The Slow Dances

It didn’t do to get to the club until late, so we went to the local pub for drinks before taking the bus into the West End.

You had to be eighteen of course, whether to buy drinks in the pub or be allowed into the club later. We were only fifteen, but wearing smart suits and ties, having well-polished shoes, no doorman ever turned us away.

On a Saturday night, we spent everything we had. That meant walking home later, and spending the week at school with no money. There was a charge at the door of the club, and drinks were twice as expensive in there. So you didn’t offer to buy drinks for any girl, you got your first drink and hung onto if for as long as possible.

The music was good, played by a DJ in a booth at the back. The dance floor was very small, and most of the clubbers were crammed around the sides, or waiting to buy drinks at the bar. Ninety-nine percent of those actually dancing were girls of course. Boys like us waited, biding our time for the slow dances later.

My best mate had already deserted me, but that was okay. He had chatted up an older girl whilst buying our first drink, and for the past hour he had been with her in the corridor that led to the toilets. They were snogging like their lives depended on it. His lips would be bruised on Sunday.

I had spotted her dancing with her mate, and she had turned and smiled at me. On point with the fashions, she looked great in her Mary Quant style mini-dress and white tights. Her short dark hair was the same colour as her huge false eyelashes, and her eyes were the sort that look wide open and smiley. She had left her shoes under the table where they were sitting, and her shoulder bag swung from side to side as she was dancing.

Her mate looked out of place. Tall, frizzy hair, and a flowery-patterned dress that I guessed her mum had made for her. But I wasn’t judging. After all, we were out of place. Two boys from the wrong side of the river, using our smart suits to pretend we were older and more confident than we were.

Less then thirty feet away across the dance floor, I could see the Mary Quant girl looking at me as I leaned against the wall trying desperately to appear cool. She had a drink with a straw, and every time she reached across for it, she looked over at me. The fourth time, she smiled, and I smiled back. Then she said something to her friend, who turned to look at me, then nodded.

This was my chance, the slow dances would start soon, and I would walk over and ask her to dance.

When the lights dimmed and the first record came on, I didn’t rush over. No point appearing to be too eager. Wait for the second one, then stroll across and hold out my right hand. As the second one started, I straightened up, put down my empty glass, and moved one step forward.

Too late.

He swept in from the side, and scooped her up onto the dance floor. At least five years older than me, and as smooth as silk. Her arms went around his neck, and I knew I had missed my moment.

Fifty-Five years later, I still sometimes wonder how her life turned out.

47 thoughts on “The Slow Dances

  1. Same lives, different houses. You and me and the millionaires. I went on a quest back in 2015 to find the answers to your last question and that’s what I found, anyway. There’s a short story about that by someone famous. I’ll find it for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an entertaining life story, Pete. I had a few boyfriends over the years and there was one I used to wonder about occasionally. He found me on FB and I don’t wonder any more. I know I made the right choice all those years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often had similar experiences Pete and often wonder what might have been.
    One amusing experience which often brings a smile back, is when about 15 my friends and I tried to buy a pint (beer) in a local (mistake) after watching the bar maid walk past us many times and totally ignore us, even though I tried every trick my mum had said people do to get served (she had worked as a bar maid) we we were still ignored. Eventually I stopped her said “what does it take to get a pint of beer here” quick as anything she replied “18 years of age son, do you and your friends want a lemonade” the pub cracked up and we tried to slink out the door unnoticed

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lee Fowler swept in from the side, and scooped Marian (“Mary”) Quant up onto the dance floor… After fifty-five years of physical abuse, she now sometimes wonders why the young lad wearing the smart suit and tie, and the well-polished shoes, didn’t approach her right away for that slow dance. But at least she is loved by Ros, her wrinkly Shar Pei.

    Liked by 1 person

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