Sunday, 26 January 2014

Let's Dance...

It’s been a very sociable week.  Hurrah!  A restaurant followed by The National Television Awards, another restaurant, then a club and, later this evening, yet another restaurant.  What a pleasant change.  Because until very recently, my social life was like a drought.
          Prior to Christmas I was convinced a party or two might be on the cards. Having moved house a few months ago, I was convinced the New Year would see an invitation or three from neighbours, either with offers to join a house-warming ‘do’ or else a New Year’s Eve knees up.  But whilst our neighbours are pleasant, it turned out they had young children and peace and quiet took priority.
          ‘How I wish,’ I said to the husband, ‘that we were still young enough to go to a club.  I’d give anything to have a good dance.’
          ‘I’m done with dancing,’ said Mr V.
          He’s been saying that for the last decade.  A few years ago I managed to bully him into taking up Ceroc as an evening class.  We did this for a little while, until Mr V declared he didn’t like it.  So we switched to salsa.  Who can resist the lure of the music as pin thin women and snake-hipped guys effortlessly blend their bodies as one?  It’s not called dirty dancing for nothing!  So, can we salsa?  No, of course not.  Regrettably Mr V kept reverting to Eighties Disco moves, and I didn’t progress beyond the forward and back steps.  And that, I thought, was that.  Until last night.
          Wham!  Suddenly we were in a club.  The location was Leeds, so a long way from home.  It was a leaving ‘do’ for some of Mr V’s colleagues at Head Office.
          ‘Can you salsa?’ asked a female colleague.
          ‘Can I salsa?’ Mr V laughed in a of-course-I-can-salsa-any-idiot-can-salsa voice.  He then swiftly declined the offer of a salsa dance on the grounds of having just bought a drink.  ‘Debbie will salsa with you instead.’
          The female in question was quite happy to dance with another woman.
          ‘You’ll have to lead,’ I said, ‘as I can only go backwards and forwards.’
          And we were off.  Forwards, backwards, strut-strut, a messy twirl, forward, backwards, hip swing, strut-strut, oops, wrong direction, forwards, backwards, bounce off each other’s tummies, strut-strut, fling arms up and, oops, punch somebody walking by, and forwards, backwards, feet protesting, strut-strut, ouch, going to have to stop, feet are really not liking this…
          So I resorted to wiggling.  For the uninformed, this is dancing on the spot.  The feet don't move and therefore do not protest so much.  Two hours later I was all wiggled out.  There’s only so long you can impersonate a tree blowing in the wind.
          By this point many of the gathering were the worse for wear.
          ‘We’ve had enough of the music in this club,’ said one merrymaker, ‘and we’re going to another where the music is a mixture of,’ she frowned and did an expansive gesture, ‘just everything.’  Fabulous.  Except my feet were having none of it.  I was also stone cold sober thanks to drinking a gallon of soda water.  An earlier attempt to sup a Bacardi and Coke – which I haven’t touched since last summer – resulted in a head rush after three sips.  By this point it was half one in the morning and Mr V and I suddenly felt monumentally tired.
          ‘We’ll say goodnight,’ said the husband.
          Saying goodnight took a while.  In England you hear talk of the North/South divide.  It relates to quite a few things.  From regional scenery and house prices, to politics and employment.  I would like to add something else to the North/South list. And that is friendliness.  I should have been born a Northerner.  They are so much friendlier than Southerners.  How many times have I been friendly to a fellow Southerner and had it misconstrued for either being a bit eccentric, totally bonkers or even flirting?  Numerous times.  But in the North?  Saying good-bye is something else.  You hug.  You fully embrace.  You wrap arms around each other.  You ruffle hair.  You swear undyingly that you will see each other again, even if you know you probably won’t.  And if you really feel so inclined, I suspect you could even get away with a lip lock.  The people are just so much warmer than Southerners.
          Back at the hotel I pulled off my stilettos and limped across the carpet.  It felt as though somebody had put my feet on back to front.  For now, I’m all danced out.  But if anybody out there is having a party, let me know!  Which reminds me.
          What kind of dance do mothers do best?  The Mum-bo…

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