However, when we tried to ease ourselves apart as the dance ended, nothing happened.
Well, I mean by that, something happened, and that was we became aware that were firmly attached to each other precisely at the navel. Navels. My three belt prongs and her dress trimmings had become inextricably intertwined during the second Pivot.
I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but if it hasn’t, let me tell you it’s amazing just how tightly conjoined you can get during a Pivot if you’re wearing adventurous clothing, as you can tell from my description that we were. Let me tell you also, with one mother looking at us from one side of the dance floor as we were trying to unbind ourselves, and the other mother watching from the opposite side, the fumbling of fingers must have looked…. odd. Suspicious, even; though we dancers didn’t think of that. We just couldn’t move anything except our fingers in the zero space between us, as all the other dancers cleared the floor and the hall fell eerily silent, just the two of us left, slap bang in the middle.
Pivoting us back to her seat conjoined was out of the question. A three legged race is bad enough, but you just can’t do a four legged race under those conditions - especially one with the demanding requirements of the Pivot. It's one thing to have navels as close together as possible as a consensual act on a glassy-surfaced dance floor. It's quite another when consent has been withdrawn by a Greater Power with a puckish sense of humour and nothing better to do on a Saturday night.
After a few failed attempts to release ourselves surreptitiously from each other’s umbilical areas, we both looked up in some alarm to see our mothers rapidly descending upon us in a pincer movement, while everyone else just gazed on bemused at the spectacle.
‘What d’you think you’re doing?’ demanded Lorraine’s mother before mine could get the same question in.
‘We’re STUCK!’ said Lorraine, to which I added unhelpfully, with rising panic, ‘…..together. We’re stuck together.’ I told you Lorraine's mother was a little bit fierce, so I wasn't thinking all that clearly. It wasn't like you could really be stuck apart, after all.
It would no doubt have been a strange thing for two mothers to take in. Poor Lorraine, my fair-skinned honey blond lovergirl, was blushing pinker than the dress she often wore in summer; the one that was my favourite. And that little cotton dress that swished like palm fronds when we did the Mexican Hat Dance on hot summer nights was very, very pink.
I don’t know about how you'd react, but when two mothers start interfering with parts of your adolescent body that you usually regard as your own private domain, on a dance floor in full view of everyone in the entire world, it’s a very odd feeling, but they were determined to resolve the issue with all possible speed. Mrs Rideout in particular took the lead in this enterprise, intent on avoiding damage to the smart woollen dress bought only that day from Manahan’s [slogan: ‘Manahans are Marvellous!'] in Gladstone – and with little regard for the delicacy of the matter from the point of view of either of us pubescent dancers. Certainly she did not consider my feelings as of any consequence while I was being intimately woman-handled, but worked the three long prongs of my buckle slowly out from the threads and trimmings.
At last we were separated after what seemed an eternity of interference, one which might have been an interesting experience under other circumstances but not this time round, and definitely not with mothers, and the dress was then carefully inspected for prong damage. There was none. No prong damage of any description.
Down at the Gents end of the dance floor, there appeared to be much merriment as the separation took place and the initial bemusement turned into high and ribald amusement. Eddie Roberts was strumming air guitar and loudly singing the brand new Elvis song, ‘Stuck on you’, which had been playing on Radio 4RO Rockhampton for a few weeks by then.
You can shake an apple off an apple tree
Shake-a, shake- sugar,
But you'll never shake me
No-sir-ee, uh, huh-a
I'm gonna stick like glue,
Stick because I'm [boom boom!]
Stuck on-a you …..
Lorraine’s mother gave him a withering stare and the faintly obscene gestures timed with shaking apples off apple trees and the 'boom boom!' also wilted away. She was a bit fearsome, I know I keep saying, but after all, family honour was involved, and a girl’s virtue was jealously guarded at least until she had safely donned the long white frothy dress and veil, and was no longer a moral or social danger to family or community. But, it did take more than a few weeks for us to live the incident down, and the Elvis song regularly rang in my ears for some time afterwards. Sometimes I could hear it being hummed behind me in the street by unkind people. Fortunately, the collective folk memory of it did not survive till my teaching days in Calliope, or I may have had discipline problems with the Grade 6 boys – and possibly the girls, come to think of it.
At midnight in these dances, the National Anthem would be played, at which we would all stand to attention, Lorraine would wave me a cheery goodbye and smile with just the right amount of wistfulness, take her place sitting between her parents in the front of the family ute, and back to Targinnie they would go. I imagine the conversation was a bit muted on the night of the buckle incident, but it soon blew over, as there was clearly no evil intent. It just looked that way for a while, but I guess being extracted from such situations are what mothers are for. Besides, Mrs R. liked me, and had had a brief but unique opportunity to check me out at puberty in ways I imagine most prospective mothers-in-law never chance upon, nor would want to. I am pretty sure there was a lot of muffled laughter about the incident between Mum and Dad as we drove home in our nearly new Holden ute, parents in the front, kids safely out of earshot on a blanket in the tray.
So now you know an almost seamy episode in my early love life. There was an unseemly one to come, a love triangle a year later that was entirely my fault. But I'm sure this holds absolutely no interest for you. If it does, say so and I'll do my best.
[Back to Index]
Come on, don't be such a tease.
You know the love triangle story is one of my favourites!
But maybe people won't respect me in the morning! :)ReplyDelete
who said we respected you in the first place?ReplyDelete
sorry I couldn't resist.(and sorry this is sorta late- I'm just catching up)
you certainly tell a great story well
thanks for these
Guess I stuck my jaw out for that one!ReplyDelete
Oh Denis you naughty, naughty boy!! Hahaha. As you got older, this pivot move of yours might have found more benefits! What a great tale and a fascinating insight to central Queensland life in your youth!ReplyDelete
I too am late to your blog, but better late than never. It is absolutely wonderful, so readable and interesting. Thank you for deciding to share so generously.
(Jack and Oz are visiting as I write, hence my discovery of your blog)
Sharon! One of my favouritest people ever and I haven't seen you for a very long time. Tracey and I a couple of days ago came across a photo of you and me that you took by the time-honoured method of turning the camera around and snapping it. It's lovely.ReplyDelete
Yes, I was a naughty boy - naive as a baby in some ways. (Still am, as you know.... :) ) It's only when you get too old and look back at yourself at that glorious time in your life that you realise the wisdom of the cliché that it's such a pity youth is so wasted on the young....
Then again, maybe not.
Please continue to read, and comment on my wickedness!