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the dancing

Some may recall my wife's recent and unplanned separation from a horse that resulted in a double leg fracture.

Waiting for the ambulance I confess to thinking: "There may, after all, be a God." Shockingly unworthy I know, but that very morning she had insisted that we attend dance classes. "It will do wonders for our social life," she enthused. En passant, that tells you all you need to know about our social life.

One of her pals had successfully delivered a similar ultimatum to her husband, adding: "We go to dance classes or the divorce court." My sotto voce observation: "That seems like a high-risk strategy to me," cut no ice.Protestations that my dancing skills make Sergeant and Widdicombe look like Astaire and Rogers were sidestepped.

My life has been dance-free since adolescence. In 1960s Aberdeen, the Beach Ballroom was the place of choice for teenage trysts. It provided the only opportunity to get close to a lassie without having to avoid her father/uncles/big brothers the whole of the following week. We instinctively knew what Shaw meant when he described dancing as the vertical expression of horizontal desire. The quines circumnavigated the floor in a clockwise direction while we hormonal loons circulated like migrating salmon against the feminine flow.

If your luck was in, at the end of the night, one of the belles consented be "seen hame". While appearance mattered, the location of the lassie's abode was of greater import. A nocturnal trek from an address remote from your own represented a poor return for what was likely to be a chaste peck on the cheek. The permissive sixties never really happened for me. If all went well there might be an agreement to meet at the dancing the following week. Meeting inside was the preferred arrangement. It avoided the risk of having to pay the lassie in. It was Aberdeen after all. In these more permissive times one would think that dancing would have gone the way of chaperones and chastity belts. Its resurgence is another manifestation of the feminisation of society and sits alongside manbags and male skin products. Laddies polishing their footwork on the dance floor rather the fitba' pitch explains our FIFA ranking.

My current respite is temporary. My wife has already asked what classes we should attend when her leg heals.

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