When you’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself, nothing helps more than a compliment. ‘You’re looking good’ works wonders. Of course the compliment has to be sincere. Someone saying ‘You’re looking good’ when actually you’re having a bad hair day or your clothes have seen better days isn’t really going to work. So how about you get your hair sorted and you buy yourself some smart new clothes. Now you stand a chance of getting the boost you need. So you’ve justified buying some new clothes, but take care, because retail therapy can be expensive and sometimes wasteful. That new dress does look fabulous on you but when exactly are you going to wear it? Its not quite the thing for the office and it won’t get you any compliments hanging in the wardrobe.

To read the previous chapters in my tale of a fictitious group of beginners click here

You are excited, but also a little nervous. Tomorrow is the Freestyle Dance. You were really keen when Ellie suggested it last week, but suddenly you’re wondering if it was a good idea after all. You’d only had three lessons, plus the practice night at Andy’s, and there was also the matter of what to wear. Is it smart, or smart casual. Perhaps you should give Ellie a call.

‘Hi Ellie, its Janice.’ ‘Oh hi. Are you looking forward to tomorrow?’ ‘Well yes, but I was just wandering about what to wear.’ ‘I spoke to Malcolm at the class this week and he says that anything goes really, but I’m getting dolled up. I’ve treated myself to a new dress.’ ‘I was just going to wear trousers and a top. What do you think?’ ‘I’m sure that will be fine Janice, but its just that I never really get a chance to dress up these days.’ ‘Oh one more thing Ellie. Can I take you up on the offer of a lift?’ ‘Yes of course. Andy’s coming about seven to pick me up. We should get to you about seven thirty.’ ‘What about Mandy. Is she still coming?’ ‘Oh yes, but Malcolm’s giving her a lift.’ ‘Yes, of course he is.’

Were you really only going to wear trousers and a top? What about the dress hanging in the wardrobe. Sometime ago, when your life was a little flat, you treated yourself to a vintage style Rock ‘n’ Roll dress. You promised yourself you would one day go to lessons and wear it to a proper dance. You are worried its a bit too showy. Perhaps if you could really dance it would be OK, but you’ve only done three lessons.

Your phone rings. It’s Mandy. ‘Janice can I ask a favour.’ ‘Sure.’ ‘I wondered if you could give me a lift to the freestyle.’ ‘I’m actually getting a lift from Andy, but weren’t you going with Malcolm?’ ‘Well I was but…’ ‘Look I’m sure Andy will pick you up too. I’ll sort it, just text me your address.’ ‘Thanks Janice. Oh one more thing, what are you wearing?’ ‘Oh just trousers and a top. What are you wearing Mandy?’ ‘I bought this great dress. It flares out when you spin. I always wanted a real dance dress.’ ‘It sounds lovely. I’ll see you later.’

Robert had got to the venue early and saved a table close to the dance floor. ‘Thanks for doing that Robert.’ ‘That’s OK Ellie, I thought it would be a good idea if we all sat together. Safety in numbers’. Robert was obviously a little anxious about being out of his comfort zone – not that he was ever comfortable near a dance floor.  He had though done really well at Andy’s the other week, and at last week’s class he seemed more confident than he ever had. Peter soon joined the group. ‘Well here goes then. Hopefully we’ll all get some dances.’ Ellie always the positive one chipped in. ‘Of course we will, and we can always  dance with each other.’

You scan the room. Your first look located one other woman you recognised from your dance night. You weren’t surprised to see her as you already had her down as an experienced dancer. Then you notice a group of men, from your class night, who again were long past the beginners stage. You are a little anxious. Sure you could dance with your friends, but it would be nice to be asked to dance by someone else. Memories of being a wallflower at the school discos, came back to make you a little less confident, than when you first walked through the door.

‘What do you want to drink Janice?’ The boys sorted out the drink orders and headed for the bar. Before you could have any more thoughts as to whether it was a good idea to have come after just three lessons, both Mandy and Ellie were asked for a dance. Alone at the table you watched them both take to the floor. Both of your friends looked fabulous. Ellie, as she had promised, had really gone to town. She had obviously spent some time at the hairdressers and bought a lovely dress to compliment her shapely figure. Mandy was obviously wearing her new dress too, and you watched as it flared and rose teasingly just above the knee.

