Column: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Portals columnist Jasmine Zhu, tired veteran of twerking, extols the virtue of songs you can slow dance to.


We all know the hits that will get people twerking at parties. (Serious question—has anyone really listened to R. Kelly’s original “Ignition”? Does a version that isn’t a remix even exist?) When the night’s winding down, put on “We Found Love” or “Yeah!” or any top 40 hit to get the crowd going again. Fine—“Return of the Mack” and “Enjoy the Silence” are acceptable, too. Yes, yes, this is fine and great but listen—here’s the thing—I have never slow danced in my life.*

Sorry! I know not everything is about me, but I want it to be. I’m ready to retire some of my more depraved dance moves for a slow sway, head nestled on a partner/victim’s shoulder, solitary tear coursing down my cheek kind of dance.

I don’t know why I have this urge to slow dance. I just know I’ve always had this suppressed ember of desire to slowly move in 4/4 (probably off-rhythm, if I’m being real with my dancing capacities) that I hastily snuff out due to embarrassment. I just can’t let it go—this fantasy continues to haunt me. I think I’m also just tired of people holding back when they dance, kind of shrugging and ironically bemused about the whole thing. It’s okay to be earnest! I think. And slow dancing is as earnest as it gets.

So here it is, my heart on my sleeve—please don’t trample on my dreams—I am somewhat fragile.

It’s the beginning of the night. There are floor-to-ceiling windows with billowy white curtains for some reason. And a moonlit terrace, of course. A single glance is exchanged. A coy smile with a hint of promise—you can feel it starting to happen. You know what I’m talking about. The palpable frisson—oh sorry, maybe that’s just the jungle juice talking. In any case, the game is on.



Uuunnnfff. Can someone kill me?

Basically I was watching Ghost and crying—not because it was sad or anything—but because I was jealous that Demi and Patrick got to slow dance in this really epic, bombastic way. This song is so good. What is this song doing to me. This is the one I will dance to at the end of the night before my lovelorn swain leaves me for another realm. It will be heartbreaking but I will manage to smile through my tears.

Now I’m just feeling very sorry for myself. There’s really no occasion to listen to these songs except in the privacy of my own room and fantasies. Slow dancing has been relegated as the prerogative of octogenarians or pre-pubescent 12-year-olds. Is it because the songs are too emotive and sappy, I wonder? Well, I’ve got feelings, too.

Umm, so yeah, pretty much the next time I’m out at some party, I’ll probably be the one people are booing at because I’ve switched off some Bona Fide Summer Jammer™ for “Be My Baby.” It’s okay if they hate it—I’ll already be crying, anyways.

*Middle school doesn’t count, yo.

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