Funny Romance Contemporary

Noel Needham humbly credited women’s attraction to him to one simple fact. He always wore a suit jacket to his weekly, ballroom dancing class. His refined look outclassed other men wearing sport shirts and shorts. He believed presentation was everything. His tux was reserved for competitions.

Of course, there was more to his popularity than snappy clothes. Noel was a master conversationalist. Bon mots and flattery tripped easily off his tongue as he led partners in effortless dips and turns. His physical grace and entertaining demeanor had women throughout the county vying for his attention.

Today however, Noel was uncharacteristically anxious. Noel entered the ballroom with important news. He was in love.

Reaching to straighten his tie, Noel realized, in his hurry, he’d forgotten it.

‘Never happens. Okay… work the casual look.’

Though men typically ‘lead,’ dancing is a true partnership. A conversation of touch, in classic ‘give and take,’ each dancer senses their partner’s response. Misapplied guidance can lead to missteps and even falls. Bad form.

This unspoken communication between dancers is what makes dancing an art form. With superior skills, Noel won hearts without losing rhythm or pace.

Other men on the floor were mere place holders for him. He was the star. Everyone knew he had style. The women wanted his touch and his tender whispers. Nothing mattered but being Noel’s partner.

Classical music accompanied the dancers. Noel said it was by the ‘wigs.’ This always made his partners laugh. He was not above re-using a joke.

He often used a favorite line for a certain popular musical piece. ‘A one hit wonder,’ in Noel’s words, this was an obscure composer’s sole composition. Noel would say, ‘Not worth a New York minuet,’ and get a laugh more often than not.

In a centuries old tradition, dancers made three circuits around the ballroom. When the music began, each couple swirled about the room once. As each circuit ended, the man switched partners for the next movement.

Noel’s current anxiety had nothing to do with dancing. Rather, his unrestrained, flirtatious chatter threatened to turn him into a social pariah. Being in love, Noel feared his untethered tongue had painted him into a corner. Women who believed his flattery must know the truth. Repairing the damage was overdue.

Sylvia was Noel’s first dance partner. The first to arrive, she always wore the ‘#1’ tag. They’d danced together for years and had once talked of partnering up and going pro. They found dancing and business don’t mingle easily. Through some prisms, though, dancing and love complement each other well.

As they circled the ballroom, Noel felt the seconds tick, racing as if on a carousel. He had so much to say to so many women.

‘How to start…? Get real. Just blurt it out.’

Sylvia’s grip tightening startled him from his reverie.

She said, “Watch your step.”


“Are you in a dog park? Dance.”

“Syl, I need to tell you…”

“Focus. Your pace is lagging.”

“We need to talk…”

“That’s fine. But do it in time. One, two, three… You know…? To the music. This is a dance... So, dance.”

The music stopped. They exchanged looks but no information.

Noel nodded and moved to his next partner, Violet, dressed always for class as if for a cotillion.

Noel dreaded this conversation. Obviously smitten, Violet was naïve as a fawn. He didn’t want to hurt her but could hide the truth no longer.

Her face brightened on seeing him. “Hi honey…”

“Hi, Violet. We need to talk.”

She giggled coyly and nodded.

The second movement began. Noel took her waist and swept her onto the floor.

“Let me be honest...”

“Of course, baby. Anything.”

“I didn’t mean to mislead, but…”

She balked. “What? Are you saying you lied to me?”

“I never lied, Violet. You’re fantastic. And a good dancer. I love our flirting and playing.”

She looked up. “Now awaiting that other ballet slipper to drop…”

“I didn’t expect this, but... I’m in love…” She gasped and skipped a gleeful step. “…with someone else.”

Violet stopped. Noel almost fell over. Regaining his balance, he tugged at her sleeve.

“Vee, we’re blocking traffic… Keep dancing.”

They caught the beat, but her heart wasn’t in it.

Violet looked around. “Who?”

“You don’t know her.”

She stared daggers. “Who is it?”

