Tonight was an epiphanal night for your Captain, and he wishes to share it with all your fine upstanding junior, deputy, aspiring, official or otherwise economists, and that epiphany is about the realm of ballroom dancing.
I am often faced with a quandary when middle aged women ask if their young, teenage sons should learn ballroom dance. Understand this is a quandary for me because my experience has both pros and cons to it, neither of which (until tonight) has edged out one over the other.
The battle between learning and not-learning basically boils down to two things.
1. When I was literally the best swing dancer in the entire state of Minnesota in the late 90's and early 2000's, it was grand. Swing was hot, I was hot, and I think I racked up over 200 dates alone in that 3 year time span. Dated the hottest (and most psychotic and dumbest) girl on the scene. Icing to the cake was the Salsa craze that followed. I wasn't necessarily the best dancer, but any "gringo" who wasn't all hands and didn't have a green card as an ulterior motive to dance with the ladies came at a premium. Again, life was grand.
2. Inevitably all good things come to an end, and they come to an end in an eerily similar pattern. First there is the craze. Everybody wants to do it, hot people, ugly people, people who climb on rocks. Then the skill level of everybody increases. Some people get better than others and this insults the former "kings and queens" of the dancing world. Cliques form in a very middle school manner, and of course, there may have been some dating going on, not all of which ended successfully. Sure enough due to failed relationships some people leave the scene, one clique won't dance with the others, and it all goes to pot. But worse, hastening the "goes to pot phase" is the entrance of two very different types of men, but PRECISELY identical effects on the dance scene - Green card searchers (latin dancing) and Single Christian Middle Aged Males (swing/ballroom scene).
These men, desperately incentived by ulterior motives, ABUSE ballroom dancing and essentially scare all the women away. Women now can no longer just "go out dancing" and enjoy a good night of it. They are now harassed by illegal aliens looking for a green card or desperate middle aged men looking for a wife. The dancing no longer has merit unto itself. It becomes a tool for desperate men.
This, more than anything else, scares the women away in droves and leaving the dance scene a nerdy-remnant shell of its former greatness.
Thus the cycle is complete, boom to bust, and ballroom dancing returns to where it "normally trades at."
The question then becomes, should the young man ever bother learning to ballroom dance? Does he learn in the hopes he times it right like I did, and with the added benefit of timing two ballroom bubbles and avail himself of (literally) limitless romantic opportunities? Or does he just pursue other pursuits and move on with his life?
I'm happy to tell you I've found the definitive and correct answer;
Do not learn ballroom dancing until you have a girlfriend or wife you dearly love.
The reason I say this is because of the "stable market value" of ballroom dancing.
Understand, though in the past I was a big proponent of ballroom dancing, that is only because I was lucky enough to live through two bubbles. Bar the great 90's swing dance craze and the early 2000's salsa craze, inevitbaly these things come to an end. And if you look back at the past 100 years, maybe, MAYBE 7 of them cumulatively were ballroom dance crazes of any time.
Regardless, that's what they precisely were.
They weren't "normal."
They weren't "the base line" of society.
These were fleeting, ABNORMAL phenomenons in society.
And if you timed them just right, fine, all was well and good (pretty great actually).
But if you got on the bandwagon too late, it was single Christian groups and green-card potlucks.
So you have to determine whether you should learn to ballroom dance based on the other 93 years or 93% of the time when ballroom dancing is "trading" at its normal market value and is not in a craze or "bubble" stage. And it is most decidedly NOT worth it.
The reason I say this is because of my experiences tonight. I went to about the only place in all of southern Montana to do some ballroom dancing. The venue was actually quite large. The band was quite good. And there was no less than 300 people. I walked in thinking I hit gold.
But the a couple observations.
1. NOBODY knew what they hell they were doing. Bar the SCARCE old couple who genuinely knew how to two-step, the remainder of the dancers were just flinging each other around and faking it about as bad as you could. Pockets of "woo-girls" filled the center of the floor as they danced with their beers in hand, and not one man on that floor could have ever been called a "leader" because the women were just turning themselves. I've seen mosh pits more organized than that.
