Same Sex
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The Lady Who
Wanted To Lead

Original Story: February 1999
Updated version: June 2008
Story written by Rick Archer


Back in the heyday of the Nineties Swing Era, one afternoon we had a bizarre run-in with a female dance student.

Joye was an attractive, well-educated woman around 25 years old.  I believe she was a graduate student in a prestigious program in the Texas Medical Center.

As you can see from the pictures, Ms. P does not exactly look like an angry protester.  They say looks can be deceiving, but Joye certainly didn't fit the profile of an unhappy customer.  Joye was a superior dancer with many friends at the studio.  She was pleasant towards me in the few times we spoke.  Plus she had a great smile.  

Nevertheless, in February 1999
, Joye threw the biggest tantrum ever witnessed from a dance student in our studio's thirty year history.

And what was the fuss about? 


On a Sunday afternoon in February 1999, Joye signed up for a Beginning Swing class.  The Registrar said nothing, but later recalled being curious at the time.  Joye was already a very experienced Swing dancer who was in the process of trying out for the studio's Swing Team.  So what reason did Joye have to sign up for a Beginning Swing class?

Starting the class, t
he instructor said, "Boys on one side, Girls on the other."   Ms. P walked over to the boy's side.  The instructor noticed the move.  Although Joye's action raised her eyebrow, it wasn't that big of a deal.  It is not unusual for someone to practice the opposite sex footwork by themselves. The teacher assumed Joye was practicing the boy's footwork so she could teach her boyfriend later on.  Who cares?  It doesn't hurt anybody. 

After the instructor finished demonstrating the the footwork to both sides of the class, it was time to practice the move together.  So the instructor
told everyone to go get a partner

At this point
Joye crossed the room directly to an older woman who was standing alone.  Joye grabbed the woman's hand and put her other arm around the startled lady's back.  Before the woman could even say a thing, she and Joye were locked together in Closed Swing Position (see picture).  The woman looked helplessly to the instructor for some sort of explanation.

The look on the woman's face told the story - she was clearly uncomfortable with the situation.

Joye was a complete stranger to the woman.  The woman had no idea what was going on.  She was already nervous because this was her first visit to the studio.  In her mind, some strange girl had just taken her in her arms and made a dance partner out of her!  What was going on?  What kind of studio was this?

The instructor could not help but notice.  She had to choose between looking the other way or handling this awkward situation head on.  Thank goodness the instructor decided to tackle the problem directly (later the instructor told me the worried look on the woman's face made it clear she had no choice but to intervene).

The instructor asked Ms. P what the story was.  A hush came over the room.  Twenty students who were completely new to the studio stood still as they tried to understand what on earth was going on here. 

Ms. P said that she had paid her money and wished to dance as a "Lead", a term sometimes used in lieu of "The Boy's Part". Ironically, it turned out Joye had paid the lower woman's "Follow" rate since it was economically expedient to do so, but why split hairs?

At this point,
the instructor explained that our policy prohibited students to dance with other students of the same sex.  This policy included dance class as well as Parties and Practice Night.  At SSQQ, boys were expected to dance with girls. 

Joye rebutted that she had seen the female instructor dancing with female students on many occasions.

The instructor said that Joye was correct, but there was a good reason.  Continuing on, the instructor explained
that we did allow instructors to dance with same sex students, but only as part of their official teaching duties.  That privilege did not extend to students.  The instructor repeated that students were specifically prohibited from dancing with students of the same sex in class and at Practice Night.

Ms. P immediately launched into a speech about how she was being sexually discriminated against.  She said we were violating her right to learn the dance role of her choice.  The instructor was stunned at the vehemence of this argument.  This was unheard of. 

The instructor wasn't the only person caught off guard.  The entire group of newcomers watched this impromptu theater in horror. New students are typically nervous to begin with, but this was far worse than even their most catastrophic fears had ever conjured up.  Is this a Gay Dance Studio?  Where is the Exit Door?

There in the center of the room two women were locked in a heated debate about the student's right to dance with other women.  Let me assure you that every female student in the room watched intently.  They were worried which way this debate was headed.  The thought of dancing with this angry young woman was a little scary. 

