I went to my first Flamenco class on Friday afternoon.
I had hoped, with the indefatigable optimism of the self deluding idiot, that I would turn out to be a total natural at Flamenco dancing.
I had visions of myself twirling and stomping dramatically in my excellent Flamenco style shoes, and garnering oohs and aahs of admiration as I went. By the time I arrived for my lesson I was already on my second word tour and not able to go shopping for fear of being pestered by crowds of adoring fans.
I love the fact that my optimism never sits down with the facts and says: ‘Look love. Remember that time you were convinced you would be the next Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, and just because you bought a trug and some organic seeds you thought you would sail serenely through the garden spreading benedictions like stars?’
Your inner optimist nods happily.
‘Remember how, after half an hour the kids had mixed up all the seeds, all the seed markers, and dug up half the raised beds until they looked like ragged mole hills, and Oscar was wearing the trug as a hat, while you sat on the plastic swing set and wept?’
Your inner optimist nods weakly.
‘And then, how you were the only person who would eat any of the things that would actually grow, and all the things that actually grew were courgettes, and after two weeks you were so sick of courgettes you were actually lobbing them over the garden fence to get rid of them?’
Your inner optimist bursts into floods of tears.
‘Just substitute the idea of gardening for Flamenco dancing and repeat.’
This is how it was people.
Except that because I did not take the children with me I was actually able to not cry and I really enjoyed myself. And nobody wore a trug as a hat.
I was, however, terrible at Flamenco dancing, in the cold light of day.
The problem is that Flamenco requires the ability to tell left from right, the ability to remember complex patterns which rely on knowing left from right and the ability to have some form of bodily control that means that you don’t fall over every time to take one foot off the ground.
I would try to describe to you all the utterly stupid things I did, but words fail me. I may have to film myself enacting it.
Just imagine a lot of tripping over, some failed River Dance esque style hopping manoeuvres, a lot of gurning style facial expressions and a lot of muttering under my breath – which sounded a lot like this:
‘one two, one two, one two three, four five seven, shit, no. six, no nine, ten, bollocks…one two, one two, five? FIVE? Ah fuckit.’
In the past, my failure to do this kind of thing would have meant that either I would have never signed up for the first lesson at all, or that I would have left after the first lesson. My advanced age and the fact that I am nearer to death now mean that I care less about what people think, or whether I am actually capable or not, and that I am happy to do things just because I enjoy them.
Despite the fact that an hour and a half of rhythmic stamping nearly killed me and that I hobbled about like an arthritic crab for hours afterwards, I had a blast, and I will definitely be going back for more lessons should the opportunity arise.
And it’s nothing to do with the fact that I really, really want to buy a swishy Flamenco skirt…