For a visual recreation, see the video below:
By Mary Cox
Mary Cox performs the world’s first and longest written yeah boy, previously only attempted by others on video.
For a visual recreation, see the video below:
By Mary Cox
This past Saturday, Nov 19, was the Student Honor Council’s second-annual Season of Giving dance. I went alone, and had a blast.
Being an upperclassmen living on campus often means having some trouble finding people to go to events with. Most of my friends now live in houses or apartments not really close to anything, and I don’t expect them to make the journey to eat free, luke-warm Papa John’s at the Student Center on a Saturday evening. With that, this year has been a year of doing things by myself. I figure as long as I don’t have to cook my own dinner it wouldn’t hurt to build a little independence some other way. This weekend I decided to take my biggest step yet and conquer my 15-year-old self’s biggest nightmare - attending a dance solo. And I don’t mean no date (I jumped that hurdle every Homecoming of high school), no, I mean completely alone. No one to take a pictures with, a pity considering I looked especially cute. No one to pregame at Applebee’s with. Nothing but my donation of two boxes of Kraft mac and cheese to keep me company on the long trek from Noyer to Park, my footsteps echoing across the dark, lonely night. Here is how I made it through.
Step one: Briefly consider not even going.
The time was 7:30 p.m. I lay on my bed, full face of make-up, dress on, scrolling through my social media as I passed the hour before the dance began. This is when it dawned on me how easy it would be to just not go. My effort and outfit would not be wasted since I had a birthday party to attend later in the evening, and sitting in a dimly lit room alone on Twitter is far more relaxing than being in an even more dimly lit room full of strangers. On the other hand, I love to dance, and college doesn’t allow for many opportunities to do so that aren’t in a frat house on Riverside with a Trump for President banner hanging in the window. In the end, this was enough to motivate me. Beyond that, there was always the possibility that my attractive co-worker would be there, and I’m never one to pass on an opportunity to hate myself for not making a move. Before I could change my mind and take a nap instead, I got up and made my way to the Park Multi-purpose room.
Step two: Show up way too early.
With no one to wait on, I knew my anxiety would drive me to extreme punctuality, but I had devised a plan to combat this. In my mind, leaving my room at 8:27 and taking the long way would put me at my destination a comfortable five minutes late. Unfortunately, time is an illusion, and I showed up at exactly 8:30. As I passed by the MPR from outside I could see through the window that a few SHC members were still doing some last minute set-up. Visions of a dark, empty room with a solitary white guy dancing to Flo Rida’s “Low” haunted me as I walked down the long back hallway of Park. Luckily, there were several people I recognized already there, and more arrived soon after.
Step three: Realize you actually have more friends than you thought.
As the night went on, the little dance circle that had originally consisted of myself and my N&N editor slowly began to fill in with familiar faces. I realized how many amazing connections I had made through the Honors College, and began to regret that I had not really nurtured any of them. Sure, I would speak to whoever sat next to me in class and throw a wave when I passed them on campus, but I didn’t really know them - and that’s a shame. I felt comfortable doing an interpretive dance to “Closer” and scream-singing “Party in the U.S.A.” with every person there. You can’t say that about everyone. I’m not sure I could even say that about some of the people I’ve considered close friends in the past. Knowing there are plenty of people out there willing to join in with my terrible dancing makes the world feel a little less lonely.
Step four: Have fun.
I certainly did. Nothing is quite as cathartic as not caring whether or not anyone cares about or even notices what you’re doing and just losing yourself to Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch”.
Step five: Leave whenever you want.
While this step is possibly the most selfish, I can’t deny it was definitely a major perk of attending a dance by yourself. At no time during the night did I feel the need to make any decisions to appease anyone else. In the past I’ve left dances early because someone I came with was bored, or stayed way longer than I wanted to because my friend was too busy trying to flirt. It was also nice to be able to go to the bathroom alone for a change, and have my pick of every single photobooth prop. But most importantly I didn’t have to convince anyone that “Cotton-eyed Joe” wasn’t worth staying for. I easily slipped away after a few good-byes before I had to watch three and a half minutes of white people line dancing to folk-techno. I’ve never felt so blessed.
