Danc­ing on Ice curse is a bless­ing for me

Sunday Mirror - - KHAN SAIRA -

When I signed up for Danc­ing on Ice, I ex­pected to be asked about the so-called curse that hangs over all re­al­ity shows that throw con­tes­tents into the arms of per­fect phys­i­cal spec­i­mens for months at a time.

So I had my an­swer off pat. “Of course my hus­band and I aren’t wor­ried,” I sim­pered. “That only hap­pens to cou­ples whose re­la­tion­ships are in trou­ble to be­gin with.”

I’d long ago de­cided that the Strictly curse and the Danc­ing on Ice curse (which has been blamed for end­ing even more re­la­tion­ships) were just handy ex­cuses used by peo­ple al­ready look­ing for an out.

Let’s face it, comic Seann Walsh had hardly been a model boyfriend be­fore his snogfest with pro part­ner Katya. And if singer Jake Quick­enden’s en­gage­ment couldn’t last the Danc­ing on Ice tour, his ro­mance with Danielle Fog­a­rty was doomed.

While my 14-year mar­riage to Steve hasn’t been on the rocks, it’s cer­tainly bounced off them a few times. But these days we’re in a good place. It’s nice to feel at ease with some­one. And at 48, I like stability, rou­tine and fa­mil­iar­ity. We’re solid.

What I hadn’t bar­gained for was that along with the skates and the se­quins come tons of en­forced in­ti­macy with a hand­some stranger.

My pro skat­ing part­ner is the lovely Mark Han­retty. He’s been on Danc­ing on Ice for eight years and is a mar­ried dad of two who’s steered the likes of Donna Air

round the rink. For weeks I’ve spent ev­ery avail­able mo­ment up close and per­sonal with this de­light­ful man, who’s 15 years younger than me, star­ing into his eyes, to­tally de­pen­dent on his sup­port. All his en­ergy and at­ten­tion is fo­cused on me as he tries to make me look and feel good about my­self, while keep­ing me safe.

Mark has spent his whole life work­ing with fe­male dance part­ners. For him, it’s no big­gie to put his hands all over their bod­ies, or have them wrap their legs round his neck.

And it’s part of his job to make the au­di­ence be­lieve he is head over heels in love with the woman in his arms. He knows how to cre­ate “chem­istry” through move­ment, ex­pres­sion and touch.

As a total novice to act­ing, danc­ing and skat­ing, I’ve found all that toe-curlingly em­bar­rass­ing. All the more so be­cause in my real life, Steve and I are so busy with work and fam­ily that we rarely have time for in­ti­macy. And I don’t mean sex. I mean the lit­tle things that help hold a cou­ple to­gether.

From the get-go, Mark just grabbed my hand and skated off as if it were to­tally nor­mal.

But I found it awk­ward be­cause it’s some­thing Steve and I hardly ever do. I can’t re­mem­ber when I last had time to hold his hand.

But Mark made me re­alise how much I missed that feel­ing.

Then there’s the way he looks at me, spend­ing hours ev­ery day gaz­ing in­tensely into my eyes.

So nat­u­rally, I do my hair and make-up. I put on per­fume. I want him to know I’ve made an ef­fort.

Then I re­alised it was mak­ing me feel bet­ter and

I should do it any­way, for my own self-es­teem but also to give Steve the best ver­sion of my­self.

How many of us bother to re­ally look at our spouse, let alone stare in­tently into his eyes?

So I have been af­fected by the

Danc­ing on Ice curse, as it turns out. It’s made me re­alise all re­la­tion­ships need a bit more ef­fort – es­pe­cially ones which count.

GASBAG Trump has to wise up

SKATE PALS Me and Mark

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