Monday, November 10, 2008

Rule #1: Do NOT Turn Men Down for Dancing

In addition to my dance classes, as my goal is to get my students to dance, I host "field trips" wherein I take my students out to various bistros, ballrooms and jazz clubs, thereby allowing them the chance to practice the moves I taught them...and grant me an excuse to write off my booze for the evening. This last Saturday I went to a Latin joint for my Latin and Salsa dance students, and though lightly attended, we all had a good time.

However, while sipping away at my Rumpleminze and talking with some of my students, I witnessed out of the corner of my eye a phenomenon that is all too common and must be eradicated immediately. An immigrant invariably of Hispanic descent, was sheepishly standing by a support column, visually trying to assess his chances of getting a group of girls sitting at a table to his right to dance with him. Inevitably he got enough courage to approach the table and as far as I could tell, didn't identify any one particular girl he'd like to dance with, but more or less just threw the option out on the table to see if ANYBODY would dance with him.

Unfortunately I knew what was coming for I had been there a million times before.

The girls looked at each other, pointed at one another, giggled and then tried to foist the "chore" of dancing with this man on their friends, all the while utterly insulting him there as he waited patiently for a grown up to arise from the group and say, "yes I would like to dance."

He had more patience than I did, as he sat there a painful 30 seconds while the little girls giggled amongst themselves and pointed at one another, but inevitably he turned away and left the girls to themselves.

Now ladies, I know it is not fashionable to provide women advice on...well...anything. And I know that because of the political climate in the US anything meant as constructive criticism is construed as misogyny. But, out of the benefit of advancing society and perhaps finding you a future love, tough. This is for your own good.

First, this is the primary reason you "can't find a man." Oh sure, you'll let Chip McWinthrop buy you a drink at the local sports bar on daddy's dime, you'll sign up for utterly pointless online dating services such as Match and E-Harmony, but when Pablo comes up to you and asks you to dance, oh, no. That's just outlandish now isn't it?! Let me explain to you how you are shooting yourselves in the foot. It doesn't get any more Cary Grant than a man who not only has the gall to approach a table of girls, but has the skill to back it up on the dance floor. A man that knows how to dance is like an automatic screener. If he has taken the time to learn a skill such as dance, chances are he is a bit more refined, intelligent, not a drug dealer, not living at home or whatever else was your ex-boyfriend in the past.

Second, I don't give a damn if you do or do not know how to dance. Sit there and wish all you want, you will never look like Ginger Rogers sitting, sipping your cosmopolitans and opining about how you'd LIKE to dance watching Dancing with the Stars, unless you get off your ass and dance. That's why men "LEAD" in dancing. About your only responsibility in dancing is to not fall down, otherwise a good lead will be able to make you look like a million bucks on the floor. Of course you can continue to sit there and look like a dime-a-dozen with your eleven other friends sipping your mojitos, but that's just me.

Third, out of pure simple courtesy, you needn't dance with us, but by god, if you dare do the giggly girl sh!t, pointing at each other saying, "no you dance with him! No YOU dance with him! Hee hee hee!! No, she really wants to dance with you!" while a true gentleman is standing in your presence, you earn the right to be perpetually single for the rest of your days. Be true grown up women, and afford these men the simplest of etiquette. This has not only happened to me, and "Pablo," but practically every male friend I know. And you know what the consequences are? When you finally do decide you're ready to dance or perhaps go to a fancy place and meet a refined Antonio Banderas, too bad. All the good guys quit and either don't show up or don't bother expending the calories of energy to go up and ask you to dance anymore. This is of no concern when you're 25 as 25 year old men still have it in them. But if you're 35 and you're constantly wondering "where are all the good 30 something/40 something/50 something men?" Yeah, that WAS us. We're enjoying some X-Box 360 and a scotch with our buddies over a poker game...might even invite Pablo.

Fourth. Understood. You just want to enjoy some jazz. You just want to listen to some serious Latin. You just want to hang out with your girlfriends and be left alone. Fine, we get that and can appreciate that. Then don't sit near the dance floor, while dolled up in some kind of alluring dancing attire as you gyrate to the music in your seat looking like a puppy dog begging for a bit of ice cream to fall off your cone. And for the love of Pete, don't take the token dance lesson at the beginning of the evening. It's called false advertising. Not that the men are stalking, but they do pay attention to who is taking the lessons or is exuding the body language that they'd like to dance. This way (well, in theory anyway) we only ask the girls who want to dance to dance and leave the others be in peace.

Fifth, it is a dance. That is all it is. Oh sure, we might angle to ask you out later, based on how much you try to commandeer the lead away from us. We wouldn't have asked you to dance if we didn't find you at least a little bit attractive, but it's not a proposal of marriage. It's not an indecent proposal. It's not even a date or even a compliment on your hair. It's a dance. It's about 3-5 minutes of moving around on the floor. Heck, the music is so loud, it's impossible to get to know you. So don't worry, we have no "aims" on you. We (shocking as it may be) just genuinely want to dance.

Sixth, take it from me. I've been teaching dance 10 years. And when it comes to dance ladies, the men ARE GONE when you get older. The vast majority of people in my dance classes without partners are women. The men just don't dance, especially the older they get. I have had classes so lopsided that there were 6 women for every man. And beg and plead as much as I do with my male friends to show up and pinch hit, very few of them do. Ergo, if you ever want to be the girl that is the center of attention on the dance floor, or (the ultimate coup de tat) be that girl who steals all the attention at the reception away from the bride and onto you, then by all that is Metal-Gear-Solid-sacred you do not turn down a man who is asking you to dance.


Bike Bubba said...

Now I think you're failing to put this in economic terms; perhaps these women value leading men on over the possibility of a loving husband.

