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Headphone dance proves awkward yet fun

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Jay Gatsby popped champagne bottle after champagne bottle at his extravagant soirées, Elizabeth Bennet pranced gleefully with the most attractive men at the Meryton Ball, Alice munched cheerfully on sandwiches and cake at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and I watched quietly as the awkward 70-or-so college students danced ridiculously in complete silence. To say the Pause’s most recent shindig lived up to my literary fantasies would be an understatement. I know for a fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald is currently rolling in his grave realizing that a silent headphone rave was what kept The Great Gatsby from being The Greatest Gatsby.

Walking into St. Olaf’s billiard-karaoke-comfort-food hub that night, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The student security guards, who just want to get their work-study paychecks, pushed open the doors for my friends and me, and, in a sacrosanct experience, I felt like I time-traveled back to sixth grade. The small dispersed clumps of people awkwardly boogying, the disheartening 3:1 staff to student ratio, the faint thumping of Soulja Boy – all culminated in an experience deeply reminiscent of a John Hughes teen coming-of-age flick.

To go into the actual logistics of the night, in a school of about 3,000 students, I wouldn’t say turnout was the best. I’m sure this will come as a shock, but the few who did squeeze the Pause dance into their schedule also happened to be mostly first-years. It feels as though the dense first-year attendance rate speaks to the lack of engagement by the older students at Pause events. Though likely due to a stigma of older students not wanting to be seen with awkward 18-year-olds, and in part due to having attended countless Pause dances in the years before, I feel that had more people pushed through the initial discomfort, it could have been an absolutely fantastic time for everyone – upperclassmen and all.

Although I probably would have had even more fun with a few shameless friends and a shot or two of Smirnoff (just kidding, I obviously don’t drink on this dry campus), the experience was beyond hilarious. To the upperclassmen who think they’re too cool to go, I’d say you missed out on some stupid fun.


Alexia Nizhny ’22 (nizhny1@stolaf.edi) is from New York, N.Y. Her major is undeclared.