I dance in the dressing room

The college life habit that never wore off

Shamontiel L. Vaughn
Feb 5 · 4 min read

Some people go in a dressing room and stare at their butts, hips, breasts, waists and every other area of their bodies. They want to make sure their clothes fit.

Me? I glance at those areas, too. But as soon as I button or zip anything that needs to be closed, I dance. You may not hear me doing it in the dressing room next door to you. I usually snap my fingers lightly and try to keep my choreography low-key.

I may lip-sync the words to whatever song is in my head the last time I was blasting my Spotify playlist. Or, maybe I have no song stuck in my head at all. Either way, I’m in a fitting room stall dancing away.

I’ve been doing this dancing routine in dressing rooms for so long that I don’t remember what it’s like to just try on clothing and leave. It started around my college years when I dropped from a size 12 to a size 6. In order to get my bachelor’s degree, I was required to take a physical education course. I hated team sports, so I took weight training. And the weight just fell off.

In turn, all of my favorite jeans started falling off my waist. I had to wear a jacket for a college BBQ so no one could see that my pants didn’t fit. I could dance, but I had to make sure I didn’t go too far. When I got money in the mail (thanks to my grandfather) to stock up on new jeans, I went straight to the nearest department store and tried on my favorite brands.

And then I did the Monastery (also called the Mono, or Chicken Head dance, which I learned from my St. Louis friends and Nelly videos) in the mirror.

I didn’t do it to be cute. It was the first dance that popped into my head, especially considering my alma mater was a Missouri school. I was just shimmying around in the dressing room to make sure my new pants didn’t fall off again.

If I could do my go-to dance moves, I purchased those particular jeans. If I couldn’t, they went back on the hangers. When I came back home after graduation two years later, I gained most of the weight back. But by that time, dancing in the dressing room was routine.

I think everybody should dance in the dressing room. Do a two-step. Get low and twerk. Lean to the side and do the Snake. Pop, lock and drop it. If you’re from Chicago, do some light Footwork. If you’re from Milwaukee, do the Bikers Shuffle. Do whatever makes you feel good.

Dancing in mirrors will show you what those fluorescent lights won’t. Dancing in mirrors will help you see where your clothes move when you move. I glance over at my shadow sometimes, judging me like I’m a lunatic dancing in a fitting room. Whatevs!

And when I decide which clothes I’ll buy while the other people in the dressing rooms don’t know there’s a full-blown party going on in my dressing room, I smile. Even if the clothes don’t fit, I still had fun trying them on.

Dancing just does something for me. It’s the college course I wish I could’ve graduated with. Then again, I would’ve never known the power of weight lifting or the fun of dressing-room dancing if there was such a thing as “dance class” at my university.

Nineteen years later, if you’re close enough to me in a department store, you’ll hear me shifting around. It may sound like I’m wiggling my way out of clothes or taking something off a hanger. But nope, it’s just me in there — dancing and daydreaming about days when my jeans used to fall off.


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Live Your Life On Purpose

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Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

15-year vegetarian journalist/editor; Wag! dog walker; Rover dog sitter; Toastmasters member and 4x officer; WERQ dance enthusiast; Visit Shamontiel.com

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

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