Advice 2
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Men Lead, Women Follow. Now what Genius thought this up?

It is a Cosmic Absurdity that Man who is genetically inferior at dancing to Woman has the greater responsibility in any dance partnership. Although certainly there are exceptions, I agree with all the stereotypes : Women have more natural rhythm. Women feel music better. Women are more in touch with their bodies. Women like to dance more. In fact women like to dance so much some women will even take a dance class just to learn to dance ! Imagine that.

Men on the other hand will only take a dance class as a way to meet women or to make a particular woman happy. This is all very mixed up. If I had to do it all over again, I would recommend that women lead.

When it comes to rhythm, most of the Beginner men I know think dancing to the beat means dancing with a woman at the same time a song is playing. Men are so worried about their feet they never hear a thing. And most Beginner men I know wonder why the move doesn’t work even if they move their feet correctly.  Leading is not something that men do naturally.  The vast majority of men must be shown how to lead.   Nothing in Dance comes easy for men.

Learning to Lead most often is tedious trial and error. Men feel clumsy, mechanical, and awkward. As they attempt to learn something that is basically foreign to them, self-loathing and the desire to be elsewhere are powerful incentives to quit. It is only the dream of making some woman happy someday that sustains men through the Ordeal of Dance.

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If I can do it, so can You!

I believe someone should make me the Poster Boy for all aspiring men who are learning to dance. As I walk by, I constantly see men pointing at me. I am certain that behind my back they must be whispering to each other, "Geez, if Rick can do it, I know I can !"  My existence should be considered an Inspiration to all men who struggle at dance. I have proven beyond a doubt that any man can learn to dance if he tries hard enough.

As I have already indicated, my "How to Meet Girls"-inspired self-improvement project turned my life around. I must warn you however it was not easy. I might add in the following story everything I say is the absolute truth.

In the summer of 1974 I began my first Freestyle dance class. Learning to Freestyle was difficult for me. I was an extremely slow learner. I was so bad that sometimes when I brought my feet together, I wasn’t sure which foot I was supposed to move next. In twenty years of teaching, I have met only a handful of men who I thought started with less skill than I did. Dancing did not come naturally to me. Whatever I learned I had to analyze over and over. My feet refused to move without a conscious command.

Much of my trouble was related to my intense fear of looking foolish in front of a woman. I was so self-conscious that I was forced to practice my Freestyle dancing completely in private. Right after my first dance class, on my way home I stopped to buy 15 mirror tiles to put on the wall. I would practice my dancing for at least 10 minutes or so nearly every night alone in my apartment. I did not date. To be honest, I was still recovering from my graduate school debacle. I was shy and quite lonely, but nevertheless bound and determined to see this project through.

I took lessons for 6 months before I had the courage to Freestyle in public. Even then I didn’t have the nerve to do the asking. I was at a party, there were 10 women and half that many guys, a song came on, and a lady came over and literally pulled me off the couch. I was so nervous I did only one step for the entire 4 minute song ("Get Down Tonight" by KC and the Sunshine Band).

Immediately after that the girls tried to teach me the Four Corners. It was too hard for me so in disgust I sat back down. (FYI : The Four Corners is considered the easiest line dance in history). I was absolutely petrified that a woman would frown at me or look the other way in disgust. Without a doubt this was a tough period in my life.

A couple years later on in 1977 I took Whip lessons for half a year, but not one time did I actually go out and practice. Think about how ridiculous this is. Six months of lessons and not once did I ever use the dance outside of class time. Unlike you guys, I didn’t have an SSQQ.  If I wanted to dance with a lady, I had to either ask someone out for a date  (no way, Jose) or go to a club and ask someone to dance   (fat chance, Sundance).

You see, I was stuck in a classic dilemma:

I didn’t want to ask a woman to dance until I was very good. I never got very good because I never asked a woman to dance. As you might guess, my progress was very very slow. I believe glaciers cover ground faster than I did.


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For Men, Excellence at Dance is  the result of hard work and patience

Fortunately I began to enjoy my dance classes. I sensed eventually it would help me with my social life, so I always stayed with it. I was doggedly persistent at becoming first a good dancer, then later an excellent one. The moment one course ended I signed up to repeat it or I took another class elsewhere. Every week for 4 years (1974-78) I was in at least one dance class, often two.

Even after I had started my career as a dance instructor I took two private dance lessons a week to improve my partner dancing. I took these lessons for 5 years (1978-1983). The math is easy : 2 lessons a week times $30 an hour times 50 weeks a year times 5 years = an investment of over $15,000. I was serious.

The final stage in my journey came in 1986, 12 years after I had started. Due to a set of unusual circumstances, I decided I was tired of being an average Whip dancer. On a "mission" to become better, I made a point of going Whip dancing every night of the week for 201 straight days.

I practiced Whip until every move became second nature. My leads were honed to split-second timing, my feet no longer required permission to move, and I locked a huge repertoire of Whip patterns into my muscle memory. I was not the best Whip dancer in Houston, but the line in front of me had grown much shorter.

By the time I finished, I can assure you I had finally become a very good dancer. I might add this was the year when my fear of women pretty much disappeared for the rest of my life. My confidence had grown in direct relationship to my dancing. Believe it or not, dancing had even helped me become a healthier human being.


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Men who do become good dancers have an enormous social advantage

Achievement at Dance is not an accident, it is the result of repetition, persistence, and practice. Of course some natural ability helps, but like the proverbial hare versus the tortoise, I'll put my money on the person who "wants it" over someone to whom it comes easy.

I might add that since so few men take the time to become excellent dancers, those who do have the patience to succeed develop an enormous social advantage over all other men. The advantage is so great that it almost seems unfair until you consider all the hard work these men put in behind the scenes.

I might add it won’t take anyone 12 years either. If I had learned at a place like my own dance studio, I would have been good in a year or less. Why do you think I stress Practice Night so hard ?

What a Man can expect from Dancing and what he can’t

I am fortunate that I was able to turn a hobby into a career. One of the lessons I learned is that dancing brings men into contact with women in a very graceful, unforced way. Dance classes and Practice Night allow both sides to get to know one another over a period of time. When you meet a woman at a bar, the awkwardness of creating a conversation with someone you barely know is ridiculously uncomfortable. You barely have an idea who this person is, yet here you are struggling to make small talk. Add to this the pressure to ask for her phone number or perhaps never see her again. It is a small wonder that people hate bars.

Here at SSQQ, as you take a class, you can get to know every woman in the class over a period of time. If you feel a rapport growing with one particular lady, more than likely the lady feels the same way. Now when you ask her out, in some ways it is like asking a friend to spend time with you as opposed to a total stranger. Over the years I've seen countless friendships develop here at the studio, many romances, and an impressive number of marriages as well. Dancing is a powerful tool when used properly.

However Dancing has its limits too. In order for dancing to be an effective way to meet women, you must use some common sense. It is not enough to be the fanciest dancer on the floor. Nor will countless moves and attention-grabbing dance routines win the girl‘s heart. You will only catch her eye. If you expect to get further than that, then ultimately you must be a nice guy too. Women will notice you for your expertise, but if you are considerate they may like you too.

On Page Three of Advice to Men, we begin to explore the 10 Do's and Don'ts of Social Dancing.
Click here to continue !

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