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First dance? Check Romance? Not so much

There are two things I have never experienced that most sophomores have. Of course, there used to be more, but as this year has progressed, that list has slowly been narrowed down to two.

One, I have never involved myself in any sort of romantic funny-business, and from the looks of it that won't be changing anytime soon. However, the second thing I have never done that the majority of kids my age have -- attend a dance -- was checked off the list last Friday. The list is now down to one.

I want you to understand that going to this year's Homecoming Dance was not my idea. No, that little circle on my social calendar was put there by my parents, who saw the dance as an opportunity for me to expand my horizons and experience teenage culture at its greatest, maybe even learn something. That's not to say I dreaded the prospect.

Actually, I thought it kind of sounded like fun, an opportunity to socialize and catch up with friends who I hadn't seen for two hours. Besides, I reasoned, it won't really be a violation of my "no dance" policy if I just go for the food and friends and don't physically get on the floor and dance. It'll be just like a party; I've been to those before.

But not like this.

There were two things that immediately occurred to me as I entered the school gymnasium where the dance was taking place. One, my parents had been right when they said that this was going to be a learning experience for me. I had no doubts of that. And two, Detroit Lakes takes its dances quite seriously.

A professional disc jockey had been hired, who had brought his master arsenal of "party favors" with him; including a disco ball, bright flashing colored lights, and a fully functional fog machine. All these were well and good, but it was the speakers that led the show. They were huge, and looked noble, almost god-like perched the way they were on their stands above the crowd.

I want you to understand that dancing at this year's Homecoming Dance was not my idea. It was the idea of the surprisingly numerous people who came up to me almost immediately after the dance began, and, well, started right in.

Truth be told, I was completely unacquainted, and thus uncomfortable with the idea of dancing at first. I was also glad I hadn't taken up my parents on their offer to enroll me in ballroom dancing lessons -- they wouldn't have been any use to me here. The dance moves that were employed at this function were of the New Style, a much more, um, involved type of dancing than I had heard my parents speak of when describing their school dances.

This made for some rather awkward situations when people approached me and began using the New Style and I didn't really know I was supposed to react. But as the night wore on, I became increasingly proficient at this business of dancing. It's good to know you don't have to have the dancing skills of John Travolta to have fun at a school dance.

As the last song ended, it occurred to me that the Things-I-Have-Never-Done-That-Most-Sophomores-Have list was suddenly down to one. But I won't count on the last item being crossed off as easily.

Nathan Kitzmann is a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School.