First Chance Dance

Ah, senior spring—when some of us solicit people we’d hardly ask to pass the salt in the d-hall for sex. Eyes swipe right and left; rigid social divides melt like snowflakes. The season is ushered in by First Chance Dance: a freshman tradition lost to us by act of hurricane, the dance—and with it, the freshman-fall-free-for-all-sex-hungry-nostalgia—has been resuscitated. Tickets cost $20, which means to get my money’s worth I need to consume the equivalent of 25 glasses of wine. 


(Atrocious white; effectively $10/glass)

I am greeted by an olfactory wall of shampoo and pheromones, spilled alcohol, and sweat. The party is full of tit starers, dry humpers, existentially confused early twenty-somethings who want to get their dicks wet. Everyone looks like everyone, only more sexually eager and in tighter dresses.

I am not least among the penciled brows and push-up bras: My liner wing goes on for miles, shadow smokier than a hipster bar; my legs are the smoothest they’ve been since puberty; and my nipple situation is out of control—like a glamorous early Kirsten Dunst, in an alternate body-positive universe in which Kirsten Dunst could have ever starred in a cheerleading movie as a DD cup.

I adjust my boobuation in the bathroom mirror (misted with sweat and questionable decisions) between a girl I’ve interviewed for The Crimson and a girl I hooked up with freshman year. Meanwhile, a group of women debate the finer points of freshman versus senior grinding.

“It’s cool, here, if a dude grinds on you without you quite knowing him, because you sort of know him already, right?”

At this point, I exit the restroom and push my way to the front of the drink table, preparing to hip-check any errant pelvis that comes between me and the booze. Feminism!



(Gross; effectively $10/cup)

And here is my freshman year roommate! We kiss briefly on the lips, because that’s not gay at all. Between enthusiastic hugs and reminiscences of all of the times I sexiled her freshman fall and then cried the next morning on my journey to self-actualized womanhood, I end up drinking her beer.

All other urine-flavored beer is but a shadow on a cave wall beside this baby: It’s both fuzzy and flat, so metallic I worry I’ll poop a penny. As I muse over the finer notes of its flavor profile, two very intoxicated girls approach. They press their bodies against me like subway gropers or my close-talking relatives. I have never seen them before.

“You are soooo beautttiful,” Woman One says. “Isn’t she soooo beautttttiful?”

“Soooo beauttttiful,” says Woman Two. “It’s the adorable gap tooth.”

I smirk over to where Hot Boy who asked my entire freshman Expos class “why Reina had never gotten her teeth fixed” is doing his stupid two-step.

Woman One says, “Men would think you were so beautiful in Africa. We’re from Africa, and African men love gap teeth.”

“Oh!” I say, my White Liberal Guilt squirming lest I appear to think that Africa is a unitary national entity. “Which country?”

“Africa. All of Africa.”

“I always was glad I didn’t get braces,” I say nervously, downing the last fizzy contents of my glass.



(???; friend’s room)

The eternal loneliness of the unmated! I leave the party with my bra in my pocket, still scanning the crowd for gorgeous people whose roommates I have never hooked up with/whom I do not find deeply ideologically objectionable/who have genitals and believe in affirmative consent. My roommate, whose tolerance for my bullshit is admirable and dwindling, tells me to get a move on: Her hands are still red from the walk here.

Alas, I reflect as we near the Kong. My biological clock is ticking; the time to find a Harvard power spouse who will fill my womb and 401k is dwindling as rapidly as my youthful beauty. Will the crowds through the Kong window not take me into their human harmony? I press my nose to the glass.

My other freshman roommate and various friends and acquaintances wave. Oh hey guys, what’s up?

I end up in a friend’s suite. There is whisky that tastes like nail polish, early 2000s hip-hop that sounds like love. We dance in front of the wide windows, silly in our finery, against the cold coming off the glass.

At some point while dancing, my friend goes in for the tit squeeze–just once, a bit of companionable pressure. Do not fear the loneliness of the present, the uncertainty of the future, says the tit squeeze, for I am here. My laptop blaring Destiny’s Child, my hand, accidentally-on-purpose, grazing your breast.


 This post first appeared at The Harvard Crimson.





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