The sudden feeling of mortification one experiences when recalling an embarrassing moment from their past.
Once, when I was about twelve, I challenged an older boy to a dance-off in order to impress a girl.
I was on a cruise with my parents, and had met the girl at the ship’s After-Hours Kids’ Dance Club®. She’d given me my first kiss just the night before, and yet there she was… enveloped in the long arms of an older boy with a prominent adam’s apple and a chinstrap beard.
I boogied my way, devastated and betrayed, toward the swaying two and in a brazen misfire of gallantry, challenged the boy to a dance-off.
The ensuing gyrations I inflicted upon that room, and the psychological scarring they wrought have never fully left me.
This was nearly 20 years ago, and yet I can still hear the song that I danced to. “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters. And I still crumple under identical humiliation when I recall how I’d danced not to the song’s scummy, jangly beat… but to its lyrics. How I’d writhed back, to the middle, and around again. How I’d splashed my hands up in spastic multiples of 10 to somehow represent the notion of 100%. And I recall, oh how I recall, after I’d awakened from my desperate, flailing display – my terpsichorepisode – how the girl fixed a hateful glare on me with eyes as wide and horrified as her mouth.