Somewhere I read or heard or viewed a statement that ‘slow dancing had died’.
There is no slow dancing? This can’t be? Slow dancing is a fabric of life, the meaning of all that is important.
Then I thought about it. Maybe they are right?
I’ve been to a few hipster spots with a very loud DJ turning tunes and flashing lights for youngsters to bounce around in their finest attire fueled by alcohol until exhaustion hits and the bouncer throws the clinging couple out the door.
There just doesn’t seem to be that time at the end of the party when the lights when down low and the music soften for ‘The Slow Dance’.
Maybe it is just a moment in time or a reflection of the past, but dancing or some attempt at moving to the music was a rite of passage. At a certain age, the sounds you hear are no longer that old fuddy-duddy music of your parents. The beat gets your foot tapping and you body starts to sway back and forth uncontrollability.
In my pubescent years, I was sent away to camp every summer. It was to build my manly skills of sailing, archery, ball games and other stuff that bonded boys to other boys. It also got us out of the house for the summer.
Everything was dirt and rough and dirty until one day all the campers were called to the dining hall and this strange foreign woman in tights decided to teach us how to ‘dance’. It was part of our social programming. The college counselors turned on the record player and enjoyed the show of dozen of young boys trying to follow her moves. More like awkward spastics than gazelles, we learned the cha-cha, the twist, the stroll and most important the box step. Since boys don’t touch another boy, the teacher had to go one-by-one to each of us to practice the 1-2-3-4 and repeat.
To culminate our initiation into dancing, an evening was arranged for the girl’s camp to come join us for a night of joy and laughter from our elders watching. Both genders hugged opposite walls until we were pried out to the dance floor to try and duplicate what we had learned but just fumbled and shuffled about with one another.
Then came the slow dance.
We slowly approach a possible partner and asked for her hand in a dance. There was much giggling and embarrassment but we all found girls who didn’t mind touch our hands. The boys tried to lead and the girls tried to avoid being stepped on. These were the same girls who had previously seen us skinny dip but never joined us (for that would have been a different story). We held each other at arms length but it was still something special in her hair and her dress and her smile.
Through cotillions and formal dances, there were more steps to learn but chaperons kept the slow dance partners away from body contact.
Finally, a couple could sneak into a darken club and groove to the music without parental guidance. No matter the finest attire was soaked in sweat and no one cared. We were working it out to the music.
Then the slow dance came on.
A boy and girl held each other so close as to squeeze the stuffing out of each other. A fluid move as one body filled the dance flow. There was no one else in the crowded room but you and her. Hot sweaty stinking bodies sliding against each other in a prelude to foreplay.
I remember being on the stage instead of the dance floor and getting multiple requests to replay the slow dance.
I thought at every wedding there was a slow dance (sorry Joel) like a ritual of passage from father to husband. I thought school proms were produced for the slow dance.
There is a new generation of steps and dance moves and most I would never attempt, but the slow dance. It will live on.
Those secrets messages whispered in each others ear, the feeling when she doesn’t want to hold your hand but wrap her arms around your neck and rest her head on your shoulder, the movement of two bodies as one will create moments that no photo can capture.
May I have this dance?