When all was said and done, I’m glad I decided to get out of bed and go to this dance. Even though my dress was unbelievably hot and my attractive co-worker never showed up (hit me up if you’re reading this), it was worth it to find a few more people I know I can count on to be unabashedly awkward dancers with me. I guess that is what I am thankful for.
By Ellie Fawcett
As many of you may remember, last year I wrote a story about sweating my actual face off at the Honors House of Horrors (and if you don’t remember it, have a refresher here!) This year I’m here to tell you about my new menace: stage makeup made of food.
On the eve of the haunted house event, I arrived at the Honors House to begin setting up at approximately 6:00 p.m.. I was stationed in the dining room, a room we were going to somehow turn into the scene of a surgery with four white bedsheets and 42,000-ish white plastic table cloths. The goal, of course, was to recreate the sterile white terror of the operating room. We began to cover the extensively brown walls of our room. Here we hit our first snag. As you may or may not know, white plastic table cloths are incredibly thin. They are so thin, in fact, that they do nothing to cover the dark brown walls of the dining room unless one chooses to layer them. As we began the evening with four table cloths, this presented an issue. Luckily the ever-wonderful Brooke Mayer saved the day, bringing us more sheets in the eleventh hour. We were saved from one struggle only to face the next.
Having decorated our room, we moved on to decorating ourselves. The characters in our room consisted of two doctors, two patients, and a scary man in a mask who could stalk our guests through the room creepily. I volunteered to play a patient strapped to a chair about to have some sort of awful head surgery. We began creepening ourselves up: whitening faces, darkening eyes, bloodying ourselves up. Unfortunately it was at this time we discovered that the fake blood didn’t look particularly bloody on skin or fabric. Another actor in the house solved this problem with chocolate syrup, which does in fact look an awful lot like dried blood when smudged onto skin and fabric. (Also, fun fact about chocolate blood! In Psycho the blood swirling down the shower drain is indeed chocolate syrup.) You may at first think that covering yourself in chocolate sounds like a dream come true, but there are some side effects one might not take into consideration in those fantasies, such as the horrific stickiness and the overwhelming smell.
Alas, this was not the last of my food-based haunted house horrors. Did you know that flour and water mixed look like scars on skin? That’s because it doesn’t. I learned this fact the hard way. Having been told otherwise I let someone glop the pasty mixture onto my neck and shoulders. Having been covered in various foods, it was time to begin.
The doctor (portrayed by the somewhat terrifying Maren Orchard) strapped me to a chair with some plastic cords. Here began the real struggle. The cords ran across the chocolate on my arms, making the cords stick to my skin. This effect was exacerbated when the hauntening began in earnest. As we performed and more and more people entered the house, the dining room began to warm up. Now, while this caused nowhere near as much sweat as the table, it did cause just enough to prevent the chocolate from drying fully. The continually damp chocolate remained sticky, and my skin remained stuck to the plastic cords for most of the house. Somehow, however, the dampening effect didn’t extend to the flour/water paste. The paste dried into a hard pointy crust that stuck firmly to my skin and itched like nobody’s business. The more it dried the more bothersome it was. By the time the house was half over I began picking at it as soon as visitors left the room. I thought I was going to lose my mind. The crust was shockingly painful to rip off, and the cords were also shockingly painful to unstick from the chocolate. As anyone who knows me well has heard upwards of a million times, I truly dislike having gross things on my skin. I can’t handle the sensation of having water on my hands after I wash them, a continual source of irritation to my mother who gets stuck waiting for me to dry my hands completely. The evening was full of unpleasant sensations.
By 9:50, ten minutes from the end of the house, the restraining cords had turned brown from the chocolate and the floor around my chair was covered in picked off flour paste flakes. The line was cut off. We were nearly there. Everyone in the dining room was feeling the sticky, crunchy exhaustion setting in, but we rallied. We did it. We scared those last fifteen people, and we did a darn good job. The last group went through, and we were free. Free to sprint to the bathroom, rip off our costumes, and feel the sweet, sweet relief of washing off all the various food items. The crust fell off, the chocolate flowed down the drain, and I was once more able to move without sticking or crunching.
