‘A box of cigars says you don’t dare dance with her, wallflower’ ‘That was the challenge they flung at me’ My sporting blood boiled! ‘I accept’ I responded and started across the floor.‘Show them you can do it, show them you can dance as well as they!’ my pride whispered. And I would!
But halfway across the hall my courage died.I was nearly paralyzed with fright. There she was, waiting expectantly, Marion Blake, an exquisite dancer, graceful, poised, at ease. Suppose she should refuse. Suppose she should leave me in the center of the floor? Oh wouldn’t the fellows chuckle then.
‘I’m-I’m sorry’ I stammered. ‘I guess—’
‘Why of course, I’ll be glad to dance!’ she interrupted. And before I realized it, we were swallowed up in the dance throng.
What a terrible ordeal it was for me! And twice as bad for her. I stumbled through the steps. I trod on her toes. I tried desperately to keep in time with the music. yes, my dancing was inexcusable - hopelessly out of date!
Suddenly she suggested to sit out the rest of the number. I blushed furiously ‘now its coming’ I thought. Now she is going to tell me what she thinks of my nerve.
But I was in for the surprise of my life. ‘John’ she began softly. ‘I’ll be frank. You’re not the best dancer in the world. But you’re certainly not the worst. What you need is a ‘brushing up’ on the latest steps. Why don’t you get in touch with Arthur Murray’
‘Arthur Murray! Arthur Murray!’ I repeated. ‘He teaches dancing by mail. You can’t learn that way!’
‘No ?’ Marion arched her eyebrows. ‘The truth is, that’s exactly the way I learned - even though no one does suspect it’.
Naturally I was astounded but the next evening, I found one of the Arthur Murray’s ad’s and clipped the coupon. Then I mail it asking for the free booklet and five free lessons.
The booklet and free lesson came promptly. What a revelation! They showed me how many mistakes I had been making - how utterly ignorant I was in all the modern styles of dancing.
A week later I attended a dance. The old crowd was there. ‘Here he is again’ they chorused. ‘Give him the cigars, he earned them’.
Imagine how surprised they were when I asked Marion to dance. They stood open mouthed as I glided around the floor like an expert. Now girls are always delighted to dance with me. I laugh to think how scared I was that terrible evening - for everywhere I go I am welcomed as an accomplished dancer.