OK, doesn't make sense to me, either. I personally think that a generation of young people have been "taught" through the movies to say "Fred Astaire or nothing," or "Ginger Rogers or nothing." That does weird things to the supply and demand curves for those of us who can't gain the admiration of Nureyev, especially backwards and in heels.

Joie said...

DITTO! Unless he is a CRAZY man that has asked you to dance before and you DID dance with him, and he was CRAZY- hands in all the wrong places, and other parts too. Yeah, it happens sometimes. When it does you politely, RUN away...and don't dance with him again. Now this is a VERY RARE scenario. I have been dancing ballroom and latin for nearly nine years now, and that scenario has happened to me only 3 times. Most men are perfect gentlemen! And ladies, there is nothing better than a man that can dance! Mmmmm!

Anonymous said...

As I begin my forties I notice how truly desperate many women are starting to get.

Their beauty is fading, and eventually these women will slide down a much steeper slope of unattractiveness than their male counterparts.

The schadenfreude is just getting started pull up a chair, my friend.

Hot Sam said...


When I was active in ballroom and latin dance, I had a "three strikes and your out" rule. If I asked a woman to dance on three separate occasions and she turned me down each time, she was forever on my black list.

I thoroughly enjoyed turning them down later when they asked me to dance.

I understand that when experienced women dancers dance with novice men, it can be painful and difficult, but the same is true for experienced men and novice women.

I used to attend beginner classes whenever there was a shortage of men. I got a chuckle every time some beginner woman tried to tell me, who had been dancing for ten years, how to lead "correctly."

Women simply don't understand how much courage it takes for a man to walk up to a woman and stick his neck out. Every rejection is like having a small piece of your heart torn to shreds. Ironically, the moment a man becomes insensitive to failure (and hence a woman's feelings), that's when they find him confident and attractive. Women prefer a-holes to nice guys. They want to take James Dean and turn him into Jimmy Stewart.

No woman is involuntarily home alone on a Friday night. If she is, it's because she was too much of a snob to give an average Joe the time of day.

Ranty said...

I (and my girlfriend with whom I began dancing some 9-ish years ago) made a rule way back when:

NEVER refuse a man a first dance, at least not when going out for that (dancing) purpose.

A second, third, etc, okay. If he sucks that's fine to say no.

But we gave EVERYONE a fair shot.

Even those 4'11 guys... who -incidentally- were statistically some of the best dancers in the house in our day.

Michael Ryan said...

When I was younger my wife dragged me off to contra-dances in grange halls. I am a total non-coordinated putz, but I did my best. Those dances were serious work, like something from Jane Austen but speeded up about 10x.

After 20 minutes or so they would break, and a couple of musicians would stay behind and play a waltz for those who wanted more right now. I felt so bad when women (of a certain age) would come up to me and ask me to dance with them. I could never get the simple 1-2-3, and wound up turning away plenty.

Anonymous said...


I would add this note to those ladies with a husband or boyfriend in attendance. I love to dance, but my husband does not. However, I hate the idea of turning down some poor guy willing to dance with me (I'm not very good), especially when he had the bravery to ask me first. So, when my husband (or boyfriend for earlier incidents) was there, I made a point of looking at him first when I was asked to dance (usually with a "please please please!" look on my face) to see how he felt about it.

He told me later that it made all the difference to him that I actually showed him (and incidentally the man asking me to dance and possible scamming on me for a date) that I was (a) attached, and (b) cared more about my boyfriend's/husband's feelings than I did this stranger's.

For me, it was an instinctual response that turned out to work well. However, since my husband fessed up to how much he appreciated it, I have made it a point to always look at him and akcnowledge his presence in situations like this.

I also think it is more fair for the man asking you to dance, since many men (my brother is one) absolutely hate the thought of dancing with another man's girlfriend or wife, especially if it will get him (or them) in a fight later.

Anonymous said...

Another thing I think I'd add to the list, ladies, is that men are *not* blind! I know this and I'm not even a guy! I just happen to have grew up with three brothers, so I tend to understand men more than I do women, never mind the fact I'm a woman myself.
Anyway. :) As I was saying, ladies, men are *not* blind! When Handsome Dirk sees you turning down Pablo, don't you think he's taking note of your snobbery? If Dirk was already working up his courage to ask you, then sees you rudely reject a fellow dude, do you seriously think he's going to give you the time of day? Hell no! And he'd have no reason to either.

So dance with Pablo! What can it hurt? At least acknowledge the fact that the guy was brave enough to work himself up to ask you in such a polite, gentlemanly way. Who knows? Maybe Pablo will turn out to be a nice guy! And hey, even if he isn't, you're at least letting all the other hunks in the room know that you're a nice, classy lady who won't rebuke them. You may just be sending the right signals to Prince Charming by politely dancing with Pablo.

Chin up, Captain, there are at least a few girls left out here in the world who agree with you 100%. :)

Anonymous said...

CAPTAIN, where can I sign up for your classes?????????

Kasia said...

Oh, for the love of Mike, I think I would have had to smack those girls. Poor "Pablo". I hope he ends up finding his Ginger Rogers. :-(

(I can't dance for squat, even being led - don't know what to do with my feet - but crap like that sends me through the roof!)

Captain Capitalism said...


You just go to your local school district's community education web site and sign up. I may not be the teacher (as I don't own the ENTIRE monopoly on the local market), but trust you me, whoever is teaching the class will certainly appreciate a man in the salsa/latin dance class.


Don't worry, you're married. You've got it taken care of. The single "holier than thou" suburbanite princesses are the ones who really are at risk. In 10 short years time, they'll still be single and 45 and fat and then they'll be begging for a Pablo to come ask them to dance. Too bad they pissed the opportunity away and Pablo is chasing after much younger and more appreciative game.