When I was asked to attend a dance workout class with Strictly Come Dancing’s Darcey Bussell, I really had no idea what to expect. Would I die from embarrassment wearing a pink vest top and tights? Or would I die simply because I have not attempted to exercise, let alone dance, since I was about 12? Either way, I rocked up to the fitness centre in my Wonder Years vest top and khaki shorts. Yes, I decided today I’d be living the pop punk lifestyle, because hey, it was the only loose fitting clothes I had in my wardrobe at the time and I couldn’t exactly turn up in my usual drain pipe jeans and flannel shirt.
Despite having a pretty swollen arm from a tattoo I’d had done that week, my fellow journo pals decided I should get a picture with Darcey Bussell as soon as she entered. I greeted her and smiled awkwardly with two very mixed thoughts running through my head: “Oh Christ I’ve got bloody Clingfilm on my arm I look like a freak right now” and “eh, I’ve watched your show like twice before, so I don’t really care.” Between the camera flashes, she leaned into me and whispered: “Are you sure you’re okay with all this?”. Of course I wasn’t overly keen on the idea but I’d made it this far so in response all I could muster was a simple “yup” and a tremulous smile.
And after all that mild unpleasantness was out the way, I faced the room only to realise that I was one of the only two males in a group of 30 women participating in this dance session, all of different age groups and all just as judgmental as the next. I felt like a kid in high school that no one wanted to sit with at lunchtime. However, that was the least of my concerns because as soon as we were told to follow some basic dance moves, I fell behind and had to stumble to catch up every 10 seconds. Being ushered to come closer definitely didn’t help matters either.
It was odd because when I wasn’t making a total arse out of myself, it was pretty nostalgic in a lot of ways. Then of course, nostalgia is a cruel mistress. I’d completely forgotten about the fact that I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and my arms started cramping up within 25 minutes. I had to awkwardly shuffle away and go back into the changing rooms to hide for the rest of the session. Still, with enough practice, at least I know I’ve still got it.