The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives multiple definitions to the word “awkward,” but my personal favorite is “lacking social grace and assurance.” It is a word that has come to shape our generation in what we think, say, and do. It is often used in conversation multiple times. At Groton it is used to describe anything remotely uncomfortable. Whether it is not having the right change for the Wok n’ Roll delivery man or tripping down the stairs in the Schoolhouse, almost every situation can be “awkward.”
Traditionally, the first dance of the year is called “Awkward Dance.” This refers to the new students who are still uneasy with each other after only a week. The premise of the dance is to make everything so uncomfortable that nothing is awkward anymore. Dorms take this chance to dress up in costumes that add to this feeling.
It is the SAC’s job to decide if a dorm’s theme is appropriate. Mr. LeRoy asked the seniors in charge to have all of the dorms email their theme ideas, and to help ensure that the dance was fun for everyone. Genevieve Corman, an SAC head, mentioned that Lyons’ dorm wanted to do a theme that would have been inappropriate, but they were “very nice and helpful about changing [their theme].” This year everything went well, which SAC heads and teachers appreciated. Dorm heads also had a say in what goes on Saturday night. Petroskey’s dorm unknowingly suggested a theme that Mrs. Petroskey “didn’t want [her] name to be associated with so [they] came up with fun ideas to do instead.” Students are usually very willing to meet their dorm heads’ reasonable demands.
While the dance originated as a way to cut loose on Saturday night, recently it might have taken a turn for the worse. Costumes have been considered inappropriate or even offensive by members of the community. It is one of the first experiences for new Second and Third Formers, and the heated atmosphere brings all kinds of pressure to seem cool with one’s friends.
I had a blast at my first awkward dance. Many relationships with the other second formers of my year were solidified and to this day I am still friends with them. It left a strong impression of loud music, sweaty bodies, and crazy dancing that will undoubtedly last for years. The same is true for many other students. Caitlyn DiSarcina had an especially memorable time her first year in Second Form. She says she “was really excited but nervous because of all of the rumors I had heard.” But where does the fun end and the inappropriateness begin? It is hard for faculty members to draw a line in such a gray area, but in future years it may be necessary.