Those who know me well know that I love to dance. I trained in classical ballet, jazz and modern from elementary school to high school, but since entering college, this passion has turned into more of an enjoyment of making a fool out of myself.

Not to humblebrag, but I’ve been told I’m a pretty talented dancer. However, while I take great pleasure in getting down to some Beyoncé, I often feel more at home whipping out my arsenal of ridiculous music video dances. Loyal readers, I am about to share a secret with you that, up until this moment, only my closest friends have known: I can Dougie. And, if I’m going to be honest, I’m pretty good at it.
Before going abroad, I would whip out that and a couple other good moves — LMFAO’s signature shuffle was a favorite — whenever those songs would come up on the playlist. You would think that being a small, white girl who stands out at pretty much every party or bar in Costa Rica, I would try not to call attention to myself. Even at Georgetown, I tend to be a wallflower when I don’t know the majority of the people in the room, preferring to talk to my friends as we keep to ourselves. While abroad, however, I have thrown caution to the wind.
Almost immediately upon arriving in Costa Rica, I was taught the Bernie, also known as the dumbest dance move ever. It’s hard to explain, but it involves “holding your head back like there’s a nosebleed coming through.” I’ve also picked up some other prime American dances, including the Wop and the Wobble, both of which I’m proud — or maybe ashamed — to admit that I have performed in public. My friends and I also work it out with some self-taught choreography to “Danza Kuduro” and “Ai Se Eu Te Pego,” two songs that are played everywhere we go. Whether I’m alone or in a group of other girls, I look like a fool all the time. I figure, if people already notice me for my ethnicity, I should give them something to watch.
Honestly, bad dancing is liberating. Its fun, and I don’t mind if people are looking at me. If they are, they’re probably thinking either “That girl is really funny,” (true) or “That girl is a huge freak” (double true). But perhaps the best thing about both of those sentiments — and about bad dancing in general — is that no one ever tries to grind up on me. As I implied before, I’m always up for a nice rendition of Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz’ “Get Low.” What I do not appreciate, however, is the idea that because I am moving my hips, you get to press yours against mine. No. That is not how that works.
To me, dancing is a stress release. It’s something that I do to let off some steam. Some people run, some people play soccer and some people play an instrument, but I grew up dancing. In all these cases, whatever people do to express themselves is something that they care about and a skill they take time to develop. Maybe it’s weird that I develop my skill by watching YouTube videos of bad hip-hop songs, but it’s something I enjoy.
And I think everyone could find the same pleasure I do in looking like a freak on the dance floor. At least take the time to teach yourself moves from one ludicrous music video. There are almost an infinite number to choose from — the Chicken Noodle Soup, the Jerk and the beloved Soulja Boy. I promise you will make friends if you perform any of these; I know from experience. At least I have made people laugh at me, which I always interpret as a sign of affection. Either way, I’m having a good time.
Now, in the words of J. Dash, “I better wop out of here. I’ll see y’all tomorrow.”
Mariah Byrne is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. SURVIVING ENDLESS SUMMER appears every other Friday in the guide.

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