All of my friends handed me their purses as they climbed onto the bar. I’m not usually the “mom” of the friend group, so I felt a little out of place and jealous as they excitedly lined up to be the center of attention. As much as my heart wanted to be dancing on that bar, slapping my best friends’ asses and waving my hands in the air, my head knew better — even after the three drinks and two shots I had consumed that night. An incident I had witnessed nearly five years earlier replayed in my head as I watched my friends hoist themselves up onto the bar, one by one. An incident so terrible, so disturbing, so horrifying that it made me swear off dancing on elevated surfaces for good.
It happened in high school when a group of about ten or fifteen of us decided to get our drink on in the guest house of one of the richer guys in our friend group. His parents were literally like Amy Poehler’s character in Mean Girls: if he wanted to get drunk, they’d rather him do it in the house — or more specifically, the guest house. It was a teenager’s paradise. There was a pool table, a beer pong table, and a wet bar fully stocked with bottles upon bottles of fancy alcohol. Now, we were idiots, but we weren’t assholes, so we usually brought our own shitty alcohol to drink. But there’s something about drinking a $12 handle of vodka in the same room as a $500 bottle of scotch that almost made the shitty alcohol taste better.
It was just another chill night in. We drank a little, swam a little (because you can’t have a guest house without a pool), and by midnight, we were all pretty buzzed. A good song came on and two girls came inside from the pool and immediately got up on the bar to dance. There they were, two soaking wet eighteen-year-old girls shaking their perky boobs and asses on an elevated surface. It was a total high school cliché. The guys were cheering them on. The girls were cheering them on. Literally all eyes were on them, which means we all saw what happened next.
The water from their bathing suits and hair had started to create a puddle underneath them. Time seemed to slow down as one of the girls slipped in the puddle and started flailing her arms to try and regain her balance, but it was too late. Her feet flew out from under her and she fell face first onto the quartz countertop bar. Her body ricocheted off the bar and onto the ground and the whole room went silent. She barely had a chance to react before the blood came rushing down her face. ‘Rushing’ doesn’t even begin to describe it — gushing seems like a more appropriate word. Blood was gushing out of her mouth and all over her hands that were now covering her mouth and face. Before long, it was dripping all over the floor.
The other girl jumped off the bar (probably not the wisest move considering what had just happened) and went to comfort her friend who was now full on sobbing and staring at her own blood-covered hands. That’s when it hit us. As she was open-mouth sobbing, we realized she was missing one of her front teeth.
The group registered this just moments before she did, and we could not hide our reaction. We watched her face turn from shock to horror as she felt in and around her mouth and realized her front tooth was gone. Let’s just say she didn’t take it very well.
She started screaming her head off and immediately got on her hands and knees trying to find the white tooth that was located somewhere on the white tile floors. Her blood-soaked hands left massive bloodied handprints all over the floor, smearing and smudging along the way. With her hands removed from her face, nothing was stopping the blood from gushing all over the floor. I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying that it was the most blood I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
The group sprang into action. Someone ran to get a towel and gave it to the girl, another guy called his dad who happened to be a dentist for advice on what to do, and the guy whose house we were at was royally flipping out that the girl was going to sue his parents for damages (Rich guys, am I right?). The girl’s friend had taken over the task of locating the missing tooth, and wasn’t having much luck. The guy’s dad said that if they find the tooth, they must immediately put it in milk so it doesn’t die, and that they had to find it soon, or it would be too late.
Now everyone was frantically looking for the tooth, except for the girl who’s tooth was missing. She was holding a white towel that was quickly turning red to her face and crying (partly because of the pain, partly because she now looked like Stu from The Hangover). She called her mom and mumbled that she needed to come pick her up.
So there we were. Ten young, dumb, drunk kids crawling on our hands and knees of a guest house that was now covered in a mixture of blood, pool water, and beer. Someone finally found the tooth behind the bar and ran to put it in milk. He presented the cup with the tooth in it to her and she started crying even louder.
Before long, her mom arrived and whisked her away, tooth in milk in hand, to the nearest emergency dentist. We wished her luck getting the face fixed and walked back into the guest house, which now looked like a freaking murder scene. There was blood EVERYWHERE. On the ground, on the bar, on the chairs, and even on the windows. It looked like we had just walked onto the set of a particularly grisly Law and Order: SVU episode.
We got to work cleaning up the guest house, and I as was literally wiping someone else’s blood off the floor, I made a promise to myself that I would never dance on an elevated surface again. No matter how many drinks I’ve had or how many of my friends are up there, I won’t do it. I’ve seen what can happen when a flirty little dance goes wrong, and I like my two front teeth too much to risk it.
It’s been five years since that incident and I’ve seen countless girls slip and fall off a bar or table. None have suffered quite the same fate as that first girl, but regardless, I’ve kept my promise. It’s all fun and games until someone slips and nearly breaks their face. You don’t forget something like that, no matter how drunk and desperate for attention you get.
And that’s why I don’t dance on tables anymore. .