CULTURE

"Numa Numa" Came Out 15 Years Ago, and My Life Has Flashed By

There are teenagers now older than I was when I first saw Numa Numa Dance.

In the days before YouTube existed, my middle school friends and I practically lived on Newgrounds.com.

Browsing Newgrounds during the daytime always felt like playing with a live grenade. My best friend Dave's family desktop was right smack in the middle of his living room, so his mom could see whatever us boys were doing as she milled about the kitchen. Newgrounds centered around user-submitted content, much of it animated, and most of it featuring a distinct "everything is stupid, nothing is precious" sense of humor characterized by over-the-top violence, sex, and razor-sharp edge. In other words, middle school me thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Sometimes during sleepovers, late at night after Dave's parents were asleep, we would head downstairs and gawk at Newgrounds' 18+ section together, which included lewd dating simulators featuring poorly designed cartoon avatars and a game where you could murder Steve from Blue's Clues.

But during the daytime, when Dave's mom had a chance of peeking in on our activities, we stuck to Newgrounds' homepage which skewed a little more tame, at least for the most part. It was on this very day (December 6th), 15 years ago, that we stumbled upon a fresh video on the homepage titled Numa Numa Dance.

Numa Numa www.youtube.com

The video featured a doughy man, later identified as one Gary Brolsma, dramatically lip syncing and dancing to the Romanian single "Dragostea Din Tei" by the Moldovan pop group O-Zone. Brolsma's performance was, in a word, perfect. The "dance" was stupidly basic, with Brolsma mainly pumping his fists up and down and gyrating side to side. His facial expressions were expertly timed (an eyebrow raise cued to a goofy sound effect, for instance), and on top of that, Brolsma was really funny looking.

We instantly loved Numa Numa Dance, watching it again and again and again, laughing uproariously as we attempted to copy Brolsma's moves. Numa Numa Dance would become the first "viral" dance video, hitting two million views on Newgrounds which, back then, was staggering.

There are teenagers now, older than I was when I first saw Numa Numa Dance, who weren't even alive when Numa Numa Dance came out. Which is to say, how does time move so fast?

15 years sounds like such a long time, but it doesn't feel like I first watched Numa Numa Dance over half my lifetime ago. When I think about Numa Numa Dance, it feels like only a few years back that we were hanging out in Dave's living room, playing N64, talking all night during sleepovers, and stealing Dave's older brother Matt's uncensored comedy CDs to listen to jokes our parents didn't want us to hear. How could Numa Numa Dance have come out 15 years ago?

The older you get, the more life becomes a series of disparate moments. Days, weeks, years blend together, leaving you with memories that are more like feelings, perhaps not even wholly real. All the rejections, disappointments, and pains of childhood dull over time, as rejection, disappointment, and pain become part and parcel with being an adult. But you only get so many Numa Numa Dances, and when you think back 15 years later, maybe those Numa Numa Dances are the only things that really mattered.

We all know them.

That person who just waves off your gift-related questions and says, "I'll like anything you get me," who seems to always have the latest in everything, whose taste is so refined and specific that you just know that every gift you buy them is gonna end up collecting dust in the back of their closet. Whether they're your spouse, significant other, parent, or co-worker, we know one thing: They're a musician.

In the same way that musicians are perfectionists about their music, they're often the same way about the rest of their lives, from their tech to their clothes. This, of course, makes it incredibly hard to buy gifts for them. Sure, there's probably some music engineering software they'd love, or maybe a new guitar tuner; but how are you, a non-musician, supposed to know anything about that stuff? Fear not, while many musicians seem like enigmas, there are a few factors that they all have in common, which means there are some valentines gifts that your musical loved one is guaranteed to love no matter what.

Style:

There are two things you need to consider when clothes-shopping for a musician: comfort and cool-factor. Let's be honest: A big reason most people get into music is because of the look, which means that anything you buy has to be on-style. But it's also important to consider the kind of lifestyle a musician leads. Odds are, they spend a lot of time lugging around heavy equipment, crammed into vans, and rehearsing for long hours, and then after all of that, they have to be ready to perform. Luckily, you don't always have to sacrifice comfort for style.

Public Rec

Public Rec is all about stylish, comfortable clothes you can wear every day. According to their website: "We perfect the classics with custom-made performance fabric. A tailored fit. And design details that elevate 'good' to unquestionably better." We can absolutely attest to this. Every article of clothing from Public Rec is made out of durable, high-stretch, moisture-wicking, breathable material that wears like work out gear while looking like stylish staple pieces. Every musician deserves classic go-to pieces they can pair with everything and be comfortable in no matter what their busy day brings.

Pictured below:

All Day Every Day Pants

Go To Henley

Crosstown Bomber


Band Tees

There's nothing like a good band t-shirt to complete any musician's look. This website is a great source for officially licensed band merch from even the most obscure groups. Simply search your musician's favorite band or artist, and get them a shirt they'll never want to take off. Plus, paired with a Public Rec bomber, you've got a look that any musician will feel like themselves in.


Black Dress Code

This site is all about comfortable, basic black clothes made specifically for musicians. If your musician plays in an orchestra or other ensembles, it's likely they're required to wear all black for concerts. Now, with this site made for and by musicians, they have a range of durable and flattering options to rock comfortably all year long.


Gear:

No, you're never gonna know exactly what musical equipment the musician in your life needs unless they tell you, but there are a few things that they're sure to use no matter what.

High Fidelity Ear Plugs

Unlike regular earplugs, these earplugs don't distort the quality of the sound. They just filter out harmful decibel levels, allowing your beloved musician's hearing to stay perfectly intact, even at the loudest concerts or gigs.



Pick Punch

Guitar players are always digging through their pockets looking for a pick, but with this pick punch, anything can be used to strum those strings. As long as they can find an old gift card or other plastic material, they're never without a pick!


Musician Hand Exerciser

No matter what instrument your loved one plays, odds are that they need to keep their hands strong and healthy to excel at their craft. That's never been easier than with this hand-grip exerciser, guaranteed to increase finger dexterity and grip strength with frequent use.