Hands on hips and hands on shoulders. That's how it starts. By the end of the song her arms are around my neck, and we are swaying slowly.
The slow dance was not a means to an end, it was the end. For a shy teenage boy, that's about as far as I dared to dream. Just the chance to hold one of these mysterious creatures close, with her itchy sweater and shoulder pads, and the smell of her perfume and her hairspray nearly intoxicating me, was a chance for four minutes in heaven.
The slow dance is a conglomeration of hormones and music.
The hormones weren't a problem (in a manner of speaking). They were in ready supply.
But, the music was a delicate balance, and different songs produced different results. You basically had two kinds of slow dance songs: soft, pop songs, and hair metal power ballads.
When taken in the proper sequential order, the right slow dance songs could transform even a dull school stomp into an evening of modest groping and sweaty, hormonal, teenage euphoria.
Here's the secret formula:
You're the inspiration: Chicago
A great "getting to know you" song.
Right here waiting: Richard Marx
A lot of hair for such a little guy, but he had it where it counted vocally. Forces her to think about whether she could go on without you.
Lady in Red: Chris Deburgh
Introducing a crucial component to the slow dance: Melodrama. Especially effective if she happens to be wearing red. (And once she was)
One of the greats, with a message of fidelity and eternity -- these are the overarching themes of youth.
Crazy for you: Madonna
The greatest of all soft rock slow dance songs.
Heaven: Bryan Adams
She's holding you closer now, and the friction between her sweater and your jacket have made you so hot that you're going to need a drink of water after this dance. There's only one more song.
Never say goodbye: Bon Jovi
No one -- NO ONE -- does melodrama like Bon Jovi, and this anthem to youth and the eternal nature of friendship will end your night of slow dancing at the crescendo. Guaranteed.
The music has stopped. The fog machine is turned off. The mirrored ball is winding down. Parents are out in the parking lot, waiting, not so patiently, to pick up teenagers, and still get home in time to catch the end of Dallas. She's still in my arms -- momentarily. I thank her for the dance, she smiles and turns to go. Just as she reaches the door, she looks back, briefly, one last time.
Of course this is just one scenario.
What does your slow dance playlist look like?