Plus the instructor looked very shaken.  The success of the class depended on a quick bond developing between the instructor and the students.  That was not definitely not going to happen today.  Furthermore, the clock was ticking.  As the instructor and Joye went back and forth, ten minutes of valuable
class time had gone straight down the drain.  Even worse, this argument was going nowhere fast.  Joye was not budging an inch. 

Finally the instructor threw up her hands and went to fetch Judy Archer, her immediate superior.  Judy was teaching an advanced Swing class in another room.  This meant that now Judy's Swing class was disrupted as well.  Joye had succeeded in disrupting not one, but two dance classes. 

Now Judy and Joye went back and forth.  Judy had a previous relationship with Joye because Joye was trying out for Judy's Swing Team.  Unfortunately their previous rapport seemed useless as Joye continued to insist on her right to dance "lead". 
Did I mention that there were heated words and ugly things said by Joye?  She was convinced we were violating her civil rights!

Seeing that Judy wasn't having much luck either, the instructor joined back into the argument.  Now Judy and the instructor worked together to double-team Joye.  Back and forth, back and forth for yet another
ten minutes. 

Ms. P finally backed down and left the studio, refund in hand.  Ms. P had created quite an unpleasant scene, but for what purpose?  What was so important that she was fighting for?  Her civil rights? 

Joye had accomplished absolutely nothing with her argument except make a lot of people miserable.

During the twenty total minutes of arguing, two couples in Ms. P's class had asked for a refund and exited.  Ms. P's confrontation had not only depressed everyone in the building, it also cost us a couple hundred dollars in cash as well.  

Sad to say, after all that haggling, the Beginner class Ms. P had signed up for was in tatters.  The students were so distracted they never learned a thing that day.  Several people never came back for their second class the following week.  After the first impression they had received, who could blame them?

hat were Ms. P's motives behind creating such a scene?

That night, Judy sat down and told me the entire story.  There were all kinds of unanswered questions here.

1.  Why did Joye want to dance lead in the first place?
2.  Having taken classes for six months or more, she knew what our rules were.  Why didn't she ask permission?
3.  Why did she show no concern for the feelings of the woman in dance class?
4.  Why was it so important that she continued to argue till she was blue in the face?

I have never once figured out a reasonable answer to any of these questions.  And please believe me when I say I gave it some serious thought.

I will say this - I seriously doubt her reasons were sexual.  

One theory was that Joye was hoping to become a teacher.  I doubt this theory.  The correct strategy is to come to Judy or come to me and ask to be a teacher.  Let me add her stubborn defiance cost her any chance that we would ever trust her enough to ask her to work for us.

Let me present a picture of the Swinging Skirts and Mugz.

These were the members of our studio's performing Swing Team.

was the roommate of Yvonne E, the tall woman who is standing fourth from the right. 

Yvonne was a key dancer on the Swing team and a team leader as well.  I have long believed that Ms. E was somehow involved in this story, but have no facts to support my intuition. 

Encouraged by her roommate Yvonne, Joye had been trying unsuccessfully to crack the starting lineup of this dance team for some time.  At the time of the Same Sex incident, Joye was an alternate on the team.  She practiced with them, but didn't get to perform.  Perhaps Joye's fervor to improve as a dancer and join her roommate Yvonne on the team was the original reason for her fateful decision, but this explanation is very unsatisfying. 

First of all, Joye would certainly never make the dance team as a "Lead".  Furthermore it is doubtful that learning the boy's part would improve her skills as a "Follow" either.  Second, this explanation
doesn't explain why Ms. P got so angry when we refused to cooperate with her demands. 

What I do remember was that back in those days, Joye's roommate Ms. E was in the middle of every controversy.  The most bitter incident involving the Swing Team had to be the Harvest Moon Ball Fiasco of 1998.  Since Yvonne had membership on the Swing Team and over at the Houston Swing Dance Society, she was deeply involved in the disastrous politics of that ill-fated event. 

More poignant, Yvonne
was instrumental in leading a dancer revolt that put an end to Judy Archer's beloved Lindy Dance Team
bout four months after Joye's "Same Sex Incident", Yvonne was at the core of the Pizza Rebellion.  

