Bad Romance

Performed live at Beast Women Fall 2019

I don’t always do the Bad Romance choreography at weddings or parties, but when I do it means I’m genuinely having fun.

I fell in love with the song and video as any high school senior dreaming of headed off to NYU the next Fall would. I was obsessed with Lady Gaga from the start of her career and Bad Romance took the obsession to a whole new level.

It started nearly exactly a decade ago, the day the song premiered at an Alexander McQueen fashion show in October 2009. I saw a low quality clip of the song as models walked down the runway on Perez Hilton.

Hearing the song for the first time, playing through my MacBook’s speakers in my childhood bedroom, I felt this was a whole new level for Lady Gaga. I would come to understand it would bring me to a whole new level as well. The song was unlike anything else she had produced in her fairly fresh career but somehow made all the sense in the world. It was dark and gothic but still pop. It was everything I needed to hear at Seventeen. Full of dark emotions but still apple pie sweet in my bubble of a suburban childhood. 

From the outside you would have thought I was a confident high school senior but deep down I was living a lie. I was actually extremely insecure and unsure I would ever get into my dream college of NYU. I had been told by school counselors, teachers, and even the parents of my friends that my dream of attending NYU was unrealistic. It was 2009, one year into The Great Recession and NYU was the most expensive college in the nation. Not to mention my grades and test scores weren’t perfect. They were solid but I had no actual idea if I could get into NYU. 

Just a few days after the song had been played at the Alexander McQueen fashion show and before it had been officially released as a single, my friends and I had figured out how to rip the audio from the youtube video of the fashion show and burn it onto a CD. That day we were headed to Six Flags Fright Fest and I was nervous. I was a nervous Nellie in general because I had just turned in my NYU early decision application, the only college application I turned in. I had everything riding on getting into and going to NYU because I had projected this false confidence of getting in to everyone who would listen. I just felt it was my destiny in a way only a teenager can believe. Before the experience of your early 20s tears you down and makes you hard and realistic. 

I was also nervous because I had never been on a real roller coaster. I was just going to Fright Fest because that’s what my friends were doing that day. The entire way to Six Flags we listened to that ripped from the runway version of Bad Romance. I now believe in that way you believe in magic as a young child that hearing that song over and over again and singing the words over and over again gave me the power and the bravery to get on Raging Bull one of the scarier roller coasters at Great America.

As I sat in the seat I suddenly realized I could actually get into NYU and go to NYU like I had been telling everyone who would listen for the past year. I knew I could move away from everything I knew and loved and have the freedom to learn and live in New York City. Lady Gaga likes to say “if you tell yourself a lie enough it becomes the truth”. That moment on Raging Bull was a moment of total clarity that I owe completely to the power of Bad Romance and Lady Gaga. 

After that day, I walked a little taller. I had more genuine confidence, unlike the false confidence I had been portraying the months & years leading up to that day at Fright Fest. 

It’s been ten years since that song came out but it’s still my go to dance song. I know all the choreography, even the part when she lays on the ground and kicks her legs up and down to the beat of the rah rahs. 

The sad thing is I’m not always confident enough to do the dance anymore, as I was when I first gained confidence ten years ago. But every time I do muster up the courage and do that dance at a wedding or party I remember how I felt when I first heard that song, how I felt when I knew I could live my dream and go to NYU. How it felt to be genuinely brave. 

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