I tried to get out of it, I did. But the girls on student council let me know I couldn't let my partner down and being my sensitive self, I was overcome with guilt and promised to participate.
I got over my initial fears, and wrapped my head around the task at hand. I could do it! And no offense to my partner, a male teacher in the Social Studies department who shall not be named, but I got stuck with a dud, a too-cool-for-school kinda guy. Regardless though, we discussed our plan, and what would happen. We'd seen enough of the kids' Homecoming royalty pep assembly shenanigans to know the drill- a song we picked would come on, and the two of us would go to the middle of the gymnasium and dance for 20, 30 seconds max. I assured Mr. Cool that it wouldn't be so bad. We could pick an old, silly rap song and more lip sync than anything. We'd be okay.
But he refused.
So what was I to do? I certainly wasn't going to go do it on my own, so the gracious student council members said we could just be announced and walk out there at the end. Kind of lame, but better than doing it on my own.
The week went by stress-free. I didn't have to rehearse a silly dance, I didn't have to anticipate being embarrassed. It was pretty awesome!
Then Friday came. The assembly began and soon our part came up. We were last of 4 other pairings since we were just being announced. I still thought it was totally lame, but I went along with it. Couple #4 went...then we were up. Mr. Cool and I walked out to the center of the gym, ready to be announced, give a little wave, and walk off. But instead, something else happened.
I'll never forget it. We were about six steps to the middle, our feet echoing in that silent gym as I'm sure the students were anticipating what dance we would do. And instead of what I expected, a song came on the loudspeakers.
"I'm too" (wait? what?) "sexy for my love," (holy shit, no way is this happening...) "too sexy for my love," (Jesus H. Christ.) "love's going to leeeeeeeaaave" (yes, this is happening).
The beat began.
In that moment I wasn't sure what to do. My partner, the 6'4" basketball coach, notoriously stoic and straight-faced, continued to be stoic and straight-faced. And me, the 5'3" English teacher, notoriously goofy and pretty smiley, decided to channel my inner-Grandma dancing at a wedding, and dance around my stoic partner, who was still standing there in the middle of the gym, unmoving.
I'm not sure why I chose to do this, or what came over me. It was truly a slow-motion moment, a car accident, something I'm sure if you saw happening you wouldn't be able to look away from. In less than a second I became a dancing, shimmying fool. My subconscious had apparently choreographed a number to this song sometime in the 90s and there I was, in front of hundreds of teenagers and my colleaugues, performing it.
In the middle of my 30-second routine that felt like a lifetime, I remember seeing faces. Some surprised, some horrified, some astounded. But I kept dancing. And when the music ended, there was a slow clap. A slooooooow clap. And then cheers as we walked off, either excited about my awesome moves, or excited that it was over, who really knows...
You'd think one of my most embarrassing moments in a high school would have happened to me while I was in high school, but no. It was in my twenties. And in front of all the people I worked with, and all of the little people I had to have authority over, even after they saw me shaking it to "I'm Too Sexy," and even after I was already mistaken for a student every day of my existence. A few life lessons though: one, never assume someone will do what they say. There might always be someone in the group who thinks it's funny to throw some Right Said Fred in the mix. Two, speak up. I should have demanded a different partner so I could have done a fun rap routine, or on at least worn a banana costume like the PE teacher did. Way cooler. There are other lessons here too, like who cares what people think, get over yourself, etc. But most importantly, perhaps the lesson here is that I should channel my inner-Grandma at a wedding more often because guess what? I WON.