From Oct. 16 to Oct. 19, approximately 86 first-year students from Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) traveled to Chicago, Illinois for a four-day exploration of architecture, urban design, and landscape in the Windy City. Many of the students in the first-year program are Honors College students as well, taking on a workload that challenges students academically.
On Sunday, the students visited the University of Chicago’s campus and saw incredible buildings and courtyards. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and Rockefeller Chapel were some iconic sights spotted that day.
“The University of Chicago stands apart from the downtown Chicago area because the style of buildings resembles a previous era. The landscaping and interaction between the paths and open spaces is very unique and unlike anything else in the city,” Malequi Picazo, an Honors student in the CAP first-year program. To him, the city had had a grid design, taking into account an urban environment. The university campus had places to saunter and chat. There was less of an urban atmosphere.
That same day, students toured the Illinois Institute of Technology to see work done by architects Mies van der Rohe and Helmut Jahn.
On Monday, students toured Chicago itself, taking in skyscrapers and metropolitan life. The Chicago Tribune Tower and Trump Tower were identified and discussed. Millennium Park was the final destination for the students, where we saw works by Frank Gehry. My section was able to go into the John Hancock Building, and we made our way downtown to see the Willis (Sears) Tower. Probably one of my favorites, was the Chicago Cultural Center, with its ornate ceilings and domes.
The students left the city behind on Tuesday to visit the suburb of Oak Park/River Forest. Frank Lloyd Wright had many homes in this area as part of his “moonlighting” period. During this period, Wright deviated from his mentor’s firm, working on secret projects that weren’t approved by his mentor. As a result, Wright and his mentor split paths, and the rest is history. It was a gorgeous fall day to ride the “L” and walk through the different neighborhoods.
“I really enjoyed Oak Park because I’ve always enjoyed Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. It’s his so-called ‘Mecca,’” Logan Gemmill, an Honors student also in the CAP First-Year program said.
After Oak Park, students traveled to Wicker Park. This suburb appeals to millennials with its high-rise park and “hipster” culture. A high-rise park is when elevated train tracks are terraformed into walkways, gardens, and small condos on the side of the elevated tracks. This specific high-rise park had a road through the center, perfect for runners and bicyclists. From Wicker Park, the sections returned to Chicago and visited Lincoln Park.
The CAP trip ended on Wednesday with a trip to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. On this cool, autumn day, the gardens were lush with russet, gold, and crimson. Each garden was designed in a certain fashion, connected with bridges of which no two was the same. Some gardens focused on Japanese botany, with clusters of bonsai trees and other native plants. Another garden focused on Middle-Age British gardens, with walled courtyards and fountains. It was a beautiful morning to bask in nature before heading back to Muncie.
By Mary Cox
You may not know who you are, or that I loved you. It may even seem strange to you to learn that you affected my life at all. At the end of the day all you did was hold the door for me, or hand me my coffee with a smile. Events whose details I can’t even remember anymore - but I remember that they counted. No matter how short, whether ten minutes or three weeks, the time I spent in love with you has always taught me something about myself. Or perhaps just reminded me about the loving and lovable parts of me. Either way, I’d like to thank you.
Sometimes I worry that I’m spreading my love too thin, like if I have one more crush on one more cute doughnut shop employee that’s it, done for the decade. How sad is it to think that love is finite? That you get to choose two, maybe three people who get every part of you and then there is nothing left? But then you smile at me on the bus and I remember all the capacities within me. Capacity to share myself, no holds and unafraid. Capacity to still know who I am afterwards. Capacity to have new and exciting experiences I’ll never forget. Capacity to disagree but grow and learn from it. I remember how amazing it would be to see the universe in the eyes of every person I meet.
Every time I think about the name of our three kids after you linger a second too long handing me my change, I’m filled with bliss. Not because you finger tips are soft as you lay the coins in my hand, but because nothing is more amazing than the bond I’ll one day get to share with my children. As I zip my purse, shoot you one last shy smile, and walk away I think about my own parents. My smile grows from shy to hurt-your-cheeks as I think about how lucky I am to have two amazing, hardworking, strong, endlessly supportive people in my life. Falling in love with you reminded me of this. Thank you.