The performers were feeling overworked about the same time as Judy Archer was preparing to commit to a new series of high-profile performances.  Thanks to the excellence of the dance team, offers to perform were rolling in.  Judy was preparing to take the dance team to an entire new level.  Unfortunately, Judy was getting more ambitious at a time when (unbeknownst to her) some of the team wanted to take time off. 

One night several members of the dance team met at Star Pizza to blow off steam.  They decided to let Judy know they were tired and wanted to ease up for a while.  Unfortunately, the following day the disgruntled dancers presented their frustrations in such an incredibly hostile and public way that Judy was humiliated.  She was unwilling to continue as their coach.  Coldly walking away from this disastrous Team Meeting, Judy disbanded the team on the spot.  That was the end of that.  It was a very ugly incident.

Whether Yvonne's Pizza Rebellion and Joye's Same Sex Incident are linked, I will never know.  But the coincidence is unmistakable.  Three of the most alarming stories in studio history involved these two roommates.  The Harvest Moon Ball, Joye's Same Sex story, and finally the Pizza Rebellion occurred just six months apart. 

As for the Pizza Rebellion, a case could be made that Yvonne was still angry at Judy for roommate Joye's treatment in the Same Sex story.  The only thing I know for sure was that Judy didn't trust Yvonne.  Were residual hard feelings involved in the revolt?  I do not know.  This is all speculation.   I can only say that where there is smoke, there is often fire as well.

Or the explanation doesn't have to be that dark.  There might be a simpler, more benign explanation.  One thought that might clear up some of the mystery was the fact that Yvonne had attended several Swing Camps in her quest to become a serious dancer.  There were always more women at these camps than men.  Consequently it was very common for the best women dancers to dance "Lead" in order to balance classes.  For example, Judy Archer always danced lead at her Frankie Manning Swing Camps. 

Maybe Joye was getting ready to go to a Swing Camp.  It seems quite possible that Joye somehow assumed that if her roommate Yvonne had danced "Lead" at the Swing Camps, why shouldn't she be allowed to dance "Lead" at SSQQ? 

But surely Joye knew from the previous SSQQ classes she had taken that we expected boys to dance with girls.  That is the way it had been for twenty years! 

Joye was hardly a social barbarian. There are times in life when it is better to ask politely than to demand.   Why she didn't take a softer approach is a mystery I would love to have the answer to.  All she had to do was come to me first and tell me what she wanted to accomplish.  I am sure I would have tried to help.  Make her an assistant, for example.

But I will never know why she got so angry.  That part of the story makes no sense.  Joye had been so pleasant up to this point.  Why would she go ballistic over something like this?

Furthermore, why would Joye be so willing to impose her will on an unsuspecting woman twice her age without at least the common courtesy of an explanation?   Surely Joye had to see how uncomfortable the woman was. 

I realize the impartial reader will say, "Surely you know the real reason to explain this behavior?"  

I have told you all that I know.  And you have read my speculation.  Although I was not directly involved with the argument, in preparation this article back in 1999, I did carefully review the events with the Instructor and with Judy Archer.  My only direct involvement with this story was a letter I wrote in response to Ms. P's written complaint (which I will share in a moment).

I did not know Ms. P personally, but I had a very positive impression of her until this crazy event occurred.  I never did really understand why an issue that seemed on the surface to be so absurdly unimportant had to escalate into such an ugly incident.  And when I say "ugly", in my opinion, that is absolutely the correct word.

Whatever was driving this woman towards her public argument I do not know, but there is no doubt this incident shook Judy up tremendously.   She was in deep shock from this intense face-to-face confrontation for the remainder of the afternoon and days afterwards as well.  


Rick Archer's Note: Several days after the incident, Judy and I received this letter.

February 14, 1999

Dear Judy,

I apologize for forcing you to take a "just because…" stance regarding your prohibiting females from taking dance classes as "lead". There are a few more thoughts I want to express.

You said that the studio loses business because women are unhappy when they have to partner with another woman. Because no one pointed specifically to dancing with a woman-lead as their reason for not returning to SSQQ is not a reasonable assumption.

