My sister-in-law approached my wife the other day, asking what she wanted added to her wedding play-list (my sister-in-law's, not my wife, as she is already married).

She also asked if we had a special "song" we wanted played. Now this is where things get dicey, as our own wedding playlist consisted of a K-Tel disco compilation.

The subject occasionally has come up during the last three-plus years of our relationship, and it's a question that has no good answer as far as we're concerned.

Can you really be a couple without having a song? If the answer is no, and we don't have a song, do we have to get divorced?

Natural selection

The best way to get a couple's song is to have the song sort of choose you, either by playing during special moments (eating, watching football, eating) or having lyrics that fit your relationship (anyone whose song is "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," or anything by Slayer, should immediately consult a psychologist).

The song usually turns up during the relationship's salad days, when everything was shiny and new and no one had used the bathroom in front of the other yet. Either that, or the female announces to the male they have a song, what it is, and why he'll find special meaning in said song until she decides to go have a special song with another guy, at which time the first song becomes an instant depression-igniter for six months.

I dated a girl in high school who, in the course of a three-month relationship, changed our song three times. There was no discussion — she said it, and that was that. It became quite confusing when I couldn't figure out what music was supposed to make me sentimental for a girl I barely knew.

I dated another girl in high school with whom I had multiple songs — most of them focused on a hysterical man begging a woman to come back after a sadistic breakup. Which, perhaps not so coincidentally, described our relationship. We broke up so much that she'd wake up every morning, flip a coin, and decide if we were going to break up or get back together that day. Some days she'd do both. Others she'd forget to check her schedule and break up when we were already broken up. It was terribly hard work, as I'd never know if I could talk to other girls. Nowadays one would need a 4,000-gig iPod to hold enough music to cover that much drama.

Music from the past

My relationship with my wife is different. Although a sensitive, loving woman (she subscribes to this paper, so I have to say that), she's not overly sentimental. Which saves me a bundle on Valentine's Day and anniversaries. We didn't listen to a lot of new music when we got together because she's a fantastic funkadelic R&B freak. So there's a lot of retro in our relationship — we listen to '70s funk and R&B, watch movies from the '80s and '90s, and try to ignore noise from the children we made in the '00s.

And many reasons to have a song don't necessarily apply to me. For a man to have a song with a woman, the song does not have to be good, or even something the male likes. All a man considers is this: Will sneaking this song onto the stereo around your wife either get you out of trouble or trick her into thinking she wants to have sex with you? That's it. And with this woman, a song won't sway her either way.

So while answering her sister, my wife remembered a terrible movie we both hate so much we've seen it 342 times. And she did get a little sentimental, remembering how we once blew a Saturday afternoon watching it while keeping a running, hilarious dialogue concerning how stupid it was. Shortly afterward, the theme played at a friend's party. We had no choice but to get up and slow dance. It was one of "those" moments she remembered, which made it totally logical to tag the song as "ours," even if I do hate it. (For the shameful revelation, go to my blog at www.ibabuzz.com/insert foot.) And we'll dance to it next weekend and probably laugh ourselves silly. Which makes it the perfect choice.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks @bayareanewsgroup.com.

Read his blog, "Insert Foot," at www.ibabuzz.com/insertfoot.