When I was a teenager and a gang of lads would go out dancing twice weekly between Batley, Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Halifax, for some unknown reason I always finished up dancing with the beautiful girl on the dance floor while the partners that my mates were dancing with could accurately be described as being ‘Okay’ at best. I was a good dancer and could bop with the best of the rock and rollers, and although I was a handsome young man, there were some in our group who were far better looking than me.
For many months I tried to figure out what I was doing right and where they were missing out. I was discussing this situation with my mother one evening and she gave me the answer in one brief sentence as to why I always finished up with the best-looking girl on the dance floor. Mum looked at me and said, “It’s because you ask, Billy, and you expect!”
In a later conversation with my dancing mates, I enquired as to why, when three or four of them approached a group of four or five girls, they never asked the best-looking girl in the group to dance. The prettiest always seemed to be overlooked in favour of one of the others. One of my mates called George said that he always asked the least good-looking (he avoided saying the word ‘ugliest’) because she was the one who was most likely to say ‘Yes’ to his invitation to dance. Another friend called Peter indicated that he always went for a girl whom he'd be more than likely to get farther with in the heavy-petting stakes at the end of the night. He presumably believed that the more fetching and stunning a young woman was, the less likely she'd be prepared to give up her 'crown jewels' without the promise of a happy marriage to come and a life of roses thereafter. All my mates had their different reasons as to their choice of dancing partner, but the upshot was they reckoned they had more to lose and less to gain by asking the most beautiful girl to dance.
This rationale, believe me, was rubbish! I rarely got refused when I asked the most beautiful girl to dance, and neither did I ever find the most beautiful women to be too prim and proper when it came to indulging in a bit of hanky panky when the lights went low.
I remember asking a beautiful young woman at the 'Ben Riley' dance club in Dewsbury to dance one night. She agreed and after the dance, we sat down at a table, had a drink and talked (as one naturally does). My six mates had previously asked six of her group to dance while I was at the toilet and I came back to see them all on the floor while also noticing that not one of them had invited the best-looking of all the girls to get up and dance with them. Ironically, the most beautiful girl was acting in the role of ‘wallflower’, sitting it out at the side of the dance hall floor as she watched her six friends dance with my six mates.
During our conversation, I referred to this fact and my dancing partner smiled somewhat ironically. She essentially told me that being regarded as 'beautiful' or ‘stunning in the looks compartment’ was a curse more than a blessing for any woman. She indicated that whereas being handsome nearly always worked in a man’s favour, it was more often than not likely to work against a beautiful looking woman. My dancing partner put this down to the very same reasons that my mates had come up with after I'd asked them why they never asked the most beautiful girl in a group to dance. All I could think was “That’s their loss and your gain, Billy Boy!”
I will admit that when a young man walks across the dance floor and asks a girl to dance with him and she declines, he then has to make that embarrassing long walk of shame back with his raucous mates at the other side of the dance hall chanting ‘Wanker’ at the top of their voices or calling him some other kind of ‘loser’(that is if he doesn’t make a convenient detour to hide out at the bar or in the toilets for the next five minutes).
Whenever I hear today’s song, ‘Speak to Me Pretty’ I always think about those Town Hall and other Dance Hall choices we made as teenagers ‘on the pull’ and why? So, please take my mum’s advice that you get nowhere unless you ask and expect a positive outcome.
Love and peace. Bill xxx