When I fantasize about our wedding after you send me a friendly email, I’m overwhelmed knowing that there is still so much love in my future. I will be loved by people that I have yet to meet; in ways even greater than I have loved so many that I will never meet again. Ways I can’t even imagine (even though I’ll certainly try). It’s easy to get caught up in the love we have lost. Falling for you over and over serves as a reminder that I am strong enough to move on after loss. I am ready for the time I fall fully and deeply, because I know I will still be standing firm in myself when the tumble is over. I owe this to you and all the times I have loved you and lost you and been okay.
Maybe I want to love you for this short moment because if everyone I meet is my soul mate, even for a second, then I never have anything to prove. You don’t have to impress someone you’re meant to be with. As I try one more time to grab your attention with a joke or warm smile, it’s not to convince you of anything, but simply to remind myself once more of the many things that make me worthy of being loved. I’m showcasing the things I love about myself for me, not for you - but thank you for allowing me to.
I am grateful for the lessons you have taught me. Thanks to you I will always love with reckless abandon, starting with myself. In the end, I don’t expect you to remember me, let alone care. But you did care about a stranger enough to be kind to her, and I hope you know that meant the world.
All my love (for right now),
By Hannah Derleth
I’ll admit, I was a bit dubious when Student Honors Council first brought up “Honors Weekend,” and told us that we students were going to plan it. However, I will say, I enjoyed myself more than I thought I would.
Thursday’s Trivia Night was one for the books. We had multiple teams vying for the top, including a team from News & Notes. The front desk staff even got in on the game. Some RAs were even bribing us to do well with DeHo Dough. Our competitiveness was apparent— some screamed out answers, while others scribbled furiously on white boards. We all enjoyed ourselves, and laughed about our competitive streaks and need for speed afterwards.
On Friday night, we occupied the DeHo beach with our Fall Fest. We had a photo booth, a cookie decorating table, popcorn, music, and face painting. I don’t know about many others, but I was able to meet a few faces from DeHority that I hadn’t seen before, and I enjoyed that the most.
We brought out our competitive streaks once more on Saturday. That evening consisted of a friendly game of Capture the Cardinal, which was a spin-off of Capture the Flag. Since the original plan didn’t pan out as we wanted, we ended up bending a few rules and negotiated the point system. But hey, flexibility is an important soft skill to have, and we had blast attempting to chase down our “cardinals” anyways.
We concluded Honors Weekend with Sunday’s brunch, which consisted of burritos and corn hole. Again, I was able to meet more unfamiliar faces from the Honors College, and played corn hole with my wonderful friends.
I didn’t create a summary of every event because I thought News & Notes readers would like to read them, but because each night had something very special behind it: students. Because most of us are freshmen, we were able to hold committee chair positions, help set up, tear down, and manage booths and tables that needed attending to, an opportunity incoming students rarely get. Organizing and leading these events were totally up to us, rather than leaving it up to other older Honors students.
That’s the one of the biggest things that sets Student Honors Council apart from any other organization on campus. Anywhere else, we freshmen and sophomores are usually lumped in with “underclassmen,” and often stuck with a label on our foreheads, reading “young” or “follower.” SHC teaches us how to remove the stereotypical label, and replace it with one that says “leader” and “enough.” I think all of us in SHC were able to take away a very important lesson of leadership and responsibility from this weekend.
Funny how we still manage to learn from doing the “fun things,” hmm?
By Hannah Derleth
“Why are there so many people here?”
“Does the walking ever end?”
“How many callout meetings can I possibly have in one evening?”
The answers to those questions, respectively: We have roughly 800 more incoming freshmen than usual, no, and five.
I should probably introduce myself: My name is Hannah Derleth, I’m a freshman, and I’m double majoring in journalism and marketing. I held editor positions on Noblesville High School’s newspaper, the Mill Stream, for two years, and spent my senior year interning at one of Noblesville’s local papers, the Times. I absolutely love writing, and I’m excited to grow my talent and share my gift here at Ball State.
