Dancing

As a follow-up to my post on formal etiquette, I’d like to provide a guide to dirty dancing at Harvard. Since so many guys get so many steps of this wrong, I’m going to be thorough.

You and your bros arrive at a large, muggy room somewhere in the quad. Hopefully the place is already packed with CSA girls. If it isn’t, leave and come back later.

The dance party is now in full swing. Maybe you’re standing awkwardly to the side, holding a beer, and looking at your phone like someone is actually calling you. Put the phone away. There is a group of girls jumping frantically up and down in the middle. Move toward the one closest to you. Place your hand firmly on her shoulder and leave it there until you have her attention. Say exactly, “Would you like to dance?” A lot of guys just start grinding up behind a girl, and to be honest, meet very little resistance, but that’s poor form. (Note: Make sure to get rid of your beer in advance. You’ll need both hands free for this.)

Place your feet two to three feet apart. You will have to bend your knees slightly because standing straight with your feet and hips unaligned for an extended period of time is both uncomfortable and unsexy. The point is to remain “grounded” as much as possible, and to provide a wide enough base if you need to sink lower, later.

Start with your front against the girl’s back. This minimizes height differences (although occasionally you’ll be faced with the hilarious sight of a girl essentially dancing against a guy’s knees), and also minimizes awkwardness, since you don’t actually have to look at each other. You can make small talk if you want, but it isn’t necessary. Do try to remember her name, though.

If she’s a good dancer, it will quickly become apparent. Go ahead, let her lead. As in, if she seems to be “getting low,” get low. If she’s rotating her hips counterclockwise, rotate your hips counterclockwise. Follow, don’t preempt her. In fact, it’s ok to pause a half-second after she begins her move to start yours. Whatever you do, don’t just stand there.

If you’re forced into the position of leading, remember that the key to good dancing is (aha!) synchronization. Focus on making sure that your hips and her hips are moving in the same direction at the same time. If you’re a beginner, stick to the side to side movement, but be on the beat. For some songs, like Down, or Yeah, or anything by Flo Rida, it’s tough to miss. For others that are faster paced, like Nicki Minaj, follow the baseline instead of the frenetic upper beat. Actually, always listen for the bass. And when in doubt, if you think you’re moving too fast, you are.

Keep your hands at her waist if you’re upright, but move them to her thighs if you’re bending more than 45 degrees at the knee. Try not to fondle her in public, but when she raises both arms and puts them behind your neck, take this as your cue to slide your hands down her sides.

If you’re feeling lucky, three songs in, turn her around to face you. Circumvent the knee-bumping issue by moving your right leg between hers. What you want is the maximum area of her body flush against yours. Accomplishing this may require that you make more conservative movements. For extra points, put your arm firmly around her waist and lean into her body. You want to be carrying almost all her weight before dipping her.

After about twenty seconds, verify (to the extent you can) that she’s attractive. Proceed to make out. And voila, that’s how you DFMO in under ten minutes. If I keep going, you’d owe me pictures.

-Ren