"I can remember attending an Old Time Dancing School in Milnsbridge, Heckmondwike between the ages of nine and eleven, but I cannot recall whether it was to meet young girls or to improve my footwork on the dance floor. Either way, I did both! At the age of eleven, just as I was about to start winning the medals, I incurred a bad traffic accident which kept me off my feet for the next three years.
My absence from the dance floor led me to miss out on modern ballroom dancing completely and when I re-entered the dancing world around the age of sixteen years, the beat had greatly changed.This was the era of rock and roll and bopping was the new craze. Week after week I attended the 'Ben Riley Dance Hall' in Dewsbury and this time I knew what attracted me. It was most definitely both the girls and the bopping!
I have always tried to take away one thing from all my experiences in life that I have learned through the encounter. I hadn't been going bopping too long before I realised a practice by the boys which was pretty standard in picking their dancing partner. Say a boy wanted a dance and saw a group of three girls waiting to be invited onto the floor; one being reasonably good looking, the second definitely good looking and the third being absolutely stunning, it was either girl number one or two who was invited to dance and rarely the stunner!
I invariably failed to follow this convention and never understood the logic behind it. I always asked the best looking girl onto the floor, unless of course they happened to be the worse dancer. Being puzzled though by this general practice of my mates, my conversation with my beautiful dancing partner led me to discover the following. She told me that for a girl, being beautiful in looks was a distinct disadvantage in life. She then explained that a boy's first consideration was usually, 'Which girl of the three was most likely to grant him his wicked way after the last dance?' closely followed by, 'Which girl of the three was the least likely to turn down his request to get up and dance when asked?'
I knew that no boy liked committing himself to the long walk across the floor to ask a girl for a dance, only to have his invitation declined in the full public gaze of his friends and others. Those poor chaps who were declined were often so embarrassed by the rejection that instead of walking straight back to their starting point to face the giggles and put down jokes of their mates, they'd go to the toilets, go buy another drink at the bar or walk back all around the dance floor instead of taking the shortest route.This usually provided them with sufficient time to think up a good excuse as to why the girl they'd asked for a dance had declined their offer.
My beautiful dancing partner then told me that she knew why her stunning looks invariably relegated her to being the wallflower at the dance. It was the male fear of being rejected or to be considered as being unworthy, were they to drum up their courage and ask her, only to be then refused with all looking on. Better to play it safe and keep one's male pride and get a decent-enough-looking dancing partner seemed to be their motto!
From that moment on, I never refrained from asking the best looking girl in the crowd if she would dance with me, date me, etc. etc. Without sounding arrogant, besides accepting that I was never the best looking chap doing the asking, I never once found myself without a beautiful dancing partner during the rest of my life.
So all you good looking women out there who happen to have itchy feet like this wanderer used to have, life is too short to sit it out. There will always be dirty dishes to wash, so put them back in the sink and let's dance! Well, I ask you, would you stunning ladies have declined to bop with this 1960 teddy boy who dared to ask you?" December 22nd, 2015.