By Madison Jones
There is a truth, universally acknowledged, that middle school was actually the worst. You had got braces, your hair was greasy and zits were literally popping up everywhere. That new growth spurt turned you into a klutz and everyone was kind of smelly either because of BO or Bath and Body Works’ body sprays.
The worst part of it all? You finally got to go to middle school dances. Yay! (Not.)
OK, OK, in theory these dances seemed really cool. You got to hang out with all your friends, listen to some music, jump around a little bit and stay up past 10 p.m. But something would inevitably happen that embarrassed your middle school self and you would leave the school cafeteria filled with regret and cheap pizza.
Let's revisit those wonderful moments, shall we?
Getting pizza stuck in your braces
Hovering by the snack table was always a safe bet, but when exactly did orthodontists decide that everyone needed braces? Like, my teeth were #flawless, but I still had braces and headgear for two years. We got that handy list of things not to eat or drink while wearing braces, but it's not like anyone actually followed those rules -- especially when pizza was involved.
But hey, don’t worry. I’m sure if you ran into your middle school crush now, there’s no way they’d remember that giant chunk of pepperoni stuck in your teeth. And if they did, that’s creepy.
Being wayyy too close to the grinding couple
Unfortunately, this unpleasant situation never goes away, no matter how old you get. First it's middle school dances, then it's prom, then it's frat parties, then it's bars and then it's weddings. And it’s still awkward.
You have two options in this situation: inch away slowly until you're out of the circle or -- better yet -- just bump them right back!
Searching the room for your crush in anticipation of a slow song
I wasn’t one of those girls who got asked to dance during slow dances, but I am a ~strong independent woman~ who didn’t want to be alone during slow songs. So when I sensed the DJ gearing up for Howie Day's "Collide," I conveniently positioned myself near my crush of the moment and asked him to dance before he could find another girl.
But let me tell you, though I got results, there’s nothing more awkward than making random eye contact while you’re wandering around a gym for five minutes searching for Joe or Matt or whomever.
Not knowing the dance steps to a popular song
There’s always the song of the year -- DJ Casper's "Cha Cha Slide", Soulja Boy Tell Em's "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" -- and there was always a complicated dance that went along with it. I’m sure I could've watched the YouTube videos and practiced the steps, but who had time for that while cramming for an algebra test?
If you went to enough dances you kinda picked up what to do, but there was always that one part of the dance that just made no sense. In my defense, I totally had Rednex's "Cotton-Eyed Joe" down by Sweet 16 season.
Third-wheeling your BFF and her boyfriend of five hours
Relationships in middle school were weird. All you did was hold hands, instant message and BOOM you were in love and planning your wedding. Then the next week you saw him talking to Katie and BAM you were broken up. Congrats to your friend for getting a guy for the day of the dance -- she didn't have to deal with #3's slow dance madness -- but that meant you had to stand next to them while they held hands and just stared at each other.
Thank goodness they were broken up by the following Tuesday.
When everyone partnered off except for you
For some reason more girls went to dances than boys did, so 15 to 20 girls were inevitably left with no one to dance with. That's when you found your friends, danced in a big circle and/or hid out in the bathroom for however long the slow song lasted.
Showing up in the same outfit as someone else
When everyone only shopped at Abercrombie and Hollister, it was bound to happen, but it didn't make things any less awkward. You spent days planning what you were going to wear to a dance, so when someone showed up looking exactly the same as you, it was a huge downer.
Dancing in the middle of the dance circle
OK, I’m a huge fan of dance circles, because I can go in the middle and be a huge idiot. But unless you’d been doing dance since you were three or had some mean hip-hop dance moves, the center of the circle was probably the most terrifying place ever. Especially when your friends thought it was funny to push you in the middle that one time.
Making small talk with your slow dance partner
Everyone makes fun of the awkward “arm’s apart” dance we had to do in middle school, but no one ever talks about what was really the most awk thing: talking to your partner. Unless they were your best friend, what were you supposed to talk about? How you stare at the back of their head in English class? The weather?
Eventually you both gave up and just start mouthing the words to Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.”