I Can’t Dance


My rig at a high school dance last night

It’s true: I cannot dance.

It’s an embarrassing confession for someone whose career (and social life) revolves around music. Most of my life is dedicated to listening to, viewing and voicing an opinion on music.

But put me on a dance floor and I panic.

A good friend learned this the hard way a few nights ago. While enjoying a band at a bar, she asked me to dance. Not wanting to disappoint her, I agreed. After a few minutes of nervous shuffling and apologizing, I finally let her awkwardly lead me off the dance floor.

It was bad.

I don’t think I’m rhythmically or musically challenged, I just have no way of translating my love for music to bodily movement. I’m content to bob my head along and listen.

And I never know what to do with my fucking hands.

Last night, I was reminded of this uncomfortable incident while working at a high school dance. I own a small entertainment company that DJs weddings, proms, dances, etc. After nearly 10 years in business, I’ve seen some really weird stuff. I’ve seen weird uncles hit on brides, best men make horrible toasts and scores of teenage girls crying for any number of reasons.

But last night, I noticed something that’s never really shocked me as much as it should: high school and middle school kids doing some of the dirtiest shit I’ve ever seen while teachers and chaperones turn a blind eye.

I might sound like a prude, but even when I was in high school (ten years ago) we would bump and grind to hip-hop tunes. Sure, it was sexual, but what I saw last night transcends that.

Most of the girls wore extremely short, thin shorts, despite the sub-zero temperatures. Guys wore sweat pants. One of the teachers explained that this maximizes the skin-on-skin when they dance and and lets the girls “feel” what the guys are doing.

Sure, every guy remembers popping wood while dancing with a pretty girl in high school, but in my time, it was something you tried to avoid. You gave the old flip-and-tuck and hoped that she didn’t notice your flaring hormones. These kids, however, encourage it.

But the worst part is, they’re worse dancers than I am. They have no regard for the beat or the tune and most don’t even seem to enjoy it. They just partner up and rub against each other until the song is over, then walk away without ever making eye contact. I saw one girl texting and chatting with a friend while rubbing her ass on some kid’s denim pole.

After over an hour of this, I began trying to mix it up. I played “Some Nights.” The soft-core porn continued. I played “The Cupid Shuffle.” No change. I played “Cotton Eye Joe” and still, they did it.

But the strangest moment came when I played a slow song. My partner got on the mic and asked everyone to turn around, face their partner and have a nice dance.

No one could.

Instead, a group of guys who had been smushing their junk into girls’ hips all night formed a bro circle and began sarcastically slow dancing with each other. The girls stood around awkwardly chatting. It seems none could handle a face-to-face intimate 3 minutes with the person they had been dry humping all night.

It’s probably the first sign that I’m getting old, but I was appalled at what I saw last night. I may not be able to dance, but at least I know when to stay off the floor.