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We always went dancing at the weekends, twisting the night away in our twirly, swirly dresses and our high-heeled shoes. The knowing bold-eyed girls soon attracted the best-looking boys while my friends and I pretended not to care and danced together, glancing surreptitiously around at intervals to see if any presentable young men had arrived.
I always hoped I’d meet someone though I hardly ever did until the last dance was announced when every drunken loser in the place felt driven to acquire a partner to lead sweatily round the room. The youths, lanky, spotty, ill-coordinated, often smelling of vomit, thought it a point of honour that they should find a girl for the end of the evening.
If the girl was as desperate as the boy she might allow him to walk her home and, if he were lucky, and she not discerning, have a quick fumble and snog or even more in the deep shadows under trees or behind sheds. Marriages are not made in heaven but in the booze-fuelled dance halls of desperate adolescence or rather, at the end of the proverbial shotgun after such rash and sordid couplings. I always walked home alone.
One Saturday night, as we pirouetted and flounced to show off our nascent charms, my friend spun towards me and shouted in my ear, ‘Have you seen that bloke over there - the one with the black shirt and white tie? He’s gorgeous. He’s giving you the eye.’
I laughed dismissively but deep down I was flattered. At last someone had recognised my allure. I manoeuvred myself so that I could see him. She was right. I could hardly believe my luck as he sauntered towards me. I trembled and blushed and hoped my voice would work when he spoke to me.
He stretched out his hand towards me and smiled. What a wonderful smile! I reached towards him and he dropped something cold and smooth into my palm. My friend giggled and said, ‘I told you he was giving you the eye.’ I looked down and saw an eye looking back at me. I screamed and dropped it and my friend shrieked with laughter. Tucking her hand into the youth’s arm, they walked off together. Over her shoulder she said, ‘See you later, loser.’
I never went dancing again after that night and I have been wary of friendship ever since.