We moved to our village about nine months ago now, leaving behind the bright lights of south-west London for the leafy trees of Hampshire. It’s a lovely little place, there’s a great community, and at least 50% of the local population still have their own teeth. But one thing that’s taken a little while to work out is what to do with the kids at the weekend. In London, there seemed to be hundreds of activities: little music groups, playgroups for dads and kids, yoga for newborns or whatever. Down our way, there doesn’t immediately appear to be so much going on. But, scratch beneath the surface, and it’s all there.
This weekend, I’m taking my daughter off to a special disco for toddlers. My new, local dad friend (every father needs one) invited me along. I’m sure my little girl will have a wonderful time; my only concern is whether I’m expected to join in. Generally speaking, with the exception of the ages of 0-10 and 18-21, going to any kind of music-led dance experience should be avoided at all costs. Especially if you’re a man.
From secondary school onwards, there’s the all-encompassing embarrassment of school discos, where your best friend is usually copping off with that girl in Year 8 and there’s always a very large girl crying in the corner (often the best friend of said girl in Year 8). That mostly continues through until university, when it’s suddenly de rigeur to go clubbing with the rest of the student population. After that, it’s all work Christmas parties and enforced jollity – which is why the idea of having to partake in a disco, sober, on a Saturday morning, slightly fills me with dread.
Surely, I argue, my daughter will have to put up with enough embarrassing dad dancing from me at weddings and family parties in the years to come – so is it really fair that I start subjecting her to it now? Hopefully, she’ll have a great time. But as I’ve already explained: if we hear even so much as the opening bars of Saturday Night by Whigfield, we’re doing a runner.