He said, “Dagmar.”

“That slut! Where is she?” Her head swiveled. “She’s not even here.”

As she craned her neck, Noel led her into a turn.

“I can’t believe this. In love? With that horse? After what you promised…? You can’t be...”

The music stopped. Noel made a shallow bow and turned away. She wept into her next partner’s arms.

Noel approached the woman wearing the ‘#3’ tag from behind, and placing his hands on her waist, kissed her neck.

Startled, she turned.


She looked him up and down. “No. Phyllis.”

Noel shook his head in confusion. “Are you sure? I mean…”

She raised a brow. “You can check the roster…”

“I’m sorry… But your tag…”

“I’m new. My first class. I’m not first class. But I’m trying.”

“…reads number three…”

“Pay attention. I’ve been ‘three’ since I got here, but I’ve been ‘Phyllis’ my whole life.”

“But Dagmar? She’s always number three. I mistook you…”

Phyllis shrugged. “Don’t you get it? Are you here to dance? Or…”

Glancing about he saw Dagmar. Having arrived late, she was pinning the ‘#5’ tag onto her dress.

Noel exclaimed to himself, ‘Dagmar… my love!’

A man stepped between Noel and Phyllis. That he stood a full head taller than Noel mattered little. Noel was a lover, not a fighter.

He addressed Noel, “You have a problem?”

Noel backed away. “Sorry. About to dance. Mistook Phyllis for my girlfriend.”

The man looked at Phyllis who shrugged.

He said, “Leave her alone.”

“It’s a dance class. Trading partners is...”

“Not with Phyllis, you don’t.”

The music stopped. Noel made a perfunctory bow and walked toward Dagmar. He bypassed the #4 dancer. He didn’t know her and didn’t need to talk to her. She wasn’t his type. He wanted Dagmar.

The next music began. Beverly, wearing the #4 tag, charged up and grabbed Noel. She looked hungry.

Beverly said, “What about me? You know we’re supposed to dance…?”

Noel rolled his eyes. “Of course. I’ll lead.”

He thought, ‘I never said that in my life.’

Beverly smiled. “Call me Bev.”

On the beat, they entered the flow of dancers.

Noel thought, ‘You asked for it…’

He said, “Let me tell you about my girlfriend.”

She flipped her hair. “No need…”

“She worships the ground I walk on.”

Beverly looked miffed, “I can’t imagine you deign to tread on mere earth…”

“I’m embarrassed… Women think I’m in love with them… They’re crazy for me…”

Beverly made a false pout. “You know, this isn’t the place for a therapy session… and I actually don’t care. I’m here to dance. You want your girlfriend? Please… Go.”


She gestured. “Shoo…”

Noel didn’t wait. Brushing aside his mild annoyance, he caught up to Dagmar and her partner. He tapped the man’s shoulder.

“May I cut in?”

The man nodded and stood down. Noel took Dagmar in his arms. They rejoined the dance on beat.

Dagmar smiled. “You’re bold… Never saw that before.”

“My cutting in?”

She nodded.

“Couldn’t resist. You’re great… So amazing…”


“What do you mean?”

“Amazing but… what follows? You need to tell me something?”

“Why should I add to that?”

“How many women have you said that to? I see you making them laugh. I’m not stupid.”

He spun her around and caught her in a dip. She gasped.

“Ask any of them, Dag. They’ll tell you I spoke only about you.”

She smiled up at him.

He continued. “And women don’t lie, do they?”

Dagmar laughed out loud and kissed him.

“You’re funny, Noel.”

Laughing together, they turned to the dance.

But they stopped. And the music stopped.

Looking the petulant child, Violet faced them. Beverly strolled up behind her. Dagmar looked at Noel with concern.

Violet pointed at Dagmar. To no one in particular, she said, “Is that her?”

Beverly said, “That would be my guess.”

Noel stepped forward. “If you’re asking if she’s the love of my life… yes. That’s her.”