I’ve been living on campus for exactly 19 days now, and it’s been an absolute rush: a rush of emotions, a rush of adrenaline, and a rush of people. I’ve done more here on campus in the past week than I ever would have planned, and I’ve made countless memories with people that, quite frankly, I don’t even know their names. I have fostered friendships that will last longer than 180 school days, and I have professors that are invested in what they teach and love what they do.
As much as the questions at the beginning sound rather negative, I came to realize that those answers are the best. A sea of unfamiliar faces led to me making amazing memories (usually Frisbee or Walleyball related) with people whose names I will never remember, and the endless list of callout meetings just meant that Ball State offers something for every student. And the walking? Well, I have to avoid the “Freshman 15” somehow.
19 days in, and I can already tell that saying yes to the Honors College has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m surrounded by like-minded people who want nothing but the best for their education, and expect nothing but the best from themselves. It’s a wonderful change of pace; now I’m sitting in a classroom full of students who actually read the Bhagavad Gita, rather than sitting with kids that just googled a summary of the discourses ten minutes before class.
19 days in, and I know I’ve found my home. Ball State has given me so much already, and has presented me with so many opportunities that will only lead me to success.
19 days in, and I’m happy.
Over spring break, I flew to and from Florida by myself. It was my first solo trip. With the only shuttle to the airport arriving nine hours before my flight left, confusing mechanical issues, and a disappointing beverage service, it was definitely an interesting experience.
By Mary Cox
1. Seven hours before your flight really isn’t too early to get to the airport after all.
If you ever find you can’t quite get to starting that novel you’ve always wanted to write, or finishing that book series everyone is talking about, book a flight to anywhere and then get to the airport seven hours early. With literally nothing else to do besides everything I’d been putting off, sitting in the terminal of the Indianapolis airport is the most productive I’ve ever felt in my life. What I accomplished wasn’t exactly completing my Academy-Award-winning screenplay, but I did finally listen to that audio book I accidentally bought four months ago – a task I’m more proud of than I should be. It really is harder than you’d think to find the time to listen to an audio book though. Luckily, I had nothing but time. Thank God too, because Modern Romance, written and narrated Aziz Ansari, is a gift to this world. I also finished a season of Scrubs on Netflix and got to ride on the moving sidewalk several times, so my day hardly felt wasted. In fact, it was one of my more productive Saturdays.
Additionally, my anxiety about flying by myself for the first time was significantly diminished thanks to the extra time. As I learned on my way home, the one time you get to the airport only an hour early will be the time they begin boarding the plane an hour early, which as you can imagine is an anxiety-filled nightmare.
Even with the large time cushion, I still stumbled into a few nervous moments. About six hours in, I thought my flight got cancelled because I was looking for a flight with a 5:45 departure time when mine actually left at 4:54. I also briefly convinced myself that I was at the wrong gate, despite the fact that I’d been sitting in the same spot for half the day.
2. Flight attendants pause their sentences at the worst places.
After I had successfully boarded the correct plane, we sat at the gate for nearly an hour because, although the engine was fine, the machine that helped to start the engine was not. I previously did not even know this was a thing that could go wrong, but now I’ll probably have stress-related nightmares thanks to it.
As I sat there waiting for an update, the thought of having to possibly spend the night in the airport haunted me. I briefly considered asking the family sitting next to me to adopt me for a week just in case I had no other spring break housing options.
Forever later, the flight attendant got on the intercom to announce this: “Ladies and Gentlemen... we uh………” Insert longest pause in the history of recorded history. In the seconds it took her to finish that sentence, every worse case scenario possible ran through my head. Finally she finished up with, “we were able to start the engine and will be on our way shortly.” Every single passenger probably heard my sigh of relief.
It was the most ill-placed dramatic pause I’ve ever experienced.
3. Leggings won’t save you from a leg pat down from an NSA agent.
Purely for purpose of comfort I decided to travel in leggings, but I also thought it might simplify going through security by eliminating any threat of Underwear Bomber-type shenanigans. This assumption was wrong. It would have been essentially impossible for me to squeeze anything but my thighs into those pants, but apparently my left calf was still cause for suspicion. I was subjected to what felt like the most thorough lower-leg pat down the world has known. She could have at least asked about my day first.
