There are certain things in this life that I am good at. Hell, even great at. I am a good cook. I like to think I'm alright at putting outfits together. I am very sociable and get on with most people. I'm good at my job. I was always a fast and competent reader as a child. I can paint my nails really bloody well, and I don't even care if that doesn't count because MAN ALIVE have I seen some car-crash manicures in my time.
I'm really good at knowing exactly when to take the popcorn out of the microwave so that it doesn't burn, but nearly all of the little kernels have popped.
One thing I am totally, utterly and unbelievably terrible at is dancing.
I remember being about six and being desperate to be a ballerina. Watching the ballerinas on the TV, with their poise and elegance and grace and most importantly, their really cool tutus and ballet slippers, I was convinced that was going to be me. I was going to pile all my hair atop my head in a tight bun, and take to the stage and twirl and whirl and keep a straight face (how do they even do that? Sorcery) and leap and bound and reduce everyone to tears with my performance nightly.
In reality, I shoehorned myself into pink spandex and leapt and bound around the living room, narrowly avoiding a head or spinal injury every time I put my little slippers on. Not quite the dream I had envisaged.
I then decided I wanted to join a local dance class. I must have been about 10. A few girls in my class were already members, and my Mum drove me over after school so i could pursue my dream of dancing. I was going to be AMAZING! Nobody had EVER seen talent like mine.
I was placed at the back of the class and told to pick up the moves as we went along.
"I've got this in the bag." I thought to myself. "Ain't nobody seen moves like THESE before."
Just picture me as a British Honey Boo Boo and you're halfway there.
The opening bars of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" played over the tinny CD player in the hall. This was my moment to shine. I looked up. Arms stretched above my head.
The beat took over and threw me around the room with a force I knew only as "skills." In fact, I looked like a epileptic baby manatee. I thought everyone was gazing with adoration and jealousy -- I knew the routine better than they did! In fact! I knew it so instinctively well that no-one else even bothered to join in!
As Bonnie Tyler did her thang, so did I. At the end, I collapsed, spent, in a dramatic little heap, waiting for the applause and standing ovations. When the silence became too much, I looked up quizzically. Everyone was just staring at me like I was demented.
It was then that I realised that I committed crimes against dancing. I was categorically Not Good.
Here are a few of my favourite "Dance Moves That Look Terrible But Are Very Fun To Do," for your pleasure. Try them out!
The Arms Akimbo
This move is an old favourite. It's essentially you pushing our arms out over and over again in a very fast motion, probably hitting someone near you. A bit like the Running Man, which is another favourite.
The Aggressive Air Punching
This one is best practised when alone on a dancefloor. The dancefloor is probably empty because everyone is so in awe of your incredible dancing talent, so make the most of the space and really go to town. Aggressive air punching is definitely a move best undertaken with a scowl, although I seem to be having such a good time doing it in the above photo that a smile couldn't help but break across my face.
It just feels so good, yo! No night out is complete without a completely fucked neck the next day, trust me.
Oh look! Another one! What a treat.
I tried for a really long time to keep it under wraps. "Big Nights Out" used to be every weekend, but the dancing then was more the occasional bop to minimal techno in a club, followed by spending three hours in the smoking area chatting shit to someone and trying not to chew my own face off. Although there are of course horrendous photos of that time, I never had limbs flailing around and errant knees vying for attention. I was dancing in the way that taking two pills makes you dance. You're having fun in your head but you can't really see it in your body.
When I have a drink now though, something magical happens. All my limbs want to extend at right angles and windmill around, much to the detriment of anyone in the vicinity. My hands go mental. I am punching the air, and kicking my legs out and NOT GIVING A FUCK.
Although I know I am terrible at it, I still really enjoy it. I'm kind of like Phoebe from Friends when she goes for a run -- she know's she's doing it doing it all wrong but she does it the way that feels good. That's what I do. The jerking and bumping movements my body makes look horrendous but they feel amazing.
I will never be the cool, sexy girl on the dancefloor who the boys want to be with and the girls want to be. And that's just fine with me. I like looking demented. It's part of my mystery. (I have no mystery)
Are you a really terrible dancer? Or maybe you're a complete failure at something else you really enjoy? Ever done that dance move where you "reel" someone in with an imaginary fishing rod? Now THAT is a winner.
Share stories of failings, acceptance and joy below. GO.
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