A wiggle shortage on the dancefloor

editorial image
Have your say

She went first: her knees were crunching like a clunky gearbox.

I followed up: My back was killing.

Then we united for a chorus on the state of our throbbing feet and strained calf muscles.

The sister-in-law and I had not completed a half-marathon or been for a strenuous work-out down the gym.

Her eldest daughter, Beautiful Niece No 1, got hitched on Saturday; we were comparing post-wedding reception aches and pains.

After we’d all dabbed our mascara-streaked cheeks and thrown our rose petal confetti, we had all danced ourselves silly at the night do. It’s compulsory, isn’t it?

At weddings, whatever your age, or your level of skill or infirmity, you have to do as the Nolans once instructed and get in the mood for dancing.

That night, the very young and the very old rellies had reeled in reckless oblivion and we middle-aged ones had given it our all - driven, I think, by the need to prove we’d still got something resembling IT to the bride and groom’s gorgeous and cool twentysomething friends.

Back in the day, when we women looked like them, we’d dance all night and barely pause for a sip of under-age Mirage or Taboo. Girls didn’t go out to get drunk in those days; you’d head out with £3 in your purse, blag your way into a club for free, hit the dance floor and leave utterly sober clutching £1.50 and a bored boyfriend to walk you home. To quote those Monkeys. I bet we all looked quite good on the dance floor.

Now, though, I fear I’ve lost my wiggle. While Dad Dancing is the cause of much wedding reception hilarity (there’s a contest on YouTube to find the best of the worst and even an album of cheesy hit songs guaranteed to get men who should be old enough to know better on the dance floor) I think Mum Dancing is just as wrong. And after Saturday, I suspect I am guilty of it.

As an observation, Dad Dancing is quite different to Mum Dancing; there’s the posture, for starters. Middle-aged men kind of hunch up their shoulders, keep their elbows tight into their ribs, hold their hands at chin(s) level and adopt a silly grin that says: I know I look daft so I may as well make my face match.

Their female counterparts stick out their bottoms and, depending on their musical heyday, either point their elbows outwards and flap them about like chicken wings (mostly these are former soulies and disco divas) or they weld bingos firmly to their sides and alternately sway their lower arms like old soldiers in a jaded tribute to their time as Roxy and Bowie girls.

And then there’s the intention. Older men want to look energetic and athletic while they’re dancing. They hurl themselves into some tricky manoeuvre and do the splits in their nice new M&S trousers.

As for middle aged women, we still want to look sexy and a bit wild. Hence the pouty faces, the gyrating of rickety hips and thickened waistlines and the occasional waving of flappy arms as high above our heads as that frozen shoulder will allow.

I’ve read that Dad Dancing may be the result of evolution and, as if bald heads, pot bellies and shrunken gums are not enough, an older man’s cringe-worthy dance moves are an unconscious way of repelling the attention of young women, thus leaving the field clear for men at their sexual peak.

It makes sense that a woman’s genetic engineering works in much the same way, I guess. And seeing as we so readily splash grey pound on anti-wrinkle treatments and mutton-dressed-as outfits, it’s all the more vital that our dancing gives the game away.

Not that I’d have the energy for some unsuspecting lad with beer goggles and a look of a young Dustin Hoffman.