4. Daylight savings time is actually the worst.
We all already know this, so I guess I should clarify that what I learned is that travelling on this day can be slightly more complicated/stressful/tiring than your average day.
Besides the obviously devastating lost hour of sleep that made a 7 a.m. flight that much more dreadful, the stress of constantly wondering if my phone was displaying the correct time (which at one point it wasn’t) put me a little on edge. Ultimately though, my clock being wrong was not what caused the issue.
The shuttle back to Ball State was scheduled to arrive at the airport at 1:30 p.m.. After struggling to read some simple signs, I was able to find the designated pick-up zone with 15 minutes to spare. I recognized some of the other students waiting there, so I was confident I was in the correct place. But after 1:30 came and went and the shuttle was yet to arrive, I began to question myself. I was deeply pondering the possibility of all seven of us who were waiting splitting an Uber back to Muncie when one of the other students asked, “What if the driver forgot to change their clocks?”
Sure enough, the shuttle rolled up a little past two, and as I boarded I spotted the clock on the dashboard that read 1:08. In the driver’s defense, she thought she was 20 minutes early, so kudos to her for that.
5. Don’t take airlines that give out free pretzels for granted.
It turns out not every airline offers free in-flight snacks and soft drinks. As you can imagine, I was appalled. And because I was travelling alone, I had no one to complain to about it.
Do you have any travel horror stories? Share them with N&N on Facebook or Twitter (@bsu_nandn)
I didn't think much about college while in high school, but, after a year at Ball State, I noticed a small white building on Riverside...
By Kayla D'Alessandro
Coming from a small high school in Michigan, it was hard to envision a bigger scope of my future self. It was required of us to take a career planning class during my Junior year. In this class, we were to preview some different higher education options for once we graduated. I was forced into thinking about my future. After completing the class, I concluded that I would like to attend Ball State due to the telecommunications program’s reputation, but that was all I knew.
I found no further reason to look into opportunities at Ball State because my assignment was done. I figured that I could do that once I arrived on campus. Therefore, I did no research (bad idea) and on top of that I was never presented with the idea to apply to the Honors College. I was under the impression that graduating with honors (i.e. magna cum laude or summa cum laude) was the only kind of honor status there was. Little did I know there was a college awaiting me with many different class topics that I could choose from that I otherwise would not have learned as a telecommunications major.
I have a great interest in the film industry and one day I found a video interviewing famous producers. One of them advised taking classes that you otherwise wouldn’t. I hadn't seen the video until after joining, but this is one of the biggest benefits I see being in the Honors College now. After living in Woodworth at the beginning of my sophomore year, I noticed a house which I never thought was affiliated with Ball State. After getting a closer look, I realized this was the best opportunity for me to venture into bold and unique classes.
It was at that moment I looked it up. I emailed or called the Honors College that very night asking how to apply. That week I was nervous because my interview with Honors College Dean James Ruebel was already scheduled. Looking back, there was no reason to be as nervous as I was.
After Honors College Dean James Ruebel checked my transcript, I was instructed to set up a meeting with an advisor to see how the required classes would match with the rest of my four-year plan. Beyond that, I also wrote a small paper on why I would like to be admitted. It was in that meeting that I was verbally told that I would get to be a student of the Honors College. Walking out of the meeting that day, I was very relieved to be accepted and excited for what was to come.
Honors College Dean James Ruebel said in an email that there are 20-25 currently-enrolled students who apply every fall for the Honors College.
“A high percentage of them go on to receive the Honors Diploma,” Ruebel said. “They need a 3.33 at the end of the term in which they are petitioning and - if they do that and have done the other things we ask of them – we admit them for spring.”
Ruebel said that fewer applicants apply in the spring.
“This number has been pretty constant over the past four-five years,” he said. “They separate into (1) people who did not apply to the Honors College out of high school, but have seen the error of their ways; (2) those who were denied when they first applied, but are now seeking entry; and (3) transfer students.”
I guess you could say I categorize in group one.
Advisors at the Honors College know just how much a student can handle, and the plan my advisor helped me create is still intact to this date with minimal changes. The entrance process was incredibly quick and smooth. The tremendous help from my advisor and the other supporting people in the college made the admission process very enjoyable. From my experience, I would recommend applying to everyone who is interested, even if they’re already students at Ball State. Every student will find a different benefit to being in the Honors College.
The Honors Formal was the type of pure, simple fun I need more of.
by Mary Cox
“The Premiere Gala: Red Carpet Masquerade“ was the theme for this year’s Honors Formal, held Saturday, Feb. 5 in the Student Center Ballroom. It was a dance that my high school-self would have killed to plan, and in all honesty, almost did. (But, my three-year long plight for a masquerade-themed dance is something better left in the past.) I was just happy to finally have to opportunity to attend a dance with a theme that fit the occasion.
The music was good, the décor was fancy, and the people were having fun.
My only complaint is that “Hotline Bling” wasn’t played. In fairness to the DJ, I did show up 45 minutes late so the song could have been played before my arrival, in which case my only complaint is that “Hotline Bling” wasn’t played once every hour. Fortunately, Drake is a master of movement and his “Hotline Bling” choreography came in clutch during several other songs.
Even if the music hadn’t been popping, the other attendees would have been entertaining enough. There was one person who took masquerade to a whole new level by wearing a full zebra head. I feel close enough to my readers to tell you that I was strangely attracted to them - not because of the head, but because in spite of the head they were still tearing up the dance floor. Plus, mystery is sexy. It certainly added new meaning to the lyric “half animal, half man” from Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” as well.
There was also a couple that bravely decided gender roles weren’t for them, the girl wearing a suit and the guy wearing a super cute black dress. It wasn’t even a big deal either. They came to have a good time, dressed in what made them comfortable, and everyone let them. Just some good, equal, progressive fun.
Don’t worry though, all the essential high school dance archetypes were present too. The white guy who is a little too good at dancing to rap songs. The one that makes you wonder exactly how many times he’s watched the music video for Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip and Nae Nae)”. You’ll always find him next to the guy whose shirt slowly gets more unbuttoned as the night goes on. He’ll tell you it’s because he’s too warm, but he always happens to have amazing abs as well. I’m not saying it’s on purpose, but I also don’t subscribe to the notion of fate. Although I do feel truly blessed to have seen several set of ripped abs under these circumstances, I do not think it was a coincidence they were on display. There’s also, of course, the guy wearing sunglasses purely for aesthetic reasons. The guy who says, “whoa” to the girl going a little too hard to “Anaconda”, and, the girl going a little too hard to “Anaconda” (which, on this particular night, happened to be me).
I was also aghast, but not surprised, by the amount of salmon (the color, no fish was served at the catering table). Salmon bowties, salmon checkered button-ups, even salmon pants. But those salmon pants were tailored to perfection, and the man in them could hit the bop like nobody’s business, so I wasn’t even mad about it.
There was a lot of clapping, never on beat, accompanied by the slightly ominous sound of people singing along to Iggy Azalea in unison. Fair amounts of jumping for no reason, along with the ever-popular practice of making hand gestures that don’t quite fit the genre of music being played.
I can definitively say it was one of the whitest events I’ve ever attended…and I’ve been to three One Direction concerts. But, One Direction concerts are amazing, because watching people unabashedly exist in a space of genuine happiness is a special thing – and the Honors Formal captured this same feeling.
A few years ago, I might have considered wearing a zebra head to a dance a bit of an attention grab. But now I just applaud the confidence it took. I even had some “Another Cinderella Story” fantasies about him dropping his phone on the dance floor before disappearing into the sweaty mass just as I bend down to pick it up, and me having to find my masked lover based on clues in his contacts.
In times past, I might have watched the guy with his shirt nearly off with disdain, appalled by his lack modesty. But now I watch with a smile on my face, because anyone that unafraid to love himself and find his own joy is inspiring to me. I think I might be able to reach his level of confidence someday, if I ever find someone to look at me with as much love as his girlfriend looked at him with.
As I danced away a particularly rough week, the freedom I felt served as a reminder of how far I’ve come on my journey towards self-love and happiness. And every time I paused to fix my hair or see who might be watching, I was reminded that I still have a long ways to go. I’m just glad I get to make this journey surrounded by a bunch of nerds who love to dance.
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