AIDA AUSTIN: The side of the 'Strictly' craze you'll never see ...

Aida Austin lets us glimpse inside her own ’Strictly’ diary ...

September 1.

The Strictly ban is officially in place: I’m allowed to take the piss out of my husband’s Strictly experience — but only retrospectively.

“This,” I say, “is like being given an ice cream and then being told you’re only allowed to lick half of it.”

“Half an ice cream it is,” he says.

September 25.

My husband has been allocated his dance partner. Spirits are high: “She’s a great sport.”

September 26.

“We’ve been given our dances,” he says, back from practice, “we’ve got the jive. We’re going to introduce a show-stopping element, like a lift or something. Can’t wait.”

September 27.

Spirits are drooping. “They’ve told us that we have to make up the dance routine ourselves,” he says, “but we’re having trouble with the basic jive step.”

“Rubbish,” I say, “one of the very first things I noticed about you was that you weren’t embarrassing to watch on the dance floor at all. Quite the opposite. And you got everyone dancing, even the ones trying to escape.”

“This is completely different,” he says, downcast.

“Show me what you’ve got so far,” I say.

“OK” he says, “as long as…”

“The Strictly ban says nothing about taking the piss at home,” I say.

He shows me. “See?” he says, “it’s just not happening. I mean what do you think? Honestly.”

“Well,” I say, “remember the crows that used to nest in our chimney and plop down it into the grate and injure themselves? And then they’d hop around the sitting room banging into things?”

“Yes,” he says.

“Well,” I say, “you look like them.”

September 29.

At tonight’s practice my husband tried to swing Great Sport through his legs.

“Wow,” I say, “there’s your show-stopping element right there.”

“I let go of her at the wrong moment,” he says.

“Oops,” I say.

“She did a face-plant,” he says, “I shot over her head and flew straight into the wall. Her face-plant looked really painful. But she’s a great sport.”

September 30, 11am.

“We can’t do any show-stopping lifts,” he says.

Great Sport is very tall, you see.

But my husband has an idea.

“I’m going to suggest doing it in drag,” he says, “I’ll dress up as the woman and do the lady’s steps and she can be the man. That’ll be the show-stopping element, plus, that way, no one will look at our feet. What do you think?”

“I might be running out of things to say,” I say.

8pm. There is to be no drag. Great Sport was totally up for it but they’d have to relearn all the steps.

November 3.

I barge in on my husband hopping about in the bathroom at 11pm.

“I think that’s enough Run Around Sue for one night,” I say, “I need to brush my teeth.”

“Look,” he pants, “just watch for a sec. We’ve finally got the basic routine sorted.”

I look.

“Massive improvement,” I say, “you have the bones of something there but might I suggest something?”

“What?” he says.

“Do it without your tongue between your teeth.”

“I didn’t have my tongue between my teeth.”

“Odd,” I say, “it sort of felt like you did.”

November 4, 12pm,

“Can you get Paul a ticket for the semi-final?” I say.

“Christ,” my husband says, “having one pair of savage eyes there is bad enough, never mind two. Come on, I need a bit of support on the night.”

“Talking of support,” I say, “I want to find someone who can do a really piercing vulgar whistle for when you finish your dance.”

The semi-final.

9.30pm. My husband and Great Sport are about to begin their dance. The crowds settle. Pulses quicken.

2am. It’s all over for Run Around Sue. The Strictly ban is lifted. And I’d begin to take the piss retrospectively, now, but I can’t. Because they totally aced it!


Lifestyle

Liz O’Brien talks to Niall Breslin about his admiration for frontline staff, bereavement in lockdown, his new podcast, and why it's so important for us all just to slow down.Niall Breslin talks about losing his uncle to coronavirus

Podcasts are often seen as a male domain — see the joke, 'What do you call two white men talking? A podcast'.Podcast corner: Three new podcasts from Irish women that you should listen to

Esther McCarthy previews some of the Fleadh’s Irish and international offerings.How to attend the Galway Film Fleadh from the comfort of your own couch

Whether you’re on staycation or risking a trip away, Marjorie Brennan offers suggestions on novels for a wide variety of tastesThe best fiction books for the beach and beyond this summer

More From The Irish Examiner