We’ve all experienced that awkward moment when two people are on a collision course as they walk along a narrow path or across a bridge.
Almost inevitably, attempts to get out of each other’s way end in failure, and no little embarrassment. First you both shuffle to one side, then you both shuffle to the other side, like you are magnetically drawn together.
The brief encounter usually ends in one, or both, of the walkers quipping: ”Shall we dance?” Well, did you know that this ‘dance’ has a name, and that the name is… ‘Droitwich’? The hopeless walkers are ‘doing a Droitwich’.
It was so named by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd in their 1983 comedy book The Meaning Of Liff, which assigns existing place names to things and feelings for which there is no current English word.
The definition we’re interested in reads thus:
”Droitwich (n.) A street dance. The two partners approach from opposite directions and try politely to get out of each other’s way. They step to the left, step to the right, apologise, step to the left again, apologise again, bump into each other and repeat as often as unnecessary.”
Adams, of course, also wrote the hugely successful Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy books, while Lloyd is best known for producing TV shows Not The Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image, Blackadder and QI.