Dagmar looked at Noel. No sound emerged when she mouthed ‘Wow…’ Before this, she had doubted his sincerity. She stepped up and linked arms with him.

Noel leaned forward. “Now back off. Are you here to dance? Or make fools of yourselves?”

Violet looked at Beverly, who had nothing to add.

“I guess, to dance.”

Music started playing. With rhythmic gesturing, like an orchestra conductor, Noel directed Violet and Beverly back to dancing. They complied sheepishly.

Noel turned to Dagmar. “There. I said it. I love you.”

She laughed and hugged him to cover her tears.

Noel said, “Let’s celebrate. You want to get out of here?”

Dagmar hesitated and then, smiling, shook her head. “Let’s dance.”

They entered the dance with bright smiles.

June 14, 2024 19:50

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Bonnie Clarkson
00:59 Jun 19, 2024

Well done. You are a man of many talents. I would have to have done a ton of research and still not gotten it right.


John K Adams
18:04 Jun 19, 2024

Thanks, Bonnie. I appreciate your input.


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Helen A Smith
16:10 Jun 17, 2024

You create a story with a light touch. Much like the dancers weaving their way along the dance floor. I’m guessing you deliberately chose the name Dagmar for comic effect. Good luck to these two. May they dance into the sunset - even if it is a brief one. I sense he’s about as shallow as a puddle, but I could be wrong. A fun and well choreographed story.


John K Adams
17:02 Jun 17, 2024

Thank you, Helen for your many kind words. I'm glad the humor came through.


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Kristi Gott
19:31 Jun 16, 2024

Clever and fun! The interplay of the complex relationships gives this story conflicts and suspense. Well crafted writing. Lively dialogue and distinctive characterizations make this come alive. Light, whimsical tone adds to the entertainment with humor. Very enjoyable. Well done!


John K Adams
20:01 Jun 16, 2024

Thank you, Kristi! Will you be my official reviewer? So glad you liked it. It was fun to write.


Kristi Gott
20:36 Jun 16, 2024

Lol, keep up the entertaining stories!


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01:33 Jun 16, 2024

As a historical fanatic, I say, "Busser! (bravo)" This story has a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi. That is the only thing I could describe it as.


John K Adams
21:21 Jun 16, 2024

Lady Coretta, I will accept that description. Thank you very much.


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Trudy Jas
12:39 Jun 15, 2024

A turn, a dip, a bow. Applause all 'round.


John K Adams
16:13 Jun 15, 2024

Thank you, Trudy. I'm glad you liked it.


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Mary Bendickson
20:40 Jun 14, 2024

Fancy footwork there!


John K Adams
22:39 Jun 14, 2024

Thank you, Mary, as always. I presume you mean my MC's fancy footwork, not my writing...


Mary Bendickson
02:43 Jun 15, 2024

Both were exquisite.


John K Adams
05:16 Jun 15, 2024

Thank you, Mary. That means a lot, even though I admit to fishing a bit.


Mary Bendickson
14:05 Jun 15, 2024

Always have a line in the water.🤗


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00:57 Jun 17, 2024

This Guy! I hoped he wasn't going to say he was in love with himself. But Dagmar? Seriously. LOL What a name. From Scandinavia or somewhere near there. There must have been a reason you chose this name. (I had a Dutch friend with the name 'Magda' [Mags for short!]- she hated her name so much she changed it legally, after her mother died. So 'Dagmar' doesn't sound pretty to me at all - sorry) Anyway, I got over the name Dagmar. Maybe if you had included the fact that she is a foreigner, or her family came from wherever? However, I took pity ...


John K Adams
14:50 Jun 17, 2024

Kaitlyn, Thank you for your lively comments. As you've shown, no one is indifferent to 'Dagmar.' I'm glad you like the story.


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Alexis Araneta
18:08 Jun 15, 2024

Adorable ! Very happy for the two !


John K Adams
18:12 Jun 15, 2024

Thanks, Alexis. It was fun to write.


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