Did a bit of dancing last week. Probably shouldn’t have done. Think I scared some people. (But then people out for a nice civilised evening in a posh members-only bar can be so touchy can’t they?)
Actually, what I actually shouldn’t have done was imbibe two G&Ts, seven mint and ginger cocktails, and two squat glasses of neat whiskey before nine o clock had even struck.
If I hadn’t done all that, then I wouldn’t have done ‘the dancing’.
If I hadn’t drunk all that I wouldn’t have done a lot of things.
Like….I wouldn’t have shouted at a large assembly of hardball journalists to “Stop fucking talking and come and fucking well dance”. I wouldn’t have received the withering stare of a fastidious French barman who stopped me from swiping a bottle of whiskey from under his nose like he wouldn’t notice. I wouldn’t have boob-whacked a national treasure. I wouldn’t have accidentally taken the uber-expensive coat of one of the country’s major newspaper editors home with me. (Nor let it lie in my bedroom for a day while, unbeknownst to me, he ranted and raved about treachery and theft on Twitter). I wouldn’t have abandoned upright dancing, chucked off my heels, nor laid in gin-slops and done floor-angels, nor laughed so hard I thought I would expire.
I was at a friend’s book launch. The cocktails were free, and the band were cool, so I danced.
I danced how a girl dances when she spent 23 years of her life being too shy to dance before she realised she didn’t care what she looked like anymore. I danced like a wallflower cut free from its roots. I danced like a whirligig that knew not the confines of accepted choreography.
It didn’t help that the floor was slippery (Defence #1 – Health & Safety Violation). It didn’t help that I was wearing heels. (Defence #2 – Fashion Is Evil). It didn’t help that I was being twirled around by the drunkest man in England (Defence #3 – I’m The Real Victim Here).
It didn’t help that I am a shocking dancer.
But it also didn’t matter. I was with my girls, and some boys, and the band got us stomping and waltzing, then the DJ plugged into our heart’s dodgiest musical desires and every song was more our favourite than the one before, and we danced. Vertically, horizontally, against walls, against strangers, we defied form and genre. Cheek to cheek, hand in hand, butt to butt. The hand-jive gyratory. The MC Hammer-mambo-macarena-mash-up. And floor-angels. Dirty gin-soaked floor-angels.
What else are you supposed to do when your feet won’t work anymore but every other part of you wants to keep dancing? Lie down and do it. Obvs.
The time came to go; the band packed up. Olivia Newton-John sang us out. My friend pulled up outside like a loyal steed of sobriety and drove us home. I fell asleep; I probably drooled.
The next day brought the obligatory regathering, remembering, and regretting. Thinking of all the things I probably shouldn’t have done. I stared at the editor’s coat lying there like a one-night-stand who won’t leave and pictured him moodily, coatlessly commanding the day’s press, perhaps a little more coat-related than usual. PISTORIUS AND REEVA ROWED ABOUT LOST VALENTINE’S COAT. I looked at my head to see if it was still the same one I’d always had and that I hadn’t swapped it with the fussy tramp who’d rudely rebuffed my midnight offer of a Ginster’s sandwich. I poured judgemental crumbs out of my bag.
But although I felt a bit like dying for most of the day, although every roused part ached and I had a bit of shamefaced Fleet Street coat-returning to do, I didn’t regret the dancing.
You should never regret the dancing.