The boys returned from the bar just as the next track was starting. ‘Come on Janice, lets have a dance.’ You smiled at Robert as he led you on to the floor. You were grateful that he had stopped you descending in to the doldrums any further, but it didn’t help that your two girlfriends were immediately asked on to the dance floor, by two of the experienced men you had recognised earlier.

After Robert led you back to the table, Andy asked how it had gone. ‘Yes we did well.’ ‘So can I have the next one Janice?’ ‘Of course you can Andy.’ Andy asked you to dance quite a few times. He asked Ellie and Mandy too of course, that was when they weren’t being asked by supposedly every other male in the room. You danced with Peter too. ‘It was a good idea to come as a group.’ Peter like yourself had only had three lessons, ‘I don’t think I’d have had such a good time if I couldn’t dance with you, Ellie and Mandy.’ ‘Haven’t you asked any one else?’ ‘A couple may be, and I was asked by two women I didn’t know.’ ‘Good for you Peter.’ ‘Andy too had asked a couple of faces he didn’t know and you had spotted one rather attractive woman asking him several times.

It was however a different story for Robert. He had led you round the floor quite well in that first dance, and you had assumed he would have a good night. Unfortunately the next woman he asked to dance, turned out to be one of the most experienced in the room, and she was not well pleased to suffer a three minute dance, with a man who could only do beginners moves. From that moment on his confidence was shot, and though he danced with his friends a few times, he excused himself at half past ten to go home. There was no way Ellie and Mandy were going home until the last dance was over, and so it wasn’t until after midnight that you and your remaining friends had a chance to exchange stories.

Both Ellie and Mandy had both been asked if they were coming to the freestyle next weekend and Peter had been surprised how many women he had asked to dance. Andy had danced the last three dances with the same woman. ‘Was that the one who kept asking you?’ ‘Andy was initially reluctant to answer, but as he drove them home he let out, that he had arranged to see her at the freestyle next week. As you sat in the back of Andy’s car you recalled the vision of Ellie and Mandy constantly dancing with a new male partner. You could help but compliment them, ‘You two looked fabulous in those dresses.’ Ellie piped up first, ‘I’m really pleased I made the effort. I’m sure it helped.’ ‘I’m sure it helped me,’ added Mandy, ‘I got so many compliments about my dress.’ Andy dared to give a male perspective, ‘You both looked gorgeous. It was really difficult getting a dance with either of you.’

As Andy dropped your friends off you moved in to the front seat. ‘So is it a date, you meeting this girl at the freestyle next week?’ ‘No, but it will be nice to think I can dance with her. She’s a lovely dancer and she was really patient when I went wrong. So Janice, with all that talk about Ellie and Mandy we didn’t ask you what kind of night you had.’ ‘Quite wonderful really. I couldn’t believe how many dances I got.’ Andy had offered an explanation, ‘It probably had something to do with that gorgeous dress you were wearing.’

You had had a wonderful night and, as you hung your Rock ‘n’ Roll dress back on its hanger, you smiled to yourself. You too had been complimented on your dress and one man had actually told you how gorgeous you looked. Were you really going to go in just trousers and a top? You thought again of the man who had paid you the compliment. As well as being charming he was also a lovely dancer. He’d been patient with you when you had misread his signals and he had also taught you a few more moves. It turned out that he was a regular at the weekend freestyles and had also asked if you were going next week. You knew you had a family engagement next weekend, but you told him that you’d hope to see him again in the future.

Your dress hung neatly inside, you closed the wardrobe door. You next thought was of Mandy. You wondered why Malcolm had backed out of his offer to give her a lift. He’d still come, and had joined Mandy and her friends at the table. However you couldn’t actually remember them dancing together. Not surprising when you think about the number of other men she danced with. You pictured again Mandy in her new dress. You saw Ellie equally gorgeous in her outfit. It had been a wonderful night. You opened the wardrobe door and took another look at the dress you had waited so long to wear. Yes, it had been a wonderful night.

to be continued…