2. Because of #1, even if you KNEW how to ballroom dance it wouldn't matter because no women knew how to follow. And conversely for the Lady Cappy Cappites, it wouldn't matter if you knew how to dance, because none of the men could lead, let alone keep the beat. So again, you could be the best dancer in the state (and I'm not joking when I say, I think I quite literally was), but it won't matter because you ultimately need a partner who knows what they're doing.
3. A reminder that suburbanite princess mentality transcends all rural, suburban and urban broders: There was one time I was at The Times Cafe in Minneapolis. I was in a suit, Vic Volare and the Volare Lounge Orchestra was playing. They had a GREAT floor open and martini's were pouring. It was probably the single best dance floor/joint in the entire Twin Cities and you could not ask for a better floor or band. After getting shot down 4 times in a row, I just decided I would plum ask every single looking lady to dance in the joint. After 30 minutes, I was summarily shot down by every girl in the joint. The floor remained open, until a cackle of woo girls decided to go out on the floor and dance with each other.
Tonight was a repeat. New to the venue I asked a lady sitting next to me at the bar if the band "ever played anything danceable." She said it was her first time there, but her friend from across the bar had been there plenty of times and would know. So we BOTH start beckoning her over and she yells across the bar, "But I don't want to dance with him!' We roll our eyes, continue to beckon and inevitably she comes over. I asked her, "Do they ever play any danceable music? Let alone does anybody here REALLY know how to dance?"
No, not really, she said, and I thanked her for the information.
Of course, fresh in my mind was her presuming I wanted to dance with her. Yes, who else would I want to dance with besides her and her fellow 40 something, aging women friends, with 1980's clothes and noticeable aging physical features? Brushing it off, I could brush it off no more when 10 minutes later I see these same women, acting like veritable 14 year old girls as they start dancing with each other on the dance floor. And I'm not talkign the jump up and down, wiggle butt dance. I'm talking they're trying to swing dance with one another, while there is literally over 100 genuine, tall, good-looking cowboys of their same age.
In short, it was tonight I realized just what a bubble ballroom dancing is when women would just plain prefer to dance with themselves than perfectly capable guys.
So the lesson to learn here gentlemen of the Capposphere is that unless there's a ballroom bubble, there's no point in learning how to ballroom dance. Most women, in a stable market of ballroom dance, will have no interest in dancing with you. Most women will shoot you down. And most women, would actually prefer to dance with each other than a clean cut, good looking guy 10 years their junior who is a stranger. And if you do enter the ballroom world, you can be prepared to join a world of middle aged to elderly single folk looking desperately for some kind of edge or skill that will give them game.
The conclusion is obviously not to learn ballroom, but I will provide one caveat.
Ballroom dance is worth learning if you have a signficant other. THe reason why is it is a currency for men. Just like flowers, poetry, buying drinks, paying for dinner, all of that is WASTED on girls you are merely dating or trying to date. All of those, including ballroom dancing should be reserved for a special girl that actually DESERVES those things. Do men REALLY like ballroom dancing? Sure some, but even I tire of it. Did I like writing funny, witty poems to impress the girls in college? No, but I thought it would work, of course it didn't. And how much money did you waste buying soon-to-be-dead flowers, soon-to-be-eaten-chocolates, or soon-to-be-drank drinks?
You will soon realize ballroom dancing is merely one of many forms of what is ultimately categorized as ATTENTION.
And all men, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow will soon realize you don't use attention to get women (that's where indifference, ignorance and lying about your income come in). You use it to reward the nice sweet ones that treat you nice and don't play games and like you for you.
Therefore, the Captains' new official policy on dancing (as well as poetry, buying dinner, paying for drinks and any other form of attention) is reserved for those special women you are either seriously involved with or married to, or good female friends you really do like and respect.
Wasting these talents or efforts on women as a means to cajole them into dating you, is simply that. Wasting talents and efforts.