Originally published in the San Diego Jewish Journal
Dancing. One of the most romanticized methods of courtship. It ranks right up there with kissing in the rain, and like kissing in the rain, it’s often better in the movies than in real life.
I’ve gone out dancing a fair amount, both alone and with dates… and let me tell you, the movie Dirty Dancing lied to us. You can’t skip that whole “learning thing” with a cute 80’s montage, and while the dance floor can be romantic, it is also a perilous world of bumps and bruises. Now, I am not trying to discourage anyone from getting out there and having fun, but it’s important to consider the “real-world” factor.
Guys, this article is primarily aimed at you. Why? Because in couple’s dancing, the guy is the lead 90% of the time. As such, it is your job to make your partner feel safe as you maneuver through a dimly-lit environment filled with flailing limbs. If you don’t do that job, then you drastically reduce your chances of having fun while upping your odds of striking out. So, without further ado, here are five problematic archetypes among leads… and how to avoid being one:
Archetype #1: The Nervous Newbie
You courageously jumped onto the dance floor without taking a class, but now you feel all ferdrayt (dizzy and confused), and your arms feel like noodle kugel.
Solution: There are nearly always free or inexpensive lessons before open dancing, so get there early! Also know that inexperience is not a problem… just don’t run your partner into stuff!
Archetype #2: The “Pro”
You took some classes once, and now you “know all the moves.” If only you could find a dance partner as infallible as yourself! Maybe then you wouldn’t have to yank her arm half way out of its socket to make her spin, and “correct” her every “mistake.”
Solution: Dancing is about having fun. So check your ego at the door. Friendly guidance is fine, but if you regularly have to force her to move, then you aren’t leading properly.
Archetype #3: The Talker
You are so eager to get to know your partner that you hardly notice the dance floor as you ply her with questions.
Solution: If you want to get to know your partner better, ask if you can buy her a drink after the song ends. She’ll likely be more interested in talking when she isn’t worried about dodging other couples.
Archetype #4: The Drunk Dipper
You’ve had a few shots of liquid confidence, and now you’re ready to shake it, Baby!
Solution: It’s okay to be a tad tipsy, but know your limits so you don’t risk giving your partner a concussion. Trust me, it’s happened.
Archetype #5: The Seducer
Everyone knows dancing is totally sexy, and your hands always have a way of finding her tuchas.
Solution: The dance floor is not a pre-mating-ground that exists so you can sweep her off her feet and into your bed. I’m not saying you can’t be flirty, but if she moves your hand, she’s not playing hard to get, she’s saying “no.”
So guys (and gals), am I saying it’s hopeless, and that you should give up? Not at all! I’ve spent enough delightful evenings on the dance floor to keep me coming back. When partnered with a moderately skilled dancer who has pure intentions, dancing is lots of fun… and can be quite romantic. Just remember to set aside your ego, take a few lessons, and keep in mind that it’s all about having fun with someone you like, not taking a shortcut to the sack!