A splash of salsa

STOP, says the girl at the gate.

“Here for the salsa,” says Glamorous.

Oh, goes the girl, and what names are we booked under?

“Um, haven’t booked,” says Glamorous, “thought we could buy tickets at the door?”

Girl consults friend boy. Decides we are safe to be let into Salsa Splash at the Lakeside Classic Resort, Hayling Island. Hands us wristband-tickets.

“Pay at reception,” she says. “Ask for Mr Richards.”

Empty reception. Salsa or no salsa, Mr Richards doesn’t believe in manning the desk — or having it manned –- at 10:30 pm, Saturday. We walk around looking for him. Lots of black-tied men and gowned girls, but no Mr Richards. Nobody knows him.

Sorry, Mr Richards, if you want my money –- by the way, isn’t £20 a bit steep? — do drop me a note…

Inside, more black ties and evening gowns scattered around a well-lit dance floor, where a sizeable crowd is swaying to live hip-hop. After dinner.

“Do you feel a bit shabby?” asks Smiles. She and me, we are in casuals. Glamorous smiles smugly –- she’s in a black gown, make-up on, hair in place, etc.

“Uh, a bit,” I say. “But whoever heard of salsa in a suit?”

It is a dinner-dance, I know. As always, the women look gorgeous, but men salsaing in dress shirts and black ties look strange — almost like being at ballroom in jeans and t-shirt.

Floor, way too crowded. Easily the biggest — and best — crowd I have seen at salsa this summer. Plenty of good dancers (more women than men). But everybody is dancing on somebody else’s toes. The Cubans cope well, but the New York guys find it hard going. If I am not mistaken, I am not the only one who sent one girl for a crossbody and got back another.

Noticed on and around the floor: way too many good-looking girls waiting to be asked while most men -– silly twits –- dance with people they know. And the girls -– sillier twits -– instead of going for a man continue to stand around.

Why?

“Because,” says Glamorous. “It is inappropriate for a girl to ask in certain places — or you will end up with egg on your face. Like, I asked this guy, an instructor… I knew him from long, at a big event like this, and he said, ‘Sorry, I am here to have fun’.”

Um, I thought having fun at salsa was about dancing. Silly me. But seriously girls, bugger the rules and go for a man –- no man worth dancing with will refuse you a dance.

Noticed also at the event…

Tracie of TLC collapsed at table with bottle of water and two friends fanning her (she recovered to dance some more)…

Enrique, friend, and Lorna of Salsa Explosion watching more and dancing less…

Pretty girl scattering dancers around by flinging herself violently at boy all evening long…

Faces from Caliente and elsewhere returning smiles wholeheartedly (sociological note to self: strangers at familiar venue become friends at strange venues)…

Dr L salsaing gloriously to forget molecular biology and membrane transport of protein…

Dirty Dancing outside the main ballroom to hip-hop music (observed by Glamorous on her way out)…

Two bachatas, two cha chas (thank you, DJ Brown), but no merengue (shame on you, DJ Brown)…

And now Mr Richards, if you could please let Robert and Jean White of Mambo City know it was a fantastic night, we all enjoyed it, and thank you so very much for organising it?

And, oh, about the money, I was not kidding.

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