?) I thought maybe someone would meet their eternal companion giving the bishop a point on his scoreboard of marriages during his tenure. You laugh but in the last three wards I've been in hidden in each of their offices lies a scoreboard of winners and losers. Every single time they get one married off they get a bonus or something I swear.
Suddenly right at 12 the lights came on and there was a huge gasp! from the whole group the awkward swayers suddenly saw each other in the harsh glare of institutional lighting and the whole here's my number call me maybe moment changes to a the very polite but firm "thanks SO much but I have to be going" and they run back to their various posses to dissect the evening and bemoan the state of being singleness in the car till the various drivers push them out of the car with a sympathetic better luck next time or a walk it off walk it off.
Right after the lights came on they played Fun. We are Young which of course I had to comment on No early Madonna but a song about getting high in the bathroom is the perfect closer song? Seriously? Bad move DJ bad move! What's next promiscuous sex in the parking lot? However they cut the song very abruptly and that last bit of my comment soared through that cavernous cultural hall and I got the dirty Mormon look. The same look you get when you mention feminist, gay and lesbian, or choosing not to have children in Sunday school. To save me from melting deeper into the gym floor a very awkward closing prayer was said and Karisa and I sweaty and giggly from dancing dropped the top off of Bertie and sailed off onto the interstate.
As I looked over I was so grateful to have a friend so sympathetic to my awkward dancing, my sarcastic wittiness, and I felt that tightness in my chest let go. Though it had taken some time I had found a moment to make peace with all the awkwardness, the wall hugging, the feeling of pure torture of my previous high school dances melt away and realized that dances can be fun when you have the right person beside you.
The other glorious thought was that I was in California and I would never see any of these people again but could mock them forever in my memory.