Square Dancing with Boys

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Let me start by saying, I LOVE the rodeo; however, this wasn’t always the case. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years and I can count on half of one hand how many times I went to the rodeo pre-mid 20s. It’s not because I used to hate country music (though Taylor Swift’s tween, country-pop crap really makes me reconsider the music…Reba fo’ life!) or that haystacks give me the worst allergy attacks ever. It was the fact that when the rodeo came to town it also brought the elementary and junior high Physical Education (aka PE) course of SQUARE DANCING.

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How I dreaded, hated and ultimately forced myself into the gymnasium for those few weeks of god-awful dancing (side note: even this, wasn’t going to stop me from getting the Perfect Attendance award). Now you’re either A. Wondering Why did Jo hate this so much? or B. Know exactly how I felt. For some of us, especially the socially awkward ones, situations like this in elementary or junior high were a nightmare. Throw in some boys and well…our lives are over. (Yes, my fear of boys started at a very young age). It didn’t help that the PE teachers insisted we do these ridiculous dances while Promenading, Do-Si-Do-ing and Allemande-ing but we had touch boys…like actually had to hold their hands. Ew. All of this, FOR A GRADE. Double Ew. I mean, MY Report Card relied on the fact that I had to learn how to dance…in a square…with a boy.

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After a whole hour of torture, there were the girls who stayed back in their little gym shorts (especially in junior high) to giggle with the boys, those who walked back to the locker room either because they didn’t care or were hoping to catch the eye of some boy (and who secretly wanted to be one of those giggling-girls) and then, there was me. Running, as if I were being chased by a herd of wild animals, to get to a sink so that I could wash off whatever horrid, snotty, germy substance the boys had left on my precious hands. Then quickly dressing, speed walking to my desk or locker—to my books—where I was finally safe.

By the time junior high came around, I had become an independent, my-mom-makes-my-lunch, semi-confident, 4-eyed geek who was unwilling to rely on some boy to help me get an “A” in PE. It was time to do something about this. Three jr. high years later, there I was, letting some weirdo boy “swing me by the arm” to the sound of a banjo and a chicken. Mission unaccomplished.

Now, not everything about square dancing was horrible. It actually taught me quite a few life lessons—who Billy Ray Cyrus is, the Macarena dance and that boys still don’t know how to Do-Si-Do worth crap.

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