Shea Serrano is an award-winning music writer and goofball, whose recent book is Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book.
3:20 p.m.: Today I am chaperoning our school's Valentine's Day dance. A line of about 100 kids is already waiting to get into the cafeteria, which is where we hold all of our dances. In the movies there's always, like, a decorations committee or whatever worrying that everything's not going to be finished in time, and the dance will be ruined.
That's not how it works in real life. You know who the decorating committee is at a middle school in real life? Four janitors. Do you know how they decorate? They move all of the tables out of the way. Malibooyah. The dance is ready, and the kids go goddamn nuts for it. That's a little thing called being efficient.
3:20:15: If you're questioning the effectiveness of moving tables as a means of decorating for a dance, go home today and put the kitchen table in the living room. Everyone in your whole house will freak the fuck out about it. Table placement is serious, son.
3:24: The DJ for today's dance is a younger black lady. Normally our school hires this 60-year-old Mexican man, but the lady that used to handle that is gone now so he got the ax. I'll miss his Old Man Jeans.
3:26: First song played: Sage the Gemini's very clubby “Gas Pedal.” This is a strong start, to be sure. It's the first time we've ever had someone play a song that wasn't 30 years old at one of our dances. The kids seem appreciative.
3:38: The very first time I gave a girl something for Valentine's Day was when I was in the eighth grade. I gave her a six-pack of chocolate milk (I don't know why) and a hand-drawn picture of our names graffiti-ed on a brick wall. That's the realest shit of all. I'm saying, do you even know how long it takes to draw a brick wall? Like 40 minutes, man. True love.
3:38:15: Semi-related: The first time I ever for real kissed a girl was also in the eighth grade. I used to think I was a very cool kid in middle school, but then I saw pictures of me from back then. I was definitely not a very cool kid. My front teeth looked like goddamn index cards. God bless that girl – that kiss was probably the most altruistic moment of her whole life.
3:51: “Wobble.” Wonderful. The DJ could play Boston for the rest of the dance and she'd still have a better average than the previous guy.
3:58: There's a “Selfie Station” at the back of the dance. It's basically just a big Valentine's Day poster that you can take pictures in front of. Two eighth-graders asked a seventh-grader to take their picture in front of it. The seventh-grader agreed, took the phone, aimed it at the eighth-graders, then very quickly clicked the little icon that reverses the direction of the camera, took a picture of herself pretending to take a picture of them, then handed them the phone and ran away before they could check it. I don't know who that kid was, but I know she's my favorite kid of all time.
4:04: The big guns: the DJ is playing “Me Puedo Matar” by Bachata Heightz. That's what's up. She is very serious about this. Our school is almost exclusively Latino, so this is pretty much the smartest move ever. 13-year-old girls LOVE Bachata Heightz.
4:11: Oh no. “Timber.” The new DJ takes a hit. Old Mexican Man DJ would have never played this, though I have to assume that it would be because he wouldn't know it existed. There's something to be said for ignorance, I suppose.
4:16: Okay. Jason Derulo's “Talk Dirty.” I'm gonna go ahead and go stand outside until this song is over. Thanks.
4:18: Miley's “We Can't Stop.” This car is skidding out of control. Someone send help.
4:21: Boom. Prince Royce's “Stand By Me.” What a save. Is that song big anywhere else, or is it strictly a Latino Middle School thing? As soon as it comes tinking out of the speakers the kids go all the way nuts. One kid at our school actually looks quite a bit like Prince Royce. He is quite popular, of course. What a thing that must be, to have a face that people do not want to punch when they see it. I am on the other end of that particular scale.
4:27: A group of boys from the basketball team are here, all standing around lying about things they did during the season (I coached the seventh grade team this year). When I was a middle-school basketball player, one game I scored, like, maybe six points and you'd have thought I was the goddamn NBA scoring champion. What fun that was. I was so terrible. The coach would call a time out, say a whole bunch of gibberish, then send us back out there. The point guard would be like, “Hey, what'd coach say to do again?” And I'd always be like, “I don't know. I wasn't listening. Just throw the ball to me so I can shoot some three-point buckets.” That's how bad I was: I used to call them fucking “three point buckets.”
[4:31: Oh, man. I'd heard that the DJ was planning on giving away door prizes, but I'd assumed it was going to be a raffle or something like that. It's not, though. IT'S A MOTHEREFFING DANCE CONTEST. This is wonderful news. She is organizing everything right now. Hold tight.
4:33: Okay, got it. She's going to play that song about teaching people how to dougie (“Teach Me How To Dougie,” as it were). We teachers are to walk around and pick the six or seven best dougie-ers and send them to the front. Old white teachers are definitely the best at judging a good dougie, in case you didn't know.
4:35: Aaaaaaand we're off…
4:35:02: OH MY GOD IT'S A GODDAMN DOUGIE APOCALYPSE IN HERE. EVERYBODY IS DOUGIEING AS THOUGH THEY WILL NEVER EVER DOUGIE AGAIN. I WISH YOU COULD SEE THIS. IT LOOKS IN WORLD WAR Z WHEN ALL OF THE ZOMBIES ARE RUNNING EXCEPT INSTEAD OF RUNNING THEY ARE ALL DOUGIEING.
4:35:15: I wish there was a parody song where someone sang, “I'm never gonna dougie again, guilty feet have got no rhythm.” 🙁 You're fucking up, Internet.
4:37: Deep breaths. We are down to the best eight dougie-ers at the dance, who are all at the front right by the DJ station. She says she's going to play the song again and they will compete against each other. This is the dougie contest for the ultra-elite. There has never been a more vicious competition.
4:41: :') This is true beauty. This is perfect motion. This is pure energy. I can't stop crying. I cannot stop crying. :')
4:42: IT'S A TIE. An eighth grade boy and a seventh grade girl have battled to a standstill. They are going to battle each other now! Get Michael Bay here immediately.
4:44: Okay, it's him versus her. We are about to start. I don't know what the prize is yet, but I hope that it's at least a billion dollars because that's what this is worth right now. The girl is up first and is dancing to “Stanky Leg,” probably the best song from the South Dallas Swag movement. I am going to throw up from nervousness. Here we go.
4:45: It's over. SHE HAS THE STANKIEST LEG OF ALL. I WISH I COULD DESCRIBE TO YOU ALL THAT SHE DID OR ALL OF THE WAYS THAT HER BODY MOVED BUT I AM INCAPABLE. AT ONE MOMENT SHE GOT CLOSE TO HIM AND PRETENDED TO SMELL HIS BREATH AND PRETENDED IT STUNK AND THE WHOLE CROWD WENT YO-YO. THAT POOR BOY. #RIPTHATBOY
4:46: He tried to overcome her force but there was just nothing to be done. He was a tiny boy screaming at a tidal wave. Once more for posterity: #RIPTHATBOY
4:48: I don't know what else there is to do after that. I have to go home and go to sleep. This was too overwhelming. Know that America's future is in good hands, my friends.
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