Beatrice once wrote me a profile for My Single Friend. It concluded: ‘And if you happen to be a ballroom dancer then so much the better!’ I’d long ago resigned myself to the fact that ballroom dancing in the garden – or anywhere – would remain a solo activity. And if by some miracle I ever brought a guy home to meet the parents he would assume the role of amused onlooker while I chasséed and lock-stepped my way around the lawn (he wouldn’t – he’d be forced to get involved and we’d end up laughing so much it hurt and made it impossible to keep dancing…).
So when, late one Saturday night, I get a generic Tinder message from Fred Astaire it gives me pause for thought.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried ballroom. It’s one of the most incredible feelings in the world, being led around the floor by an experienced dancer. That might sound horribly patriarchal – and it’s true that an incompetent lead is tantamount to torture – but with the right partner it’s a dream.
With Fred I cut to the chase in a ‘You’re a ballroom dancer?! Time and place and I’ll be there!’ kind of a way. Fortunately he finds it funny and suggests a date.