I was so looking forward to learning some new steps and being spun and twirled and dipped again. And dancing with Martin, of course. And touching base with Ex Potential New Man (oh sod it, his name is Jeremy - much quicker to type).
I had my new shoes which didn't pinch my toes and I was sure they were the perfect height for dancing and snug enough to stay on my feet. With these shoes, surely I could really strut my stuff?
Martin was there and greeted us both warmly, promising a dance or two throughout the evening. With or without the dancing, he is such a lovely, lovely guy.
The lesson started out well, although I soon discovered that I couldn't easily turn in my shoes as the heel was stiletto thin and the soles a little bit grippy. And then as my feet warmed up, they started to slide forwards so that the strap slipped off my heel. Nevertheless, I persisted.
But still the evening continued to go downhill. Over the next hour:
- I danced with a guy who was very good looking and a fabulous dancer, but also very keen on close holds which were a little too close for my comfort level. He kept telling me to relax, but how can you relax when you are being held in a close hold from behind and are wondering "Oh My. I hope that's a phone in your pocket..."
- I lost my balance and stepped on a woman's foot - with a very sharp heel. And she wasn't too happy about it either, screaming "You stupid f**king Bitch!!" at me before I could apologise, before pointing at me across the dance floor to single me out as both completely inept and a danger to all other dancers.
- My shoes fell off a total of 5 times. I couldn't relax, I couldn't spin, I couldn't concentrate on anything other than staying upright.
One minute in to the dance he smiled and said
"You know I love dancing with you. You have excellent eye contact which is very important and you are an absolute joy"
'can this get any better?!' I thought"
"But", he continued (uh-oh) "when you are dancing you weigh about twenty stone. How can you weigh about twenty stone?" He puts his arm around my shoulders and shepherds me to the side, "Come with me and I'll tell you...."
And so I got my first telling off. I was throwing my weight back when it should always be forwards. I wasn't in control. I was hard to hold on to. An effort to dance with. I was gutted. And quite upset.
Could this evening get any worse?
I went outside for some nicotine solace, after brooding for a while with a bottle of water. I spotted Mum's The Word on the way out and expressed that everything was going wrong. I was having a horrible evening. Five minutes later she joined me outside and asked how I was, and confirmed that as I was improving, Martin felt that he could correct me, and that he was just trying to help. She then said that there were two people that she wanted to quickly dance with but after that, if I wanted, she would be prepared to leave early. I was touched.
And that was the turnaround point for me. A couple of years ago I would have sulked. I would have given up on enjoying myself. I would have passed off the evening as a bad experience. I would have said "Yes, let's go home. I'm not having fun"
But now I understand that life is what you make it. You can choose to be happy, or miserable. You can choose for your next dance to be much better than the last. You can choose to 'get over it'.
The evening didn't automatically pick up, after greeting Jeremy and being almost instantly brushed off with 'I'll catch you later' (which he never did - but I suspect he left early). And anyway, I didn't give him a chance to catch up with me, because I spent the rest of the evening dancing with one partner after another.
I tried to put Martin's advice in to practice and I found that, actually, he had a point. And considering that every other man was telling me that I needed to relax my arms, I tried to do that too. And what I ended up with was an evening of dancing with men who were willing and patient enough to teach me new steps, help me to identify certain leads that I repeatedly missed and who gave me the confidence to relax and have fun.
Through my own frustrations (and my disastrous shoes) I had created a room full of enemies, but through overcoming my pride, I left appreciating a room full of friends.
Life is good. Friends are worth making double the effort for. And Jazz shoes are the next on my list.