Do you remember your high school dances? Maybe you were a huge fan of them. The process of getting dressed up, finding the perfect date, dancing with friends and talking about all of that later was possibly a really fun way to spend time. I just wasn’t one of those kids in high school. Something about putting my friends on a dance floor (or a dark gym) and turning music on made me a total idiot who didn’t know what the heck to do with myself.
One of the only dances that I actually remember well is the Valentine’s dance of 2000. It was during my brief stint as a softball player, and our game ended thirty minutes into the start of the dance. Naturally, my best friend and I chose to saunter from softball field directly to dance floor, no stopping at Go, no collecting $200 (or a change of clothes).
It was a fun dance because showing up sweaty and in the midst of a post-sports endorphin rush turns out to be the perfect combo to cure extreme discomfort. At that point, you can’t do anything that makes you stand out more than you already do in the middle of the made-up, beautiful mass of girliness around you. No amount of clumsy dancing can make you look worse. People are probably paying attention to the giant stains across your knee-length polyester shorts, anyway.
I attended a dance this weekend as planned, and it was light on the grass-stained shorts ingredient, heavy on the awkwardness. The people at the dance were great. It was just me regressing back to High School Hannah that was awkward. It’s kind of a shame, too. I always thought that if I went back to high school knowing what I know now, things would be so much simpler. Little hiccups would seem like little hiccups, not life-altering crossroads. I might not even feel the need to look busy or otherwise entertained at a dance. And there I stood a few days ago, wishing desperately that I had some way of looking busy.
Maybe it’s impossible to change things like your natural reaction to certain social situations (in addition to the physical impossibility of time-traveling back to 2000 to test the theory really well). Would my high school problems seem just as big now if I were faced with them? Ugh. Maybe it’ll just take another ten years for me to be able to walk into a dance feeling self-possessed and in charge of the situation. I still have hope.