SO it’s goodbye to love...’ Isn’t that how The Carpenters sang it? Goodbye to prosecco, cream cakes, fry-ups and a superbly imperious arrogance that in truth is more panto than proud. Yet it’s that last detail I think which perhaps will hurt more to lose than anything else.
After all, my brother once said: “My god, you always think you’re right”.
But as I pointed out, “So? Do you have any idea of the pressure that puts on me?”
Why, then, the sacrificing of so much I love?
Well, It’s a five-letter word and it spells ‘dance’. Yes, dance, like jive and foxtrot and cha-cha-cha. And not only does it hurt, it requires a disposition I haven’t called on in a long time... modesty.
For the past 52 years I’ve liked to think I’m the ‘King of the Jungle’, whether at school, on the dole, working as a sausage maker at Sainsbury’s or just, at present, striding around Cornmarket like the High Sheriff of Oxford.
But this is what they didn’t tell me when I signed on to take part in this year’s Strictly Oxford contest at the New Theatre on Sunday, April 27 – you’ll have to ditch the attitude...
As a life-long smart arse it won’t be easy, but at least I quickly recognised that fact at my first training session on Saturday.
Made to stand in the intimate embrace of several women dance instructors at the Step by Step dance school in Headington before being made to shuffle three steps to the left, three to the right, kick and turn, stripped me instantly of any vestige of (so-called) masculinity.
Indeed, within 10 minutes I was reduced to the mindset of a five-year-old boy again, blushing and overawed in equal measure by having to hold a ‘girl’s’ hand...
I wasn’t helped by the fact I was sweating like a pig, my palms damp, my head glistening, wearing glasses that every three seconds zipped down my nose.
At 5pm I’d been sartorial and dignified; by 5.15 I was a shirt-soaked wreck.
Sadly, the ordeal was 90 minutes and by the end of it I was broken – in spirit, in soul, in-testinally. Yet I understood as many of the other male dancers strutted out, this might be a turning point in my life. And you know what? I think it will be.
Quite why I’m not sure, but as I write this, I can’t help but think this may prove to be my finest moment...