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
doesnt 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.
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
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 wasnt 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 didnt 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
didnt 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 didnt 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.
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.
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 wont 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 cant
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 girls
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 !