Tango Argentino > Come as couple - but lady gets no dances

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by aaah, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Juniper Ivy

    Juniper Ivy Member

    IMO it doesn't have to be awkward. I have several male dancer friends who are very good and I do not expect to dance with them everytime I see them. Though he always says hello to me very warmly and we chat together. I do not expect socializing to lead to an invitation to dance. Sometimes we dance but often not. I respect the person's wishes. It is a complicated situation but a dance relationship is like any relationship in life. All relationships are complicated and call for subtle perceptions and a respect for the other person. I do not feel offended if a man talks to me and then dances with someone else. I appreciate the relationship we do have, even if it is just talking. And I certainly wouldn't want to make a man feel that by greeting him I am actually trying to pressure a dance invitation from him. That would be an awful way to make someone feel. If a lady has gone this far she might as well just directly ask the man to dance. At least it would be an open and honest interaction.
    Steve Pastor and Mladenac like this.
  2. Juniper Ivy

    Juniper Ivy Member

    However if Zoopsie is speaking from the lady's perspective it can be awkward. Because it would put her potentially in the position of turning down invitations. Totally different perspective.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's what I meant. Although I know that leaders have mentioned that they are uncomfortable chatting with a follower they dont' want to dance with when they know she is hoping he will ask.
  4. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    If you think me in the leader position and then in the follower position - What are the differences in perspective/ situation?
    (I danced 5 years as a follower before I started to lead)
  5. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    AT is good place to practice rejections i.e. giving and taking.
    Over time people should get more comfortable and don't take it personally so much.

    I admire sales people who mastered that skill.

    AT is not only about dancing, there are more skills we learn in it. ;)
  6. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I cannot agree more. We certainly learn to be more patient, humble, and respectful of others' boundaries.
  7. Juniper Ivy

    Juniper Ivy Member

    I just don't like the thought of people being reluctant to chat at a milonga because of an unspoken "dance with me" pressure. It seems like a loss. Because it is fun to get to know people through tango. Even off the dance floor.
    Mladenac likes this.
  8. Juniper Ivy

    Juniper Ivy Member

    The difference I was thinking of is that usually it is the leader who asks the follower to dance. Using cabaceo or directly asking. And declining an invitation seems more awkward to me than not inviting someone to dance. The leader is more in control of the situation. But what is your perspective?
  9. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I think that is a perception that is mistaken.

    As a leader, I can have been intending to invite someone to dance, and may be looking intently at them at the appropriate time, but unless she returns my glance and we agree to dance, then the invitation has not been communicated (or possibly has been noticed but is being ignored). She may well have been looking just as intently at her first choice of partner, but if our glances around fix on each other, and we exchange the usual signals, then we have each chosen to dance with the other: I see nothing in it but gender neutrality.

    Obviously, if direct invitations are being made (either by the man or the woman) the dynamic is different; but in my local experience, it is far more likely to be the woman issuing the direct invitation, rather than the man. I always accept, unless I really don't want to dance, but I much prefer to use mirada/cabeceo, and generally, I do not seek dances with anyone by any other means.
    Mladenac likes this.
  10. Juniper Ivy

    Juniper Ivy Member

    That does make sense. I was thinking of a situation where the man and woman are chatting and the man asks for a dance. Since they are chatting already mirada and cabaceo would probably not be happening, so I was assuming the man would directly ask and then the woman would be on the spot to answer.

    But I agree if you use cabaceo then there is less awkwardness and it is more egalitarian. Also if in your area the women ask for dances as much as men do, then also it is more equal. And there would not be that difference in perspective between men and women.
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    The "local codes" can be very different at various places/milongas. At some places I go to, a lot of women are quite comfortable with walking up to a man and (verbally) asking him to dance. At other places it is more rare (but still might happen).

    To me, if I initiate a cabeceo, I'm asking her to dance, and if she ignores it / looks away, she said no. I react exactly the same in that scenario as I would if I had verbally asked her to dance and she said no. In either case, she didn't want to dance with me, (at least not then).

    I actually had a nice (verbal) rejection this past weekend, where I approached a woman, and she told me she was trying to cabeceo someone who was across the room, but she'd come by later. I asked someone else, and while dancing, I saw her out there with a really good leader, so I figured she got her man. Later she came by to see if I still wanted to dance, and we chatted, and she said she didn't get who she really wanted, and the other guy was her choice "B".


    To me the one thing that concerns me (just a little) when a woman cabeceos me (and I don't respond), she knows I didn't want to dance with her (at least not then), but I don't have the opportunity to explain why. One time a woman (someone I like dancing with) came up to me to ask for a dance, and I told her I was sweating and trying to dry off a bit. She replied, "I don't care, you have clean sweat". So we had our tanda.

  12. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    A lady wanted to chat with me on practica and she got bland response.
    For a long time she would give me an evil eye when passing by.
    I was feeling kind of scared. :eek:

    We danced eventually and had a normal chat. :)
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Assuming she saw it. How do people tell when someone is deliberately ignoring the cabeceo vs being oblivious to it?

    That is the downfall of the cabeceo/mirada system. Of course, it also assumes that the reason has nothing to do with the other person's dancing. When it IS about the other person's dancing, being put in the situation of feeling pressured to give an explanation is more awkward than not having a chance to give one.

    My pet peeve is the way any rejection turns into a permanent "grudge" against the person who rejected you (not YOU DChester, but "you" as a generic term). I have heard leaders (and some on this forum) express the sentiment that if a follower rejects their invitation (however issued) they won't ever ask her again.

    One of the purposes of the cabeceo/mirada system is that choices are made on a number of factors and that "no" does not mean "never". IMO, proponents of cabeceo shouldn't have the attitude that they will never ask a follower again once she has rejected his non-verbal invitation. (and vice versa). If you accept the entirety of the cabeceo/mirada system, you have to accept that it means "not now", and does not preclude the possibility that "later" might be desired.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  14. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    LOL maybe she had read on some forum that chatting was a nice way to break the ice and get a dance invitation. :)
  15. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Exactly. And also, the idea is: I care about you. I value your feelings and respect your decision, no question asked, and no explanation necessary.
  16. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    There are some psychological aspect of being a beginner in tango.
    Some people have too much energy, and intermediate/advance dancers feel distressed.

    I know about some other persons, that had too much energy and others didn't feel well by them.

    Over time in tango my approach change to be more in the moment, in emotional way.
    And I believe that me being a long time dancer improved not by quality of movements or musicality but in my energy to myself and others.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  17. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I agree, although I would not call it "energy". Energy is self sufficient, and attractive to others .
    I would say, it may be anxiety, and a bit of the imbalance between being enthusiastic/proactive and being imposing. It is quite normal. As you pointed out, it is a learned thing, and a process.
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    It really comes down to whether they were ever looking at you (or not). If I look to a woman, and I never saw her looking my way, she didn't reject me. If she was looking at me, and then looks away, she said no.

    I was taught way back when, that no means no. No explanation is required. However, without knowing why, all I can do is guess, (my dancing sucks, I'm too old, I'm too fat, I sweat too much, who knows). The bottom line is, the only thing I really know is she didn't want to dance with me.

    This is not an easy one to address, as different people have different feelings on the topic.

    1: It might not be a grudge that keeps someone from asking again.

    When I'm rejected, I conclude she doesn't want to dance with me, and thus, simply do not want to waste time asking again. I like to wait until I hear the music playing before I ask someone, so things need to happen quickly, and I don't want to waste time.

    Another possibility is that the leader who was rejected, simply doesn't wish to be a pest.

    In these situations, the effect is pretty much as you describe, but the cause is different.

    2: It's accepted that women can reject men for whatever reason they choose, and men simply have to deal with it.

    However, some feel that men should be required to ask all women (even after being turned down). This is inconsistent, and not all guys buy it. Some guys feel free to only ask the women they wish to dance with, for whatever reason they see fit, just like some women do.

    Life is not fair, and no one is obligated to dance with anyone else (even though it might just be better overall if everyone made an honest attempt to dance with more people).

    3: FWIW, I might (but not always) remember who rejected me that night, but usually by the next milonga, I won't remember who it was, unless the rejection was done in a way that made it memorable. This might get more into the grudge territory (the rejection was memorable).

    Now different people will have different answers on this, but things that might make a situation memorable, (and these things have all happened to me, (mostly years back)) are:
    - Giving a look of disgust when you tell the leader no.
    - Practically give themselves whiplash in their haste to look down or away.
    - Making a big smile (like maybe you're trying to keep from laughing at them) when you say no.
    - Says she tired, needs a break, etc., but then you see her out on the floor in that same song with someone else.
    - Was in a class, and when the teacher said "switch partners", the person who should have been your next follower walked past (snubbed) you, to who knows where (clearly unwilling to even try it with you).
    - Was in a class and the follower is rudely criticizing you, and then calls the teacher over, who then says she's doing it wrong and corrects her. Then when the teacher leaves, she's still making excuses for why it was my fault and not her's.

    My advice, if you don't want to dance with the person at this moment, but might later on, you may need to use a little more care than the examples listed above. Now if you never want to dance with this person ever, probably any of the above should do the trick.

    I don't think there's general agreement on the entirety of the mirada / cabeceo system as you described it. To me, it's purpose is to enable one to ask for a dance without having to walk up to them (and nothing more). It's really useful when the person is a distance away. Otherwise, it's meh, to me.

    I'll let the fanatics go on about how great the cabeceo is (or isn't). I try to just to go by the "local codes" at a given milonga, as either system can work, and either system can fail, (like when the woman was nodding to the person in front of you, and you don't figure it out until you almost get to her).

    I will say this, if you're at a milonga where women are walking up to men to ask them for dances, you're at a big disadvantage if you choose not to do the same.
    Mladenac likes this.
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    ^ All good thoughts DC and worth pondering.

    I did put "grudge" in quotes because it was rather a strong word for what I meant, but I couldn't think of a better one.

    I think I will need to work on my non-verbal "later" communication for those instances when cabeceo is in use. If I am asked directly (verbally) it's not as much of an issue.

    It does seem like to some extent, a lot is left to chance, and interpreting otherwise just increases the possibility of misunderstanding. My gaze is sweeping the room. The leaders' gazes are sweeping the room. Our eyes meet for a fraction of a second, but I was already moving them towards someone else. The leader assumes that was a rejection because I didn't bring him into focus fast enough from the other side of the room. Kinda an error-prone system if people take it as more than just an incidental occurrence. It has to be more pronounced in both acceptance and rejection (as you said).

    The problem is that we followers are so outnumbered, that if a leader strikes us off his list of desirables, it doesn't really limit him because there will always be enough good followers for him to get decent tandas. Unless the follower is just SO far above all others available, that he feels he MUST dance with her, then thinking "eh.. whatever" and not bothering again won't change his experience much.

    So if we really want to dance with a certain leader, we most likely have to accept his invitation whenever he decides to issue it regardless of whether that is a good time for us or music we'd like to dance with him. Once we reject him, it's all over. Even with a "good" reason, it might be all over. For some leaders, it might be all over permanently.

    I had a different experience in DC than in my local community primarily because I didn't know anyone and didn't care at all who I offended by refusing. It was rather freeing. I didn't expect to dance much because I was a stranger. The person I was with danced with me early on so that I would be seen. Then I watched folks for awhile to see who I wanted to dance with. There were more people in attendance than what's usual in my area, so remembering too many potentials at once was overwhelming. I decided on one or two, fixed my attention on them, and after dancing with them moved on to the next.

    Surprisingly, I danced almost every tanda, and I also danced with everyone I wanted to, except one gentleman. Apparently (according to the person I was with) he had been trying to get my eye while I was "stalking" someone else, so after failing to arouse my interest the first time, he steadfastly avoided my attempts later.

    I was also advised by my friend that all the good leaders (at that milonga, specifically) used cabeceo, and I could bet that anyone who asked verbally would be someone I'd regret accepting. Turns out, he was right. Anyway, it was a far different experience than what I have had up to now, but I also know that if I were a regular in that scene, my insecurities and questions would probably surface as I got to know, and prefer, certain leaders, all of whom would most likely be in demand.
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  20. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    There's much to agree with in your whole post, but this, in particular.

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