I just do a normal three step retreat from shmona esray at the end of it and bust out regular old generic bows, however, I am not alone in noticing that there are some pretty different and downright strange ways that folks do the three step retreat.
My roommate mentioned that many BT’s do the Opera Bow. This when they take three large steps back, the full three steps, not the baby ones that folks tend to do regardless of whether they are in between those benches with no room. Nope, in this case the dude will take three big steps back, usually still lost in their shmona esray stance, and you have to get the hell out of the way, because of the trance. They then bow very far like the guys at the end of the opera, you can usually tell who is going to bust it this move based on their bows for Modim and other shmona esray brachas, they are always exaggerated to the point that you may think they will fall over.
The folks who bow as they walk back, I have no idea why they do this and its usually a half assed bow that goes straight until they reach their desired bowing destination, and then it takes on the regular old bow. These folks usually take the full three steps back as well, except they are not giant steps as the pre-bower types have usually been doing the shmona esray shuffle for many years and have tried to develop a certain style to their three step retreat to set them apart from the regulars.
Dude its not kedusha I always want to say, yet these folks will take three baby steps in quick succession and instead of bowing they vfly up to their tippy toes a few quick times and return to their seats.
This was me in high school, I would take three steps back look around to make sure other folks were done so the Rabbis wouldn’t suspect that I hadn’t actually said the whole thing and then I would sit down without my three bows. Shmona esray was the best sleeping time since the Rabbis couldn’t smack you on the back of your head during shmona esray.
They take one step back and bust out a few disoriented nod-like bows. Almost like the guy sees someone he knows yet doesn’t want to make the effort or give the recognization of a full bow, so he just nods in your direction.
These folks go back but they don’t bow for like ten minutes, in that time they usually have their hands clenched together or rubbing each other as if they were very dirty and they are swaying side to side lost in their own violent shuckel. Watch out for these guys because even when you think its safe to sit down and enjoy your time until kedusha they will be hocking around above your head and providing you with a gentle breeze from their shuckeling.
If you liked this post you should definitely check out my classic post on shuckeling- the complete guide.