The Six Mysteries of Grinding We May Never Understand

For those of you that aren’t aware, “grinding” is that dance that college kids like to do in their free time, in which it more or less looks like two people are dry-humping each other. This also is something referred to as,”freakdancing,” which is pretty accurate if you’ve ever seen a crowded dance floor at a bar—it literally just looks like a sea of mentally disturbed orangutans attempting to mate. And of course, nowadays, grinding is so mainstream that we usually just refer to it as “dancing”, which is sad.

Being a normal college kid that likes to go to bars and parties, I’m pretty well versed in grinding culture. But there are still some things that I fundamentally don’t understand about it:

1. Girls that feel like they need to be “saved” from dancing with a guy that they don’t want to be dancing with.

There seems to be this common myth among girls that, if you’re stuck dancing with a guy that you don’t want to be dancing with, you absolutely need another girl to come grab your hand and pull you away. The problem with this myth, of course, is that it implies that you can’t do the easiest thing of all, which is to just walk away. It’s really that simple. If you’re dancing with somebody and don’t want to be anymore, then don’t dance. Duh. If he tries to keep you from leaving or tries to “lock you into place” with his hands or whatever, he is possibly what is commonly referred to as a “rapist,” and he is definitely what is commonly referred to as a “creep,” in which case you should get away from that dude ASAP. But don’t feel like you have to be “saved” from a guy that you don’t want to be dancing with. Be your own hero. Leave the creep behind. (These sound like these would be some great lyrics for a Taylor Swift song).

2. Who the hell was the first girl that agreed to this whole “grinding” thing, anyway?!

We all get why guys love grinding–they all just want someone to rub their magic stick. But WHO THE HELL were those girls that decided to agree to this whole phenomenon and make it a widespread thing? To be clear, I’m totally cool with grinding if it’s, you know, with Justin Timberlake. That’s all fine and good. The problem, of course, is that 99.9% of the time, the rando grabbing you from behind is NOT Justin Timberlake. So, whoever the girl is that decided to make grinding a thing is essentially a giant bitch, because she just made it SO much harder for the rest of us to have a good time on the dance floor without being worried about getting borderline fingered by Blackout-Drunk Billy from Stat101. The dance floor is the ONE place we get to let loose, and all of a sudden we have to go from waving our hands in the air like we just don’t care to being confined to a square-foot block of space and swaying back and forth. Thanks for confining me, bro. Do you want a sandwich while you’re at it?!

3. How did grinding even become a thing, anyway?

I’m assuming that the inventor of grinding was a guy, because as we mentioned above, there’s the whole magic-stick-rubbing aspect of it.  However, it could’ve been a couple too–I mean, we all know that one couple that’s so disgustingly PDA that they would probably not be above trying to make public dry-humping a mainstream thing.  Regardless, how did it start?  Was there a couple out there having sex that all of a sudden went, “Hey, we should do this with our clothes on….in PUBLIC!” Or was there somebody who was actually watching mentally disturbed zoo animals mating that went, “Hey, that seems like a great way for high schoolers to celebrate Winter Formal!”  I don’t know.  I really just don’t know.

4. Do guys know that there are other types of dancing?!

Serious question. I always hear guys say that they feel like they have to get their grind on with a girl or else they don’t have anything to do on the dance floor, which is stupid because:

A) For a guy, grinding is just the laziest thing ever.  Have you ever seen it go down? He LITERALLY just stands there.

B) The whole POINT of dance floor dancing is to look like an idiot. So just embrace it!

It’s so much more fun to just wave your hands around or do the shopping cart or running man or whatever. If you’re worried about looking “stupid,” look to your left at the white guy in a sweater vest and girl in the Forever21 bodycon dress that are swaying back in forth in a way that disturbingly resembles a pair of mating insects. Do they look cool? No. No they do not.

5. Guys that think that dancing automatically means, “Yes, I’ll hook up with you.”

Nope. Those are two very different things, especially considering that the majority of guys don’t even so much as ask to dance with you. They just come swooping in from behind like a hawk honing in on a squirrel and just assume that you’ll go with it, and then somewhere down the line assume that this means you’ll go back to their room with them? Yeah, that’s the part where it’s time to “nope” it on out of there.

6. Couples that insist on grinding to every. single. song.

I’m going to say this once, and let me be very clear. Some songs are simply NOT meant to be grinded to (ground to?). “All of Me” is not a grinding song. “Sweet Caroline” is not a grinding song. “Story of My Life” is not a grinding song. Mother-fucking “Wagon Wheel” is NOT a grinding song, nor is, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Radioactive,” or anything else that could plausibly be sung around a campfire. Really, unless a song has one or more artists with a name that begins with “Lil,” it is NOT going to be the ideal grinding song. But does that stop some couples? Nope.

Look, guys, I’m very happy for you that you’re in love or about to get it in or whatever, but you do know there are other kinds of dancing, right? (see #3). It’s okay to take a break from public approved dry-humping every once in awhile, I promise.

I get that grinding is the go-to for dancing to hip-hop, and I get that it’s a superb segue into finally making out with that beautiful piece of man-candy from GEOL 120.  But no matter who you are, you have to admit that grinding culture has gotten out of hand.  I hereby propose a movement to make classic 50’s swing dancing the go-to dance style in bars.  Who’s with me?

Featured image via Unsplash


  1. Oh my lord! Hahah! Thank you so much for this! So true and absolutely hilarious! I mean, “mentally disturbed orangoutangs attempting to mate”? haha you downright absolutely nailed this article. Massive high five to you! (And a box of cupcakes too) 😀

  2. I was laughing my butt off reading this! I absolutely love your article. I have never “grinded,” and I vow to never ever ever “grind” in my life. I actuallyyyy like to dance — Why waste great music on the dancefloor? Anyone grinding at my wedding will be thrown out.
    **** Count me in on your proposition for the swing dancing movement!!!!!

  3. wait what are the other socially acceptable ways to dance in a club? honestly? you can’t take up too much room and you can’t be swinging your limbs all around with drunk people stumbling into things. grinding is simpler and more direct and FUN if you can find a guy with rhythm. and it doesn’t mean you have to hook up with him at all. I do agree with a few of your points though, like girls who need to be rescued and trying to dance to wagon wheel.

  4. Since you’ll never bag Justin Timberlake, you may go ahead and get on with that sandwich, thanks.

  5. what you don’t understand is that grinding never originated from USA its more of a latin culture thing with the swinging of the hips and a guy dancing at the back or front..
    wasn’t really about rubbing the magic stick , it was about following the girls movements on a latin song :p first of all most of you male Americans can’t really grind, you just stand there and let the girl shake her ass on your shaft …you should really learn how to follow the girls movements most latin guys know how to this and its quite easy as a matter of fact. you guys grabbed something from another culture and used it for another purpose… and even like that, the majority of you guys cant even grind. Spanish cultures, Jamaicans ( are a little bit extreme) can really dance.

  6. Seriously one of the best articles I have read in a long time relating to dancing culture. It was hilarious and all of them are so true! Please bring back swing so we can enjoy our dancing freedom again!

  7. You are salty because you are the ugly girl of your group. I once had to distract the ugly girl from cock blocking my mates. She refused to leave her friends alone until I offered to buy her greasy fatty pizza. Cost me $9 bucks to get my buds laid and she ate all the pizza -_-


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