During the course of taking a group lesson, someone may have to be led by a poor dancer, a rough dancer, an old person, or an ugly person, or someone who smells; however this is not sufficient cause to prevent them from leading so why should one's gender be?

I have been a very regular customer at your studio. I have taken Acrobatics, Mambo, Lindy, I have participated in the Swing Extravaganza and many regular parties.

I have been a faithful supporter financially and feel that my request should be considered more seriously.

My partner and I go out dancing very frequently. We are almost always asked by people where we learned to dance. In the past we had always referred to SSQQ and said positive things about our experience there.

In the future, I will no longer recommend SSQQ to interested parties. In addition, I will share my latest experience and discourage them form attending the studio.

Your prohibiting me from taking the Swing dance class as a "lead" is a form of sexual discrimination.  

Because you have claimed to have had negative experiences in the past with individuals (i.e. women) you allowed to lead doesn't necessitate your creating this sexist rule prohibiting females from taking the dance of their choice (i.e. the lead role).

I feel that the stance you have taken is both unfair and based on spurious assumptions. This is my current opinion until I hear that the current policy of prohibiting females from taking a dance class as "lead" has changed.  Please contact me at that time.

Although I may not be a part of your Lindy Dance Team, I have been a positive asset to your studio both by regular attendance and by increasing awareness of the studio among new dancers and bolstering your reputation with the dance community.

I hope that we can resolve this issue and continue to have a mutually beneficial relationship.


Joye P

The letter above was addressed to my wife Judy.  After Judy showed me the letter, she said she didn't want to have any part of it.  

So it became my responsibility to respond to Joye's letter. 


February 15, 1999


I am sorry, but you are not going to win this one.  Rules are made for a reason.  Group classes mix large numbers of people together who all have individual needs.  Many couples, for example, would prefer not to switch partners. Many individuals would prefer the room be colder or hotter, less crowded, move faster, move slower.

After twenty years of hearing every concern imaginable, at some point we simply had to say, "If you wish to take a group class at SSQQ, this is the way it is going to be.  Take it or leave it."

In your case, you have chosen to cross a clearly drawn line in the sand.  We have confronted this issue several times in the past.  For every person in a group class who was in favor of same-sex dancing or did not care, we have had other people who opposed it.  After several incidents, we decided what would be fairest to the majority sentiment would be to forbid Same Sex Dancing among students in our Group classes.

The fact that there has been so little open dissatisfaction with this stance indicates to me we have accurately judged the prevailing public sentiment of the Houston community. Same Sex Dancing at SSQQ completely ceased to be an issue until you threw your tantrum in the middle of a dance class which embarrassed everyone.

Yes, we do bend the rules occasionally in special circumstances.  We allow teachers, assistants, and volunteers (who are basically "teachers in training") to dance Same Sex, but we also make a special point to identify the special status of these people ahead of time.  Even then, I assure you there are people of both sexes who may "go along with it", but clearly do not appear to be comfortable with the idea.

Having danced the woman's "follow" part myself once or twice a week in classes over the years, I am in an excellent position to say with certainty that while women for the most part do not mind Same Sex dancing, the majority of our men are very uncomfortable with it.  They usually accept it as a necessary evil if the class is terribly short of women.  But even then there are also men who refuse to dance with me anyway and I respect their wishes.

Although I grant you that women as a rule are more open-minded about same-sex dancing than men, I can also guarantee you there are some women in class who do not want to dance with women at all.  Have you considered their point of view?  When do they get to have a say in your unilateral decision to dance "lead"?

Furthermore, I find your use of the term "sexual discrimination" offensive.  I believe you owe us an apology.  You have attempted to violate well-established societal norms without regard for the other women in the class.  Then you have the nerve to claim you were discriminated against because we stood up for the other members of the class. Nor did you have the respect to ask our position on this controversial issue ahead of time. A simple request for permission would have been a pleasant courtesy.

We have refunded your tuition. We do not want your further patronage.

Rick Archer

Writing that letter wasn't easy.  For one thing, I had friends at the studio who were gay.  Let me add that they had always abided my rules.  I did not wish to offend them.  So I chose my words carefully. 

