Jobs for the weekend:
All the old shoes to recycling
Make the meat sauce
Learn the bloody rumba
Yep, learn the rumba. Dash it, dah-ling, I simply cannot get my hips to move properly. I know, too many years of playing football and cricket, going forwards and backwards when I should have been swaying seductively sideways. No matter: I’ll lock the office door, crank up YouTube and have another go…
You’ve guessed it. Eight months after confidently stating that Jane and I were going for ballroom dancing lessons we finally made it. All our ducks – and children – in line, no more frozen shoulders or stray niggles in my groin. This was it.
“What shall I wear?”
“Well, trousers would be a good starting point. And for goodness sake stop pacing up and down. You’re wearing a groove in the carpet.”
So I was. Extreme pacing: which equals extreme nerves.
Our speaker’s just dropped out. Can you help? There are 800 people in the audience…
I’ll be there in ten minutes. No problem at all. And no nerves either.
So why has learning the waltz in a church hall, probably with a dozen other people, reduced me to jelly?
“I’ve been practising,” I blurted out.
“On my own.”
“What, on your own in your office?”
My wife arched her eyebrows. “Let’s hope that’s not the pinnacle of your dancing career, darling.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“What have you got on your feet?” my wife suddenly asked.
“What? My shoes obviously.”
“I’m checking the soles, sweetheart. I don’t want you to stick to the floor.”
Sticking to the floor sounded quite an attractive option. At least then Jane wouldn’t be in A&E with a crushed foot.
“I won’t stick to the floor. You watch: I’ll glide around like that new Russian bloke on Strictly. Gob or whatever he’s called.”
“Gleb,” my wife replied. Somewhat wistfully I thought…
And with that – courage screwed to the sticking place and my wife fantasising about a smouldering Cossack – we were off.
Forty minutes later we’d waltzed and we’d foxtrot-ed. That was, we’d waltzed backwards and forwards in a straight line and suddenly found ourselves two yards apart in the foxtrot.
But my wife still had two functioning feet. And I was loving it.
As long as I could match the steps to a sport I’d played I was fine. Admit it, Bruno. The foxtrot’s just like playing squash…
“Right,” the remarkably patient Kate announced. “We’ll finish with a rumba.”
At which point the wheels fell off.
“Bring your foot forward and sort of press it on the floor. Like you’re stepping on a switch. And sway your hips.”
My stomach lurched forward. I stamped viciously on the imaginary switch. “Maybe needs a little work there,” my wife murmured.
Apparently the rumba comes more naturally to women. Something to do with wearing high heels.
Anyway I’ve spent the last week trying to sway my hips. I’ve walked down the garden swaying my hips. I’ve swayed to the corner shop. And I’ve swayed sexily through a conference call with some blissfully unaware clients. The lock on the office door is working overtime…
One more thing. A confession. Something else I’ve been wrong about all my life. (Does that particular list never end?)
I thought ballroom dancing wasn’t very… well, ‘manly’ I suppose. Was I ever wrong about that. Number one, it’s hard work. Number two, leading a woman round a dance floor – really leading her – is about as manly as it gets.
Not that I’m there yet. My wife may need to dream of Cossacks for a little while longer…
Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and moderately humorous to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here.