Romance in middle school and high school was fraught with intense emotions, notes that said things like "will you go out with me? Check yes or no," and the age-old dilemma of where to put your arms when slow dancing at the end-of-year dance. Of course, that big dance meant everything: Whether it was prom or Homecoming or the Winter Formal, who you danced with defined who you were. (OK, if I'm being realistic with myself, who I cried about in the bathroom while they danced to my jam with another girl who didn't have a back brace and braces defined who I was, but I digress. GROWING UP IS HARD, OK?) Even more than that, the songs you danced to with those people said a lot about too — and there were some songs that every millennial danced to at school dances, whether they lived the farm towns of Lancaster, Pennsylvania or the city of Cleveland, Ohio, or somewhere along the beaches of California. Slow dancing: America's great unifier (especially of girls calming down other girls who were crying in the bathroom, OK, I should know).
The right slow dance song could make or break a relationship. What if you tried to slow dance to that Celine Dion song, "Angels," and then immediately started getting sad because you thought about the puppies in the Humane Society commercials? Choosing wisely was key. Here are some of the songs that we millennials often chose from back in the day.
1. "Wonderwall" By Oasis
I still don't quite know what a "wonderwall" is, but I do know that this song is really fun to hip-bump the slow dance couple next to you tp. The great War of The Wonderwall happened at many a dance in my day.
2. "Iris" By The Goo Goo Dolls
For some inexplicable reason, my high school DJ ended every single one of our dances with the song. It symbolized the that it was time for everyone to find their heels somewhere in the bleachers and squeeze their blistered feet back in them.
3. "My Heart Will Go On" By Celine Dion
Incidentally, also a really fun song to do fake ballet to with a large group of people.
4. "Hero" By Enrique Iglesias
"Would you dance if asked you to dance?" was the wittiest way to ask someone to dance to this song.
5. "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" By Aerosmith
Most people slow danced to this song while I stood in the corner having panic attacks because it was from the movie Armageddon, which I found soooo scary at the time.
6. “All My Life” By K-Ci & Jojo
Dat piano tho.
7. "Truly, Madly, Deeply" By Savage Garden
That's a whole lot of adverbs.
8. "If I Ain't Got You" By Alicia Keys
Occasionally, a song was not only a slow dance song, but also exceptionally well-done. Your girl Alicia Keys got chu.
9. "Hey There Delilah" By Plain White Tees
We all pretended the person we were slow dancing with would write us as poignant of a song as "Hey There Delilah"
10. " I Do (Cherish You)" By 98 Degrees
What slow song playlist would be complete without some boy band love? No playlist. That's it.
11. "Kiss From A Rose" By Seal
Now, all I can think about this song is that Heidi Klum and Seal aren't together anymore. One has to wonder if anyone who ever slow danced to this song was cursed to no longer be together.
12. "I Swear" By All-4-One
When you look at your dancing partner and just know that you guys will be together forever...or you know, at least until next week when he leaves you for Tina who just got the new Playstation.
13. "Kiss Me" By Sixpence None The Richer
This one's great for the guy or gal who is hoping to get a kiss from that special someone after the big dance.
14. "This Moment On" By Shania Twain
I'm not sure if country slow dance jams were just a thing where I grew up, but I really hope everyone got the wonderful treat of pop-country songs like this one.
15. "The Sweetest Thing" By Lauryn Hill
Ah, the slow dance song you had to kind of grind to a little bit. Such a perfect excuse.
16. "Never Had A Dream Come True" By S-Club 7
The girls are one side of the gym, the boys are on the other. Suddenly, the opening bars of "Never Had A Dream Come True" begin and your eyes catch that of Jimmy With The Peanut Allergy. It's fate, because you conveniently had a dream about accidentally feeding him peanuts a few nights before.
17."On Bended Knee" By Boyz II Men
This is a breakup song, but that doesn't mean it's not a great excuse to slow dance.
18. "A Moment Like This" By Kelly Clarkson
Did anybody else have a slight existential crisis during this song? "Oh my, is dancing to this song going to be the moment of my life? Am I'm going to be alone forever? What is the meaning of it all...really?" Oh, just me? OK... cool.
19. "I Will Always Love You" By Whitney Houston
After minute two, this song started to get a little old, but one does not simply end a slow dance early. So we suffered for this classic.
20. "Nice And Slow" By Usher
Usher was king of the middle school dance. If it wasn't "Yeah," it was this. This dance was the one for which it was most likely teacher chaperones would tell students to "arms length"
21. "Shape Of My Heart" By The Backstreet Boys
I have a very vivid memory of trying to couple skate with a boy I liked to this song. That's not quite a slow dance, but it really is the next best thing.
22. "She Will Be Loved" By Maroon 5
This song is right at the borderline where it's kind of awkward to slow dance to, but you want to give it your darndest anyway, because what else are you going to do? You've already gotten punch five times, and the bathroom line is out the door.
23. "I'm With You" By Avril Lavigne
This is the one you and your gal pals all gathered together and danced to in a big group hug as one girl power collective. Thanks for the memories, Avril.
All this nostalgia's really got me jonesing for the good ol' days. There's no time like the present to reminisce about the past.