16 May 2007

Dirty, Dirty Dancing

“I am Carlo” he said in a thick Spanish accent. “Liz” I muttered, British styley, to the floor.

Arriving at Salsa that evening, I was woefully ignorant of what lay ahead. It was the start of a new class. A beginner’s class. A class I had expected to offer no surprises and to highlight me in a more favourable rhythmic light than previous efforts thanks to my 12 week headstart.

I had even worn 4” heels for my debut and gone to the trouble of changing out of my snot stained hoodie, opting instead for one of my old maternity smocks. Comforted by the additional swathes of fabric ruched over my midriff, I flung my magic knickers aside, confident I would be able to get through the evening without breathing out.

After Cuban Step No 2’s 17th attempt, I was beginning to regret two things. Firstly, the high heels, which were burrowing into what I was now confident was a bunion forming on my right foot and secondly, my unscaffolded stomach that required a further 80 minutes of intense sucking in before it was free to flop.

A third regret was soon added to the list when it became clear that Salsabum and I would no longer be able to seek refuge in the arms of the other and were expected to rotate around the class like everyone else. Having watched Chickie empty my extra, extra strong peppermints onto the floor earlier that day, I dearly wished they were with me now. Now I needed to hold my breath for two reasons, which is difficult when you’re nose to halitosis detecting nose with a complete stranger, desperate to say something, anything, in an attempt to dispel the embarrassment of being so beyond intruding on their personal space that you actually are their personal space.

First Becky, then Sally. David the instructor, merrily chirping, “Look at your partner, don’t look at the floor, this dance is about passion, love. Look up, look up!”.

Looking into Sally's eyes, as Sally looked back, was just too much. This dance was about uneasiness, over familiarity and a desperate need for some Listerine. Next up, Chris. “Don’t look at the floor, look up” I said to myself out loud. Followed by, “mind you, sometimes it’s worse when you look up”.

Nice one. “Not that I’m saying you’re not nice to look at”. Hole 1 metre and deepening. “Not that I mean you’re nice”. Hole 2 metres. Oh God, someone stop me. “I just meant, it’s embarrassing having to gaze into a stranger's eyes”. Hole 3 metres.

“Change Partners” said the Instructor.

Oh, thank God. “Bye, sorry!” I squeaked, gratefully scuttling into the arms of another. That’s when Carlo made his introduction.

He wasn’t like the other men at salsa. He stood very straight, reminding me of a proud Matador, poised for the arrival of whichever bull dared enter the ring to take him on. So flustered was I from my previous release, this bull was somewhat shocked to find herself locked into a thigh rubbing embrace with a man clearly very skilled in the art of gyration.

Wondering whether he could feel my padded bra at such unexpectedly close proximity, the benefits of which were being flattened against his no doubt extremely hairy chest, I was grateful that I hadn’t opted for my big knickers after all, sensing that he was the kind of man that would spot a pair at a hundred paces.

As my ungainly hooves repeatedly cracked his seemingly elastic legs, I longed to return to the comfort of the lumbering, stumbling men I was used to. Apologising to Carlo as he attempted to twirl the untwirlable onto her next partner, he said, “you will have no trouble, a sexy girl like you”.

‘Sexy?’ ‘Girl?’ Two words I’d deleted from my description on October 24th 2005. I couldn’t wait to embellish and regurgitate to Accountant.

Upon arrival home, Accountant was descending the stairs, his joggies pulled up to his armpits. “If you want my body and you think I’m sexy, come on baby let me know”. Unimpressed by my crooning with accompanying Cuban sidestep, Accountant mustered an eyebrow raise.

I was told I’m sexy, yes, that’s right I’m sexy, don’t you want to know by whom?” (same tune as above).

“Have you seen my calculator?” came the response.

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