Homecoming elicits good memories

Erica Gelman, columnist

I remember my first homecoming. I was not yet disillusioned by the tremors of life, wore a black dress and spent three hours in the bathroom with my mom to style my hair. There was a rumor that someone had spiked the punch and two girls from my group threw up in the bathroom.

This all brings me to a definite postulate: Homecoming is one of the weirdest yet most vital things that a kid can go to.

Taking a step back and examining the very thing that is homecoming as a whole, it seems a bit strange: A group of kids putting on dresses and suits to gather in the school gym (late) and dance a bit before leaving (early) to do the same thing except in different clothes and under the influences of different substances at home. Beautiful. Such reminds me of my freshman year’s turnabout theme: “keep it classy, South”.

Of course, in such a summary I am quick to discount the feeling of buying the new dress, of wearing one, or of course the ultimate and stereotypical teenage wonder of being around so many other teenagers.

Here is an excuse to dance with people you would otherwise never dance with (which is kind of a weird thing in itself– in what other situations would you be dancing at all?) and talk to people you would never otherwise talk to. It’s a rite of passage almost; a subtle but definite one– from kid-who-hasn’t-been-to-a-school-function to kid-who-has.

I remember the slow dancing opening up quickly during freshman year; it hit me like a bomb. Within a couple of seconds, a fast song transitioned into a slow one and a feeling of dread that had been building anticipation for about a month collapsed inwards onto itself.

I almost made it out before some kid invited me to dance, and we spent about a song and a half waddling with arms outstretched, hugging the holy spirit of Jesus Christ between us before the moment ended in quick transition to another fast song. We never saw each other again. This story is a bitter one that I will make sure to keep under my tongue forever, carefully defining the fine balance between memorable and memorable.

It is true that this is a school-centered function, and it’s interesting to think about that. One doesn’t think about school and then suddenly high heels and ties and puke-filled toilet bowls. Or even a good time for that matter.

But homecoming happens time and time again; bright eyes, ironed shirts, sweaty palms, open smiles.

I am against school spirit as much as the next wanna-be edgy kid, recluse or whatever you want to call it. However, I firmly believe such is essential to the teenage experience. Or perhaps, not the teenage experience as much as just life experience.

It is a surprisingly sweet thought: dancing strangely in sweaty dresses and then making stupid mistakes throughout the whole day. Maybe these aren’t the best memories to hold, but at least I’ll be able to hold them. One day as a forty-year-old woman, I’ll be able to think back to freshman memories of slow dancing and finally have a smile 100% nostalgia, 0% cringe. It’s a good thought.