Inside this week | High-stakes poker watching the belly dancer

Never mind competing in a belly dancing competition (see here for our preview of the Danish Open), the biggest challenge (as a man) is watching one close-up in full view of your other half.

Earlier this year, on a trip to Frankfurt (primarily to visit a museum dedicated to the Der Struwwelpeter children’s book, with which I am a little obsessed), my girlfriend and I stumbled into a restaurant where a belly dancer was performing.

She was relentless and – let’s get it out there because, unlike female tennis players (hear about Wozniacki? – see here), they never quite know when to retire – extraordinarily sexy. Not just when she moved, but in person as well.

Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a story that ends with me leaping up and knocking over the wine bottle with my wiener – I’m not 14 anymore. No, there is no story. Nothing happened because I made damn sure my girlfriend couldn’t see how much I was enjoying myself.

This was high-stakes poker. Every fibre of my being was telling me to lean back and relinquish control of my facial muscles. I had a flush … of hearts, and what’s worse, I was playing someone who knew my tell.

What I eventually noticed about the dancer, and this might be a handy tip, was that she wasn’t big on eye contact, but if you looked away, she would demand your attention, win it and then look away again. A split second of mesmeric ecstasy snatched away in an instance – a metaphor for life and one that I had to impassively sit through with the same blank expression I normally reserve for my daughter’s school plays.

No danger of that at Stomp (here), where it will be impossible to sit still as the rhythm of the performers pulsates through the theatre. And there will be no peace at home either until you take the kids to the Tivoli, which opens for the Christmas season this Friday (here).

Watching a belly dancer may have its challenges, but it’s child’s play compared to knowing which of your kids’ demands should be taken seriously around Christmas time.





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