Crushin on the Dumbest Part of 1996

Long before social media crazes featuring dances that mirror air traffic controllers, we were dancing just for the fun of it. We didn’t care if it went viral. Mostly because that term only related to a cold. We just wanted to dance, and dance we did in 1996 to a song that inspired a routine that could be considered an ancestor to TikTok, “Macarena.” 

We were all in with this song, and if there was ever a song that proved music is a universal language, “Macarena” more specifically, “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” was it. Only those who knew Spanish actually understood what was going on in this infectious earworm that plagued the nation, but that somehow didn’t matter. We were living for it…in a way that was, looking back, a little embarrassing. Not as much as the disposable camera pictures of us in JNCO Jeans, but still… Host of ‘Hell is a Musical’ and ‘Writer’s Bagel Basket,’ Scott Kurland, and I discussed this chapter of the ‘90s this week and well, you’ll just have to listen to see where that conversation went…

Anyways, today, you can still see the Macarena performed by your drunk friends and relatives at weddings from coast to coast as it’s become as part of the marriage ritual as the Electric Slide. So it’s not gone away. It’s not AOL. The moves are ingrained into our heads just as much as T9 texting and Thomas J’s funeral. It’s living rent-free in our minds while we spend our entire monthly income on rent; and isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? 

Not so much to me because that’s what the ‘90s were about. At least to me. It was this time that just felt stupid but in the best way. Of course, I’m saying this as someone who was no older than 12 when the decade ended, so I have no clue the trials and tribulations adults were going through then, but for me…life was about having fun and being silly and this song and dance encapsulated those sentiments perfectly, all wrapped up in a teal and pink leopard bow like Lisa Frank was behind it. 

And in my head, I can unwrap plenty of memories associated with this song, but the grandest was in elementary school when we had a whole ass assembly dedicated to it. At least that’s how I remember it. It very well could’ve just been an awards assembly that ended with a grand finale of everyone doing the Macarena. Everyone that wanted to because while I look back at that song and dance with hearts in my eyes, I was an insanely shy child who would’ve rather died than perform in front of her peers, or even alongside. So yeah, kids today that think it’s so wild to get your teacher on camera doing a TikTok dance, it really isn’t. Back in the ‘90s teachers were just dancing for the hell of it. 

Stupid fun just for the hell of it. That’s part of what the ‘90s were all about. 


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