Words can’t explain how excited I was when Best Kisser booked tickets for us to go and see Cirque du Soliel. It’s always been one of those really big-ticket items on my bucket list so, like a total kid, I was excited for weeks and weeks and weeks before. In my excitement, I become one of those irritating people who talk like they have any idea of what it takes to perform that stuff. I don’t. As if I could even begin to climb a Chinese pole…
As it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing, the shorties came along. I was well prepared with a) a lecture, should they even DARE to say that they are bored, and b) with duct tape, incase they got fidgety or chatty and need to be taped still or taped shut. Actually, the duct tape had another potential purpose. It could also be used to subdue other patrons who might think of complaining about kids who get fidgety or chatty (er, it’s a matinee. Duuuh!)
I made sure I was wearing practical clothing as I have this fear of being pulled up on stage. With my luck my dress would be tucked into my pantyhose or butt-cheeks or something equally embarrassing. You can imagine how horrified I was, in a stoked kind of way (it’s Cirque du Soliel after all), when one of the performers picked me out of the audience and squirreled me (very hush-hush) to the back of the stage.
Once out of sight of the audience, I was told to don one of the brightly coloured all-in-one Lycra costumes, like the ones that Chinese Pole performers were wearing. Luckily it was lycra, stretchy and for once living up to the one-size-fits-all name. They didn’t have time to put on all the fancy makeup, so a quick smattering of fuchsia lipstick on my lips and cheeks had to suffice.
The lead pole person asked me if I could cartwheel. Sure, I said. Haven’t done one in a while but I’ll do my best. What about an Arab spring? Ja, I said uncertainly, I’ll give it a whirl. I mean, I’m going to be making a tit of myself anyway, aren’t I? Last question was if I work-out at all. Um, a bit I say, whilst sucking in my stomach and puffing out my chest. Try as I might, my biceps will just not puff out. OK, the lead one says, I think you might just be alright.
Before I have a chance to protest, they whisper, “just follow our cues and you’ll be fine”. My heart is beating in my chest and all I can think is that I hope I don’t pee in my pants as I try to do what they’re asking of me.
Aaaand cartwheel, I hear. Three in a row. Here goes. To my surprise and utter shock I am actually soaring through the air. I end of with an Arab spring - just because I find that I can really do one - and it feels awesome. With two of the performers spotting my back, one says to me “front and backward walk-over. One after the other, with little smiley pause for the crowd in between”. The last time I did an assisted walkover was in the early 80’s. I think to myself, what the hell - I’ve got health insurance, and I go for it. Lucky for me, those Ukrainian fellows are strong. I hear the crowd clapping and think, wow, this is the schiz man! I’m feeling a bit high with it all, and time is passing in a series of fast and slow motion. The crowd seems both near and far at the same time.
You’ve been so great, they say, we’re nearly done. To end off you’re going to take a running leap onto the Chinese Pole on the left. There are two guys spotting at the bottom for you. When you get to the top, just lift your head to the audience, then fall straight back. We’ll have something ready to catch you. I’m so far into this thing that I can hardly back out now. My upper body strength is non-existent but I tell myself that I can at least clamp my thighs (er, the beefy strong part of me) and somehow stabilize myself.
Miraculously, because it’s nothing short of that, I manage to get to the top of the pole. I’m literally three stories up and as I look down, the crowd is cheering away fiercely. My muscles are burning and I’m terrified of the height but I decide to get a bit fancy and brave a triumphant wave. As I look down, I see that the two spotters are ready to catch me. They look familiar but I’m so far up that I can barely make out their features.
Ryk Neethling and Gerard Pique. Arms open, smiling faces and mouthing to me “go on, jump, you can do it”.
Ah hell, I knew I’d blow it if I mentioned Ryk and Gerard . But hey, wouldn’t it be great if it were all true?