1. The Reticent
The reticent begins his or her night by declaring that they “are totally uncoordinated,” that they are “not big dancers,” or that they “have just replaced the cartilage in their kneecap.” Their friends not only don’t believe them, but rightfully take their statements as a challenge. Or more like the glove slap in the duel of “getting you on the dance floor to have fun despite the fact that you told me you don’t like dancing and I know from logic, common sense, and being an alive human person that people don’t normally have fun doing things they do not like.” Like the Hamilton-Burr, it’s a pretty fun duel to watch at first, but things devolve quickly for one side. Your friend is confident the only ingredient necessary to change this incomplete equation of you and dancing is force — as in the force they use to drag you, The Reticent’s, limp body to the dance floor.
2. The Social Prop
Remember when you were just a youth? Maybe you had a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or security blanket? Well now that your security blanket is just an adult sleeping accessory that you hide in a pillowcase when you have sex guests — you need something else. That something else is a Social Prop. You need something to hold in your hands, which will make sliding onto the dance floor a cinch. Anything will do: a drink, a cocktail, a shot, a beverage, two beverages, a sign that says “I’m awesome” or in special cases an integral piece of your Halloween costume. The social prop walk involves raising your glass (I know) and pretending that any awkward dance moves were just attempts not to spill your drink.
3. The Girls (And/Or Boys) Just Wanna Have Fun
Are you familiar with the American Civil War? Sorry that was a joke. Obviously, your dad also took you to watch a battle reenactment that you were not entirely convinced was a fake battle — while eating hardtack that you were not entirely convinced was a real food. Like most people, your parents also took you to the premiere of the 1993 film Gettysburg. Of course, you have sat in a movie theater watching three days of gruesome battlefield action in only 4.5 hours, yet somehow still feeling like the film is unfolding in real-time.
Clearly, this is the best and most universal metaphor for this occasion. So, remember the defense of Little Round Top by Col. Chamberlain and the 20th Maine? Well, this is your bayonet charge downhill toward Confederate soldiers. Is that too specific? Let’s make it easier: this is your Battle of Bunker Hill and that 1985 hit song by Cyndi Lauper is “the whites of their eyes” that you have been waiting for to signal you to attack. By “attack,” I mean rush the dance floor as a group like a Chuck Bednarik award-winning lineman and by “signal” I mean blow a whistle like an old-fashioned pre-lockout NFL referee.
Okay, The “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” walk: be in a group of people, hear “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” simultaneously scream, and move to the floor in a tightly huddled group that resembles 5-year-olds playing recreational soccer.
(See also: “Brown-Eyed Girl”)
4. The Tiger Trap
If you attempt this walk to the dance floor you need to be an expert sidler. Really, practice hard on your sidling — don’t slack off — because horizontal movement is absolutely a key to success with this move. Much like a Chinese finger trap, this person who you’re trapping is you. To execute The Tiger Trap: face a group of people who are not on, but are nearby, the area for dancing. Engage these pawns (try Steve or Carissa) in conversation. Here is the critical step: while talking to Steve and Carissa, just sidle, sidle, sidle, until you find yourself on the dance floor. Then, you, the tiger trapper, should look around with the surprised facial expression of a Trapped Tiger (Fact: Tigers’ countenances are so expressive they’re basically poems). Cap the move off with a nonchalant shrug and begin to dance.
The Tiger Trap has a big bonus. You have zero accountability for anything that happens out there on the floor. You can do any weird dance moves you want to and claim that they were mere accidents. I mean you weren’t even aware you were on the dance floor to begin with right? You were just talking to Steve and Carissa. Pull out all the classic embarrassing moves like the Running Man, The Moonwalk, The Tootsie Roll, The Whoomp! There It Is, The Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, The Lawnmower, The Stinky Cable Car, The New Hampshire Stapler, The Spinning Top from Inception, A Triple Salchow, The Mayor Bloomberg, The Hospital Corner, The China Syndrome, The Mentalist, and anything else I might have just made up.
5. The Obama
You are a beautiful, long-limbed human. You confidently stride, almost bounding, directly toward the floor with a stately, yet jocular, air. Then, you commence dancing like a professional until someone fili-busts up the party. This is the exact protocol with one exception. If your path to the dance floor is down a flight of stairs, then you must raise your shoulders up slightly, bring your elbows in like a T-Rex, and lightly jog to the floor. Don’t worry, somehow you still look good.
6. The One-handed ‘Oh’
This is basically the individual version of the “girls just wanna have fun.” This is when a DJ plays your jam. You acknowledge your jam by placing one hand in the air. As you step to the dance floor, you shout “oh” or “this is my jam” or “oh this is my jam.”
7. The Schwarzkopf
You do not give a single solitary fuck. You immediately descend on the dance floor like it is the desert and you are Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf. Optional step: immediately prior to storming it, shield the dance floor. This preparatory step is especially helpful if the dance floor is full of oil reserves.