Now that I had put a lot of thought into the topic of 'Same Sex Dancing' at my studio, I decided publish one version of the story in my 'Same Sex' Rules section of my web site.  I also published another version of the story in my "Adventures of a Dance Teacher" series (you are currently reading the updated version of that article). 

I never received a reply to the letter I sent Joye.  Eventually I lost track of the two stories.  After all, it is a big web site.  

Out of sight, out of mind.  

Eight years passed.


This story developed an interesting Second Chapter in 2007. 

One day in August 2007, out of the blue I received an email from Ms. P.  She was writing to demand I remove her name from the Same Sex story I had written eight years earlier.

As you can see, she approached the issue with her usual strong style.

"When my name is googled, your web site is the first one that comes up.  I am asking you to take my name out of your web site.  I do not authorize you to use my name!"

I had no idea what she was talking about.  Back when I originally posted this story back in 1999, I had never heard of Google.  I used people's complete names all the time and never had any complaints.  I certainly never posted the story with the intention of harming Joye's reputation.  I posted the story for the simple reason that it supported my position that most people would rather dance with the opposite sex.  By sharing the story on the web site, perhaps I could avert future confrontations on this awkward issue.

Then along came Google. 

I decided I should see what she was talking about.  I entered her complete name into Google.  Just as she said, the SSQQ Same Sex story popped up as the absolute first item on the page. 

I could see her point.  Thanks to Google's powerful search engine, it seems that Ms. P's name appeared on Google as the First Item on the First Page whenever anyone typed her name in.  

I scanned the rest of the page.  A quick glance of Google revealed a list of very impressive credentials and accomplishments.  It was now Dr. Joye, not Ms. Joye.  I discovered Joye was now working on a Congresswoman's staff in Washington DC.  There were speaking credits everywhere.  Ms. P's career was obviously skyrocketing.

This Same Sex story had to be highly embarrassing.  Despite all those academic and professional accomplishments, this absurd story appeared before every other item.  It served as a nasty stain on an otherwise exemplary record.   How absurd! 

Joye had to feel attacked.  Here she had worked all her life to attain a doctorate in Health Administration and obtain a prestigious position in the government, but a ridiculous story about a tantrum involving Same Sex dancing was the first thing anyone would ever see if they wanted to learn more about her.  

I suppose Joye died a thousand deaths at the thought that every time some Washington insider googled her name, this ridiculous story popped up first and foremost.  I suppose it can't be easy to climb the career ladder in Washington with a story like this attached to your cyberspace resume.  It must have been fun explaining the Same Sex incident each time she applied for a new job.

I shook my head.  I didn't blame her one bit for wanting this incident erased from the Internet.  I certainly wouldn't want it chasing me around if the tables were turned.

But at the same time I didn't appreciate the tone of her letter.  No one likes to be ordered around, especially after the way she behaved at my studio.  So I ignored her email for a while.  After thinking about it, a couple weeks later I took pity.  Who on earth wants a story like that following you around for the rest of your life?  It was time to show a little mercy.

So I voluntarily removed Joye's last name from the article she objected to.  I figured that was the end of that.

By coincidence, Joye's request came at a time when I was already fascinated by the role that Google played in shaping people's public reputation.  I had recently read a profound article by Pulitzer columnist Thomas Friedman that dealt specifically with the need to watch how we behave in public lest some ridiculous story like Joye's show up in cyberspace to haunt us for the rest of our lives.

Mr. Friedman's article stated, "
When everyone is publisher, paparazzo or filmmaker, everyone else becomes a potential public figure. We must get accustomed to the thought that we are all public figures now."

Another quote from Friedman's article also caught my eye.

"Seidman writes:  "For young people, this means understanding that your reputation in life is going to get set in stone so much earlier. More and more of what you say or do or write will end up as a digital fingerprint that never gets erased. My generation got to screw up and none of those screw-ups appeared on our first job resumes, which we got to write. For the current young generation, much of what they say, do or write will be persevered on-line forever. The moment employers finish reading an attractive resume, they will Google the person next."

"The persistence of memory in electronic form makes second chances harder to come by," writes Seidman. "In the Information age, life has no chapters or closets; you can leave nothing behind and you have nowhere to hide your skeletons.  Your past is your present."

Gee, I thought to myself, did Thomas Friedman ever meet Joye?

After sanitizing Joye's name in "Same Sex" article that she had objected to, I proceeded to write an article about Google in my Reputation Essays

Not surprisingly, I briefly reviewed Joye's case in an article titled Google and Reputation.  

At least this time I left out her last name. 


I never received any sort of 'thank you' for removing her name back in August 2007, an oversight I did not appreciate considering I had voluntarily done her a serious favor under the circumstances. 

Eight months after the first contact, Joye contacted me again in March 2008 .  This time she had uncovered yet a second article on the SSQQ web site bearing her full name.   Apparently the first article listed on Google had masked the hidden presence of a second article.  Once I removed Joye's last name, this hidden article immediately moved into Google's Top Slot.

I was just as surprised as Joye was.  I had no idea the article (the original version of the one you are reading right now) was even present on the web site.  After all, it was an article I had written nine years BG (Before Google).  I had completely forgotten about it.  

This time Joye demanded I take down both her name AND her picture.  I was not authorized to use either! 

Now I was angry. 

Joye had pushed my staff around in 1999.
Joye had ordered me to remove her name in 2007. 
Joye had not bothered to thank me for removing her name in 2007.
Now she was ordering me again to remove her name in 2008. 

Asking me nicely is one thing, but I was getting sick and tired of being ordered to do something by a woman who was in no position to order me to do anything.

I took the time to consult a lawyer.  The lawyer said that since it was an issue related to my business, I had every right to publish the story as long as I did not tell a lie or slander her.  As long as I made it clear these were strictly my opinions, I was in the clear.

Bolstered by that argument, I left the second story intact on my web site.  I figured I would hear from her again.

I was right.


Two months later I received a different kind of letter.  It was now May 2008.  The letter was written on behalf of Ms. Joye by a friend of hers.  Joye either could not bring herself to write a nice letter or be bothered with the effort, but she was able to persuade someone else to write one instead.

Dear SSQQ Dance Studio,

I am writing with regards to a story written about my friend on your  website.  I am  obviously newer to this story than you are, and I don’t doubt things  may have been handled poorly (or idealistically) by a then 25 year old Ms. P.

It appears to me that a letter was written to your dance studio by  Ms. P without the intention of being published on the internet.   It is now available for the world to see, and your story is the very first result that Google returns when searching on her name.  I am  under the impression that she has requested that you removed the  article or simply change the name to a fictitious one.

I can understand a desire to “make her pay” for the troubles she may  have caused your studio, but it was done 9 years ago, and she was still a student.  I remember the way I behaved when I was a student,  and I wouldn’t want all my mistakes shared with the world, as I  imagine you wouldn’t either.  I doubt this would be a concern of  hers, if it weren’t for her career in Washington and the high ranking of your story on Google’s results.

I sincerely hope that SSQQ Dance Studio can find it in their heart,  to say that she has suffered enough for the problems she caused nine  years ago.  I can understand wanting to keep the story posted, but if  you could use a fictitious name or at the very least remove  references to her first name, it would likely reduce the prominence  of the story in her Google search results.

I very much appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely, RS

"Dear SSQQ Dance Studio" - Now that's a change! 

I thought the gentleman wrote a pleasant letter.  It went a long way towards softening my anger at the scene that Joye had caused nine years earlier.  Too bad Joye didn't write the letter herself.  I might have forgiven her.

Ignoring my irritation with Ms. P, I appreciated the gentleman's approach.  Enough was enough.  It was time to remove the shackles of Google so this woman's Wonderful Washington Career could proceed forward. 

So at this point, I voluntarily removed the woman's last name for the second time. 

I assumed from here on Google would release its tentacles and Joye would have her cyber-record cleared of this youthful indiscretion.   Now, on with her brilliant climb in Washington!

As I put the finishing touches on the name removal project for the second time, I couldn't help but read Joye's story again.  I realized it was nine years later, but I still could not figure out why Joye was so adamant about dancing the boy's part.  That ancient consternation came rushing back in when I realized all those nagging questions still bugged me - Why did Joye choose to dance the boy's part without asking first?  Why did Joye argue so long and so forcefully when we said 'NO'?   None of this made a bit of sense!

I shook my head in frustration.  I realized I was no better at guessing the true reasons for her behavior nine years later than I was back in 1999.    I see nothing plain; all is mystery.



Do you ever wonder if the Cosmos enjoys having fun at our expense? 

Believe it or not, one month after Mr. RS persuaded me to remove Joye's last name from the second article, I received a second letter from Mr. RS.

He was writing to say they had discovered a new page dating back to 2005. 
Would I mind removing Joye's name from the third page as well?

You have got to be kidding!  I immediately googled the woman's name.  Sure enough, this time yet a third ssqq page popped up with Joye's complete name on it.  Apparently this third page had been masked by the second page.

Here we go again!

At this point, I imagine that Joye wanted to kill someone.  Probably me, but maybe Google too.

-----Original Message-----
From: RS
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2008 11:25 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: An Appeal

Dear Mr. Archer,

Thank you very much for abbreviating Ms. P's last name on the page I wrote to you previously about.

Unfortunately I've now discovered her full name on another page located on your web site.

I apologize for not catching this previously, as I know you're busy and it would have been more convenient to make all the changes at once.

While I know this is a low priority for you, I hope you can find time at your convenience to make similar changes to this other page. I've done a site specific google search which if accurate, shows that there are no other pages that contain her name.

Again, I thank you for your effort in changing the first page, then the second page, and hope you can do the same thing once more on this other page.

This entire fiasco had to be a nightmare of Cosmic Proportions to her.  Joye just couldn't shake this story.  Like a bad nightmare it followed her everywhere she went.    

It seemed likely that any time Ms P was asked to deliver a speech at a Health Forum, surely someone would research her name to get a brief bio for the conference brochure.  What simpler place to look than Google?  Imagine the reaction when the Same Sex story came up first.  Either she got teased or worse.  There are people in Washington who might not see the humor in a strange story like this.

Somewhere someplace Ms. Joye had to be screaming!   This damn story had been tailing her for NINE YEARS and it would not die!! 

I honestly did not mind removing her name permanently.  But now that this story was flashing before my eyes for the third time in less than a year, my curiosity had been renewed.  Maybe this was my chance to finally get some closure.

Before I said a permanent goodbye to Ms. Joye, wouldn't it be nice to at least know what was going on in her mind during that fateful day of yesteryear? 

This woman was so talented that she had attained a high position in our government.  Joye could rightly claim to be one of the Elite, the Best of the Best.  And yet for one moment in her life, an intelligent woman who was used to being in total control of her life seemingly lost her mind over the most absurd issue anyone could conjure up!

Any casual reader would wonder why this woman would want to dance with another woman in the first place.  And why would she waste her time insisting she needed no permission to dance with a woman who clearly never wanted to dance with her?  And when she was told this was not permitted, why would she throw a fit?   Why not just say, "Ok, sorry, I was confused about the rules" and be done with it? 

Was the chance to dance with other women who didn't particularly want to dance with her really worth fighting about?  Why was this so important to her?   In other words....

What on earth
was this woman thinking? 

Look at it another way.  The studio has been open for thirty plus years with an average attendance of at least a thousand people a month.  That means roughly 400,000 people have taken dance classes here over the years.  In all that time and all those people, only one person has ever demanded to dance with a Same Sex partner.  One person in 400,000.

That makes Joye rather unique, wouldn't you agree?  

I wondered if Joye would be willing to make a trade... if Joye would explain what was going through her mind that fateful day, I would gladly remove her name.  I could not care less about an apology, just help me finish the story.  Give me some closure. 

 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 2:04 PM
To: RS
Subject: RE: An Appeal

At this point I have now gone to the web site to methodically erase all mention of Ms P's name on two previous occasions.

Each time I have responded, another version has popped up in Google.  Now apparently this has happened yet again.

You might be curious why this story pops up time and time again on my web site.

Just so you understand, in my opinion, what Ms P did and what Ms P wrote was so totally out of line that I will never forget that incident as long as I live.  During my thirty year career, no one before or since has had the nerve to sign up for a dance class and insist they be allowed to dance the same sex role.

No one but her.  She stands alone.  Everyone else asks first.  Everyone else respects our wishes when we say 'no'.  Nor does anyone argue with us for twenty minutes over her right to dance with the woman of her choice... a woman, incidentally, who is a complete stranger to her.

Since questions about 'same sex' dancing arise several times a year, I always refer back to this incident as a way to clarify this issue.

Nine years ago when Ms. P created her stir in dance class, she did not ask permission. She simply assumed that no woman in the dance class would mind dancing with her.

When we had the nerve to tell Ms. P that her behavior was unacceptable, she wrote a very sharp letter claiming she had been discriminated against.  Why was she unable to grasp the logic that she herself was discriminating against a woman who wanted no part of her?

Since Ms. P is clearly a very intelligent, highly capable woman, I have always been mystified to know the reasons behind her actions. 

Mr. S, I am willing to permanently remove Ms P's name from the final location on my web site in return for this favor:

I would like to know what Ms. P thinks about that incident today.

I don't care if she apologizes, agrees with me, hates my guts or what.  I would simply like for her to candidly answer the following questions:

1)  Ms. P, Why was it so important for you to dance the "Lead" part in a group class to begin with?  What prompted you to even want to do this in the first place?

2)  Why did you assume that no would object?  There are social norms.  When people violate social norms, they take the chance of offending other people.  Why did you assume it was okay to dance with women who had no idea who you were or what your motives were?

3)  Why did you feel so strongly that you were discriminated against at that time?

4)  Last question: Do you still feel today that we discriminated against you?  If so, why?

I repeat that I am not asking for an apology.  I am asking only for a detailed explanation of what was going through Ms P's mind.

When I receive what I perceive to be an honest answer to the questions I have posed above in an email sent directly by Ms P, I promise to instantly and permanently remove her last name from any place we can find this name on my website.  It will never be a problem again.

You have my word on this matter.  (Rick Archer's side note:  As of 06/20/08, I promise again that this offer is sincere)

However, the answers must show 'thought'.  A perfunctory response will not be accepted.

Mr. S, please relay this email to Ms P.  As one gentleman to another, I ask that you or anyone else refrain from answering these questions for Ms. P.  I suppose you could lie to me and I would never know, but I take you for an honorable man.

I would simply like to know what she was thinking.


 -----Original Message-----
From: RS
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:09 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: An Appeal

Dear Mr. Archer,

I have relayed the email to her as you requested. If you receive a response from her, it will be from her.

I think you will find her motives were benign, despite the trouble it created. I think you will find it may have been rooted in idealism, which is plentiful at a young age.  I could be wrong.  I only know the woman of today, not of nine years ago.

I expect you to honor your word if she replies thoughtfully to your questions.

Thank you,  RS


So this is where the story stands.  All Dr. P has to do to permanently remove this story from her past is share what was going through her mind at the time.   And the nightmare will disappear.  I will remove her name from Page 3.  Poof!  It is gone.

Just for a second, put yourself in Dr. P's shoes.  This stupid story has been following her around for nine years.  It has served as a constant source of embarrassment.  Wouldn't you want to get rid of it? 

On June 10, 2008, I promised to remove her name from this offensive story permanently for all time.  And I meant it.  All she had to do was tell her side of the story.  And why wouldn't Dr. P want to speak up?  Surely her explanation would help clear up any lingering doubts as to what really happened that day.

As I write, it is now July 4, 2008.  Twenty-five days have passed since I made the offer. Would it take you 25 days to respond?  

If it were me, I would have written the letter about ten minutes after receiving the offer.  But Dr. Joye operates by different rules than I do.  I have openly admitted that Dr. P has always been something of a riddle to me. 

Will Ms. P ever write the letter?   Is it important enough for her to get rid of the Google Monster once and for all?  Or is there another development on the way?

July 4, 2008 - years have pass still counting.
To be continued... maybe.

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