Written by Tone Yao Lee
Jumping up and down and screaming to the lyrics of One Direction basically summarized each middle school dance in a nutshell. I thought all dances were going to be like middle school, but my expectations quickly transformed as high school ushered in winds of change.
As I began to make new friends throughout the first week of freshman year, all everyone could talk about was the back to school dance. I had gone to every dance in middle school, and to be completely honest, I enjoyed them. As all freshmen do, I made the mistake of arriving at the dance promptly at 7:30 p.m., and there were less than 20 people there.
At 8:30, the quad filled up. Whooping and hollering over the loud music, students swarmed the senior quad. I decided to join in on the action, and I made it to the middle of the dance floor. I tried to force my way out, but it was to no avail.
“Are you a freshman?”
I turned around to find myself looking at a group of girls. An aura of confidence surrounded them—clearly, they were seniors.
“Ye—.” Before the words even came out my mouth, one of them turned around, grabbed my hands and put them on her waist.
Although I was having a good time, I looked around at my other freshmen friends—girls in particular—and they looked miserable. Older boys forced themselves on, without even asking if it was okay. Many girls looked uncomfortable and tried to walk away or slow down to get the boy off, but nothing worked. What should have been a fun and exhilarating time ended up turning into a terrible night. I talked with a few of my underclassmen friends after, and they told me how disappointed they were. Even when they said no, the upperclassmen would still dance with them.
Looking back now as a senior, the first dance is supposed to be fun. It should be a night where students can let loose and get excited for school. However, everyone has a different level of comfort with dancing and students should always keep that in mind. Nonconsensual dancing is never okay, and it is important to look for signs of discomfort and disapproval. A student’s choice should always be treated with respect.