It is mandatory, when cleaning, that one must shake their ass. You can cry while doing this, or smile, or feel any sort of emotion you please. But if you are cleaning, you have to dance. It’s the rules! I didn’t make them, but I’ll definitely break into your house (sonically) and help enforce them!
With a pandemic sweeping the globe, and cleaning products flying off shelves faster than Destiny’s Child could break records, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what I’ll be listening to this weekend, hands and knees on the ground, ass in the air, while I scrub my floors and sanitize every surface in my too-expensive Bay Area closet slash apartment. Recently, there’s been a plethora of halfway-decent pop music with which to craft a danceable playlist. But I’m stressed out, and these new girls on the music scene just don’t soothe my various neuroses like the TRL titans of yesteryear.
Why the pop pleasures of the aughts are my go-to anxiety cleaning soundtrack mystifies me. Perhaps I was the most stressed as a child, considering I absorbed much of this via radio (or Walkman) circa the fourth grade. Elementary school was a nightmare for anyone, especially trans delinquents with a permanent seat in the principal’s office. I’ve read somewhere—although I do not claim to know a single scientific fact—that people often gravitate to objects, people, or abstract symbols they associate with strong emotions.
I’m also like my own mother, who thinks the possibly lethal smell of Pine-Sol is one of life’s great pleasure. She’s a stress cleaner herself, and when I wasn’t kicking rocks on my way to be admonished by some adult at school, I was sitting in a precariously tall chair in the living room while she mopped around me. The tinny radio player she’d keep on the coffee table, which crackled and popped louder than the music itself, was frequently tuned to 102.5, the only good station for miles. It exclusively played Destiny’s Child and Britney Spears and all the other sirens former teens my age will admonish their grandchildren—or random people on the internet with—in 50 years, cranking on about how much better things were in “our day.”
Well, it is still our day. Our day to live, our day to be anxious, our day to stress clean our personal space while wondering how a crumbling healthcare system could possibly save us, our loved ones, and the world at large while a pandemic tears through our communities. At least, in this moment, there’s time to dance. And so dance I shall! You can listen to the below playlist here: