I’m running this article on the blog because it’s counter to my philosophy. As someone who never mastered the art of dancing, I avoid the dance floor like vampires avoid sunlight. I’ve always believed dancing is great for guys who can dance. Many times I have been dragged onto the dance floor anyway, and it hasn’t been pretty. And it’s not for lack of trying. If you ever catch me out with my computer, ask me to show you the video of us guys at Project Hollywood taking dance lessons in the living room. It’s hopeless. That said, maybe I should have taken James Joseph’s advice below earlier in life. So let me know what you think of his argument. —Neil
Why do women give men—strangers—permission on the dance floor to flirt, touch, embrace, sway and sweat together? If you did that in any other venue, you’d be slapped, thrown out or arrested. Why do women like men who dance?
There’s that old yarn…something about the way you behave and perform on the dance floor equals the way you do it in bed. Is that it? Is it a way to test and screen us? Or maybe they don’t want to be embarrassed when they take us to a wedding reception or a New Year’s Eve party. Or perhaps they just like to salsa and swing dance, like we enjoy baseball, and they’re tired of begging us to dance.
It’s all of the above and a bit more. Let’s look at the female psyche and see what’s up:
1) Partner dancing is a skill. Any skill, in the eyes of a woman, is better than no skill. It demonstrates higher value (DHV). You may say dance is a useless skill. It is, except if you’re at a dance. Or dating a woman who likes to dance. Or are about to get married. Then it’s a time-tested arrow in the quiver of mating and social rituals. Besides, it’s like being a wine aficionado. Only a man with money, culture and a life of leisure has the time to learn a useless skill.
2) Dance vets a man as social, sophisticated and presentable. How are you in a group? How are you at events? Observing you at a dance will reveal to her who you are as a social being. Discomfort, insecurity and creepy behavior will be easy to spot. If you can dance, you’re a fish in water and your confidence will be obvious. She knows you’re attuned to etiquette and you’re practiced in the traditional arts of how to treat a lady. She likes that you fit in and that she can take you to social events. You’re a better trophy on her arm than the man who can’t dance.
3) Dance tells you a lot about a guy. You’ll know more about a person after three minutes of dancing compared to three minutes of conversation. (You’ll both learn stuff, but women learn quicker.) And just the notion that a guy is a dancer suggests some things, whether they’re true or not. You’re probably a good sport and don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re probably fun, maybe free-spirited. You’re probably better groomed and in better shape than if you were not a dancer. You may be more willing to open up or emote nonverbally. You might have an artistic or passionate side. You know how to partner and connect. You move your body better, more rhythmically, than if you were not a dancer. It doesn’t guarantee you’re better in bed but, if you’ve got the moves, it suggests that you are.
4) Dance brings out the macho in a guy. I don’t care what you think, she thinks dance is manly. Partner dancing is macho by default. It’s machismo by permission: by custom, she lets you be in charge. You’re the leader, she’s the follower, no questions asked. This is your area to shine. You’re the initiator. You’re perceived as competent, confident, aggressive, athletic, a risk-taker and a guy who can think on his feet. She wants to be taken on a three-minute adventure. A waltz or a rumba with anybody won’t do; she wants to be held and led by a man. But she wants to be respected, which only a man with character can do. She wonders if you’ll flirt with her, even if it’s just smiling and making good eye contact, which will validate her and make her feel good. Like a woman.
5) Dance fuels a Cinderella fantasy. Culturally, many girls have been reared on the image of a princess ballroom dancing with Prince Charming and living happily ever after. That notion is a trigger for joy and how life is supposed to play out, at least in their imaginations. Dance, both historically and mythologically, is part of a proper courtship. Dance can lead to, literally, being swept off your feet, which is idiomatic with falling in love. She’s dying to tell her friends she met you on the dance floor—not at a bar.
6) Dance is safe sex. Dance gives women permission to get up close, physical and personal with a stranger, without commitment. It allows her to flirt without consequences (flirting, part of dance styling, is expected). The rhythmic syncing of bodies is enjoyable—it’s the goal—whether on the dance floor or in bed. Partnering, body contact, heavy breathing (either from fear, excitement, cardio or sexual arousal), a little sweat, bonding—sheesh, it’s damn sexy. In the right hands, it’s foreplay. Or, as another old yarn goes…it’s a vertical expression of a horizontal thought.
7) Dance puts her on a pedestal. Ahem, many women like attention. She’s going to the dance hoping for recognition. She knows she needs to sell herself and she dresses for the part. On the dance floor she’s in the spotlight with an audience on the sidelines. A guy who dances knows how to play the game and will give her attention. A good leader will adhere to the common rule: she’s the picture, he’s the frame. So you will let her “shine.” Courtesy and etiquette will get her a polite compliment from you, whether it’s genuine or not. If the dance goes well, it makes her look good, she lights up and she feels beautiful. To those on the sidelines, she looks like fun. And everybody in the joint wants to dance with her.
8) Dance is fun. Many people enjoy social dancing and it’s not a stretch to see that women like it more than men. Partner dancing plays to a woman’s strength: it’s emotional, artistic and collaborative. Sports are competitive, samba is a partnership. Hiking together is fun too, but it’s not much of a collaboration. In tennis you compete, in tango you bond. She wants a willing partner; begging you to dance is a drag (and whining about your dislike of dance is unattractive). Any activity you do that she enjoys, especially one that requires not just a partner but a partnership, is a plus.
It comes down to this: we’re all programed to mate and try to live happily ever after. Dancing is the shortest distance to that end. Ritual, etiquette and permission, plus a roomful of eyewitnesses, allow us to engage in this kind of embracing and debauchery with a stranger. But seriously, dance is a great set up for guys too and you should appreciate the opportunity to dance with a woman.
If you dance well or dance better than most—which isn’t hard because most guys suck at it—you’ve got an edge. But even if you can’t dance, you can still connect with a lady on the dance floor. Come on, ask her to dance. All you need is an attitude adjustment. And some alpha-balls.