Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slow Dancing

The lights are low and the music is loud. My palms are sweaty, and my tie is a little tight, but my acne is under control. Overhead the mirrored ball slowly turns, painting the walls with a kaleidoscope of light and color. Oddly, a smoke machine blows an ankle high cloud of atmosphere into the room. I see her across the crowded dance floor, and begin to make my way towards her. My heart beats faster, and my breathing becomes shallower. As I reach her, my mouth is dry and my chest is constricted -- I might just pass out -- but I manage to ask her if she would like to dance. To my utter (and continual) amazement, she says yes.

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)

Faithfully: Journey

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?


Aaron said...

Wow....that was great.

You wrote previously about 'art' being short for 'articulation'....I don't think I have read anything you have ever written that took me back to a moment in time, quite like this did.

I saw us...the clothes, the ties, the mullets....the music in my ears, the smell of fog in my nose....

Seriously fantastic. I needed that today.


(To answer your question, mine looked and felt the same...that is probably because we shared the same brain....)

koreen (aka: winn) said...

You can't beat the 80s for slow dance songs. All favorites. Add a few different ones from each of those groups, a few from Air Supply, and I'm all set.

Kelly Deneen Raymond said...

I remember my itchy sweater cardigan complete with shoulder pads from my first middle school dance. Wow, you brought me back.

Did I tell you I saw Chicago a few years back? That was a trip back in time. :)

Nicole said...

I love 80's music. I was in high school in the 90's so it wasnt as great.

Rita said...

Exclude Madonna and Bon Jovi (well except today's Jon Bon Jovi) and you have mine.

Can't believe a guy actually admits to liking Richard Marx. I loved his stuff.

And I'm waiting for more Photography For Dummies" lessons. I know that I need to adjust my F-Stop and something else on my camera and speed, but I never have time to research it and I miss alot of great grandkid shots because I just want to take the picture and the "auto" setting isn't right.

I love your pix. They are works of art.

Heidi said...

Lovely post. It took me back to my middle school dances, well except the shoulder pads, they were a thing of the distant past. :)

Emmy said...

Great post!! Totally took me back in time, just I was the girl and not the boy. But I did do a lot of asking as the boys were just too dumb to bother and I got sick of standing around, so I save the poor suckers. :)

Emily said...

Oh I love that you mentioned Bon Jovi. I stopped paying attention to what you wrote after that...got a little distracted. :)