please stop gyrating all over each other on the dancefloor so I don’t feel awkward

Sometimes it is hard for me to remember what it was like to be a hormone-charged, dramatic sixteen year-old. Other times, I remember it quite clearly. One such time happened quite recently, when I chaperoned a high school dance.

As soon as the dance started, I was smacked in the face by memories. Spending hours getting ready with friends, wearing heels that killed my feet but were too cute to take off (okay, sometimes I still do that), those first few minutes of the dance where hardly anyone is dancing and everyone stands around awkwardly waiting for the party to pick up, and finally, the actual dancing. The – ahem – inappropriate dancing. You know what I’m talking about. The simulated sex on the dance floor. All of a sudden, the dance floor would transform into a mass of people gyrating and sweating and hanging on each other. As a teenager, I never understood what the big deal was. I didn’t get why the chaperones (mainly our teachers and parents, since I attended a public school, not a boarding school like the one I now work at) got so worked up about it. I got so annoyed by the ones who would prowl the dance floor, searching for couples to break up or just staring at us like they were waiting for us to do something wrong. Even worse were the ones who would move around the room in time to the music, as if they were trying to blend in or be less awkward. These chaperones were the reason I begged my parents not to volunteer. EVER. I obviously would have died of embarrassment.

Well, now I understand. I actually felt like a mother while I was at this dance. Even though none of the children are my biological kin, I felt like a parent at a dance where I didn’t belong. I could feel it in the air – I was now the “uncool” chaperone who was just standing in the way of the kids having fun. And while I didn’t prowl the dance floor breaking up couples who were too close together, I did feel the most awkward I have felt in a very long time. Because I suddenly remembered my sixteen year-old self so clearly, and I didn’t want to be “That Chaperone.” But what else was there for me to do? All I could do was stand on the sides, watching. I didn’t want to, but I was trapped. And I’ll admit, sometimes I did nod my head or walk in time to the music, just to make myself feel less like a statue who was stuck in one place. I turned into the person I used to despise as a high school student.

So here you go, teens: You may feel awkward around the chaperones at the dance, but I can guarantee most of them feel more awkward than you do.


in defense of being pale, or, I am the color of a blank sheet of paper and I’m proud of it

I’m a white girl.

No, seriously. I am a white girl not only in the stereotypical ways, but in every literal sense of the word. My skin has always been extremely pale, and no matter how much I try, I can’t get a tan. During my three years of experience as a camp counselor, the only times my skin turned slightly darker than its usual shade of “eggshell” were when I got baked to a crisp during our field trips to the Michigan sand dunes, even despite my liberal and frequent applications of SPF 50 sunscreen. Nursing my skin back to health after these burns sometimes resulted in a minor tan (and LINES! Tan lines! I never get those!), but alas, it would fade almost instantly.

You know what, though? I have accepted my fate after 23 years of being a ghost. I’ve gotten used to the slew of “pale” and “white” comments I get from people who are just meeting me (especially in the summer), and I’ve even learned to put up with those annoying jerks who love to put their arm next to mine and “compare” our skin tones. Because guess what? IN 30 YEARS I WILL STILL HAVE YOUTHFUL BABY-BUTT SKIN AND YOU GUYS WON’T, HAHAHAHA.

Immaturity aside, at least my chance of getting skin cancer is a bit slimmer because I don’t bother trying to tan. And while my snowy skin did come with a lot of other lovely genetic gifts (eczema, sensitivity to practically every type of metal, those little weird bumps on the back of your arms, FRECKLES GALORE, etc.), I’m learning to be proud of it. I’m accepting my ivory complexion because I’ve realized it looks healthy and you know what? I’d rather look like Snow White than someone from Jersey Shore. My skin color is natural and normal for me. So you can go ahead and comment on it, but I’m just going to hold my freckled face high and laugh along with you. I’m pale and I’m proud of it.

why can’t I wear old spice if I want to?

I have a confession. I bought a stick of Old Spice deodorant just because I like the way it smells. Sometimes I put it on before I go to bed because the scent comforts me. It makes me feel like I have a boy sleeping next to me. Or some heavenly scented man-angel watching me as I sleep. I don’t know what it is about Old Spice specifically — there’s no way I would wear Axe (or whatever other scents guys like) — but I love it. And if this makes me sound like a crazy single girl who is desperate for the scent of a man in her life, so be it. I’m not going to stop. Pair some Old Spice with an oversized sweater as PJs, and that is the best night of sleep ever. I also shave my legs with men’s shaving cream. It foams better, gives me a closer shave, and doesn’t smell like gross raspberry mango coconut cream or whatever scent Skintimate is trying to force on unsuspecting women at the moment. My bathroom smells like a man for two days, but you know what? I’m obviously okay with that.

tales of an anxious texter: the waiting game

We’ve all been there. That moment when you finally gather the courage to text someone. Maybe it’s someone you know really well but you have something, er, touchy to say to them (which, let’s face it, you probably should say to them in person, but come on, you’re not going to). Maybe it’s someone you just met and want to hang out with but you’re afraid of rejection. Maybe it’s the person you only see for quick make-out sessions every few weeks and you know this text will imply that another meeting is, um, desired. We definitely live in a text-centric society, and, regardless of the person, when you’re sending a text that puts you out there or lets down your guard, it’s scary.

For me, I first spend at least 15 minutes drafting a carefully worded, spell-checked and grammar-checked (because yes, I actually care about my grammar when I text, whatever) message that does not seem too desperate/awkward/sensitive and will be sure to provoke a response. Then I stare at the unsent message, fighting myself about whether to hit “send.” If it’s a particularly ballsy text, I might delete it and re-type it a few times. I might not even send it at all. But all of this preparation is nothing compared to the moments that will follow once I have finally sent those precious words out into the abyss: the moments during which time slows down and I wait for a response.
You know what I’m talking about. Whether you’re waiting for a response to a simple “Hey what’s the math assignment for tomorrow?” or the more complicated “Are you up? Do you want to hang out?”, time always moves more slowly while you wait for the recipient to text you back. Here is the list of things that I should spend these agonizing minutes doing:

1. Reading a chapter of that book I started three and a half weeks ago and always stuff in my purse to take places but never actually read.
2. Re-reading the previous chapters of said book because I forgot what happened entirely.
3. Cleaning all of the hair off of my bathroom floor.
4. Sorting through all the junk emails from The Gap and in my email inbox.
5. Coming across a Gap coupon in one of those emails that I might possibly use sometime in the near future and then not deleting any of my emails because what if I end up needing them?
6. Drooling over all of the clothes from The Gap that I can’t afford, like that $85 dollar sweater I’m pretty sure I saw a replica of at GoodWill last week.
7. Making a playlist of songs I like to sing along to when I’m in the car by myself so that I don’t have to constantly select songs on my iPod while I’m driving.

…and so on. Here is the list of things that I actually do while waiting for a response:

1. Stare at my phone.
2. Check message inbox to make sure that I didn’t “miss” the text message arriving even though I’ve been staring at my phone the entire time.

Being the naturally anxious person that I am, this is something that I go through any time I send a text message that is outside of the realm of an inside joke text, an “I’ll meet you there” text, or a general “What’s up?” text. I hope I’m not alone in my neurotic texting behaviors, but again, because I am such an anxious weirdo, I assume that I am the only one who goes through this type of pain.

Then, a few ridiculously painful minutes (or hours, if the person I texted is a total dick) later, I receive a response. Depending on the message I receive, the episode of anxious texting may be over. Or, if a response from me is warranted, I may have to send another text, upon which the cycle begins all over again…

And if you just plain don’t text me back, well…that’s a story for another day.

(This post was also published on!)