Tango Argentino > How can I kindly refuse if someone constantly ask me to dance ?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Green, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. Green

    Green New Member

    There are a couple of ladies who constantly ask me to dance whenever they see me in the milonga. However, I'm not very happy to dance with them because of various of reasons, such as uncomfortable connection, lack of following skills, bad smells, strong perfumes, etc.

    Some say that men should never turn down ladies even if ladies can do so.

    Actually, I never turned them down and I couldn't because I know it would hurt them a lot, but I don't really enjoy dancing with them. What would you do if you were me ?
  2. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    I occassionaly refuse to dance with ladies who ask for varied reasons.

    I simply and pleasantly tell them that, "I'm on a break for now. Perhaps later?" The later part being subjectively long... :rolleyes:
  3. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    To me, the reasons are key. I'm a very strong proponent of the "never refuse" school of thought, except for specific reasons.
    I don't think these are valid reasons, we were all bad at some point (hell, I still am), and we only improved because our fellow dancers helped us. If someone's not very good, then that's not a valid reason IMO.

    Look at this as an opportunity to develop your leading skills :)

    Mmmm, borderline I'd say. I'd recommend having a quiet word with either the person involved or with the organiser - not pleasant to hear "you smell", but it'll help them in the long run.

    I'd avoid using the "Oh, I'm just resting / going to the bathroom" excuses - people aren't dumb, and they can usually tell if you're avoiding them, and that's not pleasant.

    Obviously, it's valid if you are on a bathroom break or whatever - but then, once asked, I think you have an obligation to ask (or at least attempt to ask) the person to dance when you're back / rested.

    In my view, valid people to refuse are yankers / pervs / smellers - other than that, I think you should pretty much dance with anyone who asks you.
  4. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    I'm in a similar situation and haven't found a solution either. It's only one lady though (not a couple). Here are some of my little tactics.
    I make a pre-emptive invite, dancing with her on a music that I dislike too. This way she has to bug the other leaders before coming back to me.
    When I notice her coming in my direction I promptly invite the nearest available lady.
    When dancing with her, I make the dance unenjoyable, leading things that she can't follow.
  5. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    The lack of following skills can be improved by adjusting your lead so that it is better read. Connection: is that emotional or physical (dance). You can still have a good dance without the connection. Personal hygiene/perfume: I told a man recently to keep his hold open (he didn't like it/I didn't care) because he had so much wet gel in his hair I told him my skin would react. Strong perfume: tell the lady(ies) in question that although you'd love to dance with them you have an allergy to strong perfume. And remember, although women are viewed as the weaker s*x, there is absolutely no truth in that. Our fragilities and our mental strengths are no different to that of a man. In some cases, stronger - especially when it comes to blowing men out. I've seen women do it without a blink or blush. Being honest about anothr's bad armpits etc is strickier. So you could employ what I call the "one track rule". If the person is simply too suit to refuse a dance, you dance just the one song, after that you take their hand, smile sweetly with a "thank you" and then escort them gracefully back to their seat and before you leave with a teeny bow you say, "enjoy the rest of the evening". They'll remember you for that than just the one dance, believe me.
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Spot on, 100%.
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Hmmm; in spite of endeavouring to spread myself around democratically I still got slammed by the hostess who said goodbye with a heavily ironic

    "Oh and thanks for the dance"

    I will only refuse to dance with someone with a lack of skill if I know it will leave me feeling so frustrated at this person's lack of progress that the price is too high.
    Strong perfume dosen't often happen and more rarely is smelly women, but I have learnt to inhale only with the left nostril for when this occurs.
  8. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    Ha ha, I do this too as a follower. Might as well get it over with and to music I don't care for anyway.

    This I wouldn't do, once we're dancing I might as well make the most of it. Apart from protecting myself from injury I try to enjoy it. If it's really bad I can feel myself to start just going through the motions, and then it's time to stop.
  9. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    :eek: :shock: :shock: :shock:

    So if a follower gets turned down by you she falls into one of these three catagories?? I understand the last one, I have no idea what the first is (and do not want to know, thanks - I suppose I could guess) but on what means-test do you identify the middle one?
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Actually, I think it makes a lot of sense.

    If I understand him correctly, a yanker would be someone whose idea of leading is to haul you about. It's unpleasant, it hurts, and can be outrightly dangerous (depending). Unfortunately, you've got to kind of learn by experience to see who is and who isn't a yanker--either yours or some other Unfortunate's.

    The pervs...well, either you get warned about someone, or have the distinctly unpleasant experience of finding out first-hand.
  11. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Pretty much. For a value of "turned down" as used here - which is "don't want to dance with", rather than "can't dance with right now because I'm dripping with sweat / shattered / going to burst if I don't get to the men's room". Hope that makes sense :)

    To expand: A "yanker" is someone who may cause injury - i.e. by yanking you around the floor, or by excessive leaning, pulling, massively poor floorcraft or whatever. No-one should feel a need to agree to a situation where they may get hurt - basic risk assessment should always take priority.

    You volunteering? :D

    In truth, I've never refused someone in AT, and almost never in other dance forms - I just feel that those 3 are the only valid reasons for refusing a dance.

    "Hotshot-type" refusals - made on the basis of "they're not good enough to dance with me" - do tend to make me see red. Difference of ability / experience is never a good reason to refuse in my view.
  12. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Exactly - you