My school is not known for the quality of its dances, and this one is no exception. It’s oddly cold in the building, my feet hurt from my teetering heels, and the bass vibrates just a little too deeply through my lungs. But I go anyway, knowing I can count on at least a couple of good songs to play between too-heavy bass and unintelligible lyrics. When it matters, my friends pry my phone out of my hands and drag me out onto the dance floor.

We were victims of the night,” we scream along to “Walk The Moon” at one another. “The chemical, physical kryptonite—

The music still isn’t ideal—one of my friends and I have been pushing to DJ a dance for years and have always been denied the opportunity, so maybe we set our expectations a little high. But the place warms up fast with people in it, and every once in a while there’s something we can really dance to, and were we really hoping for much more, anyway?

Besides, the best part of the night is always getting ready. It’s a flurry of “Here, use my liquid eyeliner,” and, “Do you have earrings I can borrow?” and, “I can’t believe I forgot Spandex!” It’s dancing before we even get to the party, it’s fixing each other’s bra straps, and eating whatever we can before we put our lipstick on, and humming along to One Direction songs.

We even Skype our friend through the process. She’s doing an exchange student program in Turkey this year, and most of us haven’t seen her face in months. “It’s 1 AM here,” she says, “so I can’t talk too loudly. I might wake my host family up.” But she stays on the line with us for over an hour and kisses the screen goodbye. ♦