2007, $2.99, at Goodwill on Brand, Glendale

First Impression: Claw your way out of a lava lamp!

Second Impression: With style!

The hostess sits in an echoey hallway, next to a pile of those fake antique suitcases they have at Cost Plus. She will give us styling tips on how to dance, walk, move, think, speak, eat, sleep, poop, and sit. “Let’s start by sitting here on a bench,” she suggests, as she is perched on a high stool. Stool, bench, it doesn’t matter, because I’m completely distracted by her outfit. It’s a fringey two-piece batik-dyed halter top sarong, best suited for serving cocktails at Boardwalk Sally’s. Their signature shot is called the Don’t Ask.

Welcome to the last vestige of appalling gender stereotypes, the cheaply made partnered social dance styling video! Tips include, be sure to point your foot at the man you want to dance with, but never actually ask him. If he doesn’t read your mind, be sure to seethe prettily.

She cautions us from standing with our feet planted evenly, you know, in an attitude of strength. “Do you see how much weight that just added?” she chirps. Yes, ladies, your worth as a human being is measured in pounds and inches, don’t forget! We’ll keep reminding you so you can’t possibly define yourself any other way.

As to the placement of your hands, pretend you have a Platinum American Express card in your hand. Because, as a female, you are expected, nay, required, to be obsessed about shopping! Make sure your skirt hem hits at the part of your legs where they look widest apart, because that’s what attracts men. Did she really just say that?

She shows us how to put our hand on our own bum while doing a turn. “It kicks a big punch,” trills the instructor. Kicks a big punch… I can’t even. When sweeping your arms around, don’t show too much of your underarms. You want to trick your dance partner into believing that you are a flawless creature, without armpits, nostrils, or Capezio-derived bunions.

The video ends with a blooper reel of every time the dance teacher flubs her lines. How adorable. And then, as an old theater director used to say, “the curtain mercifully falls.”

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