Monday, July 23, 2012

How The Little Man Learned To Dance

When I was in high school, I was that guy during the school dances that awkwardly stood around the periphery. Now I wasn’t alone, I remember most of the guys during dances didn’t actually “dance.”

Why not?

There was the feeling of not knowing “how” to dance and wanting to be cool. High school is a time when young adults try so hard to fit in and deal with their insecurities. Taking a chance by going out on a dance floor isn’t something most high school boys in my school were willing to take.

My girlfriend at the time was annoyed about this and she tried to teach me to dance. At the time, I found this annoying and I just didn’t feel at ease, moreover I didn’t want to dance. I do have one memory of going to a dance with a female friend (it was this girl) who managed to get me out on the dance floor because for a moment she was able to make me not care about being cool. Unfortunately this experience was fleeting and I spent high school at dances standing around.

Then my freshmen year at college, I encountered one of the most intimidating, charismatic, mysterious, and sometimes stunningly beautiful group of people I’ve ever met in my life: upperclassmen girls.

My social group was focused around marching band and many guys in my marching band were in the fraternity Phi Mu Alpha (which I later joined) and a lot of girls were in a fraternity for woman, Sigma Alpha Iota.

I got to know people in this group through marching band, eating together at the dining hall and during social events. One of these social events early in the year was a dance party at the Phi Mu Alpha house.

When I got to the party, I was shocked. This was totally different than high school dances. Everybody was dancing, boys and girl. However, this wasn’t enough to encourage me to get out there so I proceeded to stand against the wall awkwardly.

Then one of the upperclassmen girls, came over grabbed my hand and pulled me into the center of the room. In shock over the fact that this girl had just grabbed my hand, my mind pretty much exploded when I felt her hands on the side of my hips helping me move to the beat. Looking down, barely being able to comprehend what was happening, I heard her voice say to me, laughing to herself, “Hey, Little Man, I’m up here.”

When I looked up and our eyes met, suddenly I stopped worrying about being cool, or what other people were thinking. It wasn’t about doing a dance move or even moving to a beat, it was about loosing yourself in a song, in an experience with another person.

As I looked around the room, I noticed that a lot of people in the room weren’t so much “dancing” but just vaguely moving to the beat, doing silly motions and singing-along to the songs and everyone was smiling.

That was the first time I ever truly had fun dancing. There were other upperclassmen girls who helped pull me out of my shell and got me to loosen up on and off the dance floor. I am forever grateful for the interest they took in me.

That class as well as the upperclassmen girls who were around my sophomore year taught me how to dance. More than that, they taught me to not take my seriously and how to really have fun.

Guys, if you don't like to dance, get over yourself.  Find a female friend that you trust who enjoys dancing and try some things out.  Trust me, no one cares how stupid you look just as long as you're having fun.  Girls if you're trying to get a guy in your life to dance, be patient with them.  If you can make them feel at ease and comfortable by truly embracing their dancing, good or bad, and just enjoy the experience, you'll be surprised how much your man can move.  

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