The Merry Limbs

– THE MERRY LIMBS –

If you have ever played a party game called “Twister”, you will know how easy it is to end up in one spot on the floor surrounded by a twisted mass of arms, legs and bodies.

Such was my first experience at learning “The Mary Lynne” – a set of ballroom dancing steps I am sure were choreographed in hell.

I really questioned my sanity at being conned into dancing classes at an age when I should be thinking of exciting things to do in retirement and how to survive life away from the daily grind of having to go to work.

My youthful dancing experiences flooded back to me as I untangled arms and legs from my first unsuccessful attempt at “The Mary Lynne”. In those days, my attendance at dances was primarily aimed at obtaining names and phone numbers for my little black book. Learning to dance was only incidental to the social interaction and the thrill of young love.

I recall the importance of having my hair slicked back with a generous application of Brylcream or Californian Poppy and my stove pipe pants tapered and raised high enough to allow the iridescent pink socks to be seen above the black, well polished, pointy toed shoes. But that was yesterday and yesterday has gone.

Meanwhile back on today’s dance floor and the reality of “The Mary Lynne” – My wife had assured me attending dance classes would be a load of fun and I was definitely starting to question her idea of ‘fun’.

Reluctantly, in a moment of weakness, I had agreed to attend and then found my acceptance was the catalyst for her to lure other unsuspecting male friends and their partners to the same fate on the dance floor of learning.

The evening had started with what must have been today’s version of the Progressive Barn Dance. A very different set of steps to those learned during my tender years. I am sure it must have been fun for those whose minds could concentrate on what their feet were doing and still manage to banter sweet nothings to the passing human traffic.

There followed a number of different dances whose names disappeared in the concentration of following the movements of the couple in front, who appeared to know what they were doing.

“The Merry Lynne” consisted of sliding feet, tapping toes, hopping and getting tangled up in overarm gyrations. All this to the strict tempo of Achy, Breaky Heart, a song which, even prior to this evening, was rated very low on my personal hit chart of all time favourites. It now resides in that, ‘never want to hear again’ category.

There is no doubt my re-entry into the world of dancing would have guaranteed an increase in ratings for the Candid Camera Show had the producer and camera crew been lurking behind the stage curtains.

My size 14’s were certainly more at home when they were encased by football boots. I am sure I am more graceful with a golf club in my hands than attempting some fancy steps while an instructor tries to assure me that I am enjoying myself.

This was my first and last night at the local adult dancing class. A night when I was supposed to trip the light fantastic, but in reality, where I turned in a performance which could only be classified as, ‘not so strictly ballroom’.

Peter Mack

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