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My first dance was in the fifth grade, but I made sure not to dance with anyone. Me and another guy came up with a strategy to avoid dancing on the girls-choice dances, since we never would have asked anyone ourselves! It quickly became clear that wall-flowers usually ended up dancing with someone at some point, so as soon as the music started, we would walk around the middle of the dance floor as if headed somewhere.
Sometimes I’d dance in place for a moment if a teacher was near. Teachers were good at setting people up to get them to dance with someone. When the snowball dance started, we made sure to go get a drink and use the bathroom, taking a considerable amount of time getting back. Using these methods, I was able to make it through the dance without ever having to dance with a girl.
When I turned twelve, one of my first church youth activities was a youth dance. Using my sneaky method, I was able to avoid dancing with a girl for a while – until Sister Johnson, one of the young-women leaders caught on to what I was doing. While strolling about in the middle of the dance floor, weaving in and out of dancing couples, I suddenly walked right into Sister Johnson (obviously she had aligned her position). With a big smile, she said, “Chas, have you danced with anyone yet?”
I knew I was doomed, and gave in, saying, “Uh… no… not really.”
Then she grabbed the first laurel to walk by and said, “Dawn, would you like to dance with Chas?”
Of course, being a mature 16 year-old, she took pity on this poor little deacon. “I’d love to!”
Feeling like a mouse caught in a trap, I stood there as she put her hands on my shoulders. I was shocked. What was I supposed to do now? I stood there stupidly.
“Put your hands on my waist,” she instructed. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was supposed to actually dance with this girl! I’d seen the others dancing, so I guess I knew I was supposed to put my hands on her waist, but I couldn’t work up the courage to do it before the invitation came. I put my hands on her waist and we rocked back and forth slightly, turning gradually in circles. The song was already half over by the time we started dancing, but that second half of a song felt like the length of twenty songs.
When the song finally ended, she thanked me for the dance and I bolted. For the rest of the evening, I kept clear of that girl.
At home after the dance, mom told me how Dawn had come up to her and Dad after our dance and said, “Your son is so cute! I had to tell him to put his hands on my hips!”
Turning purple at the thought that Mom and Dad knew that I had danced with a girl, I wormed off to my room. Maybe next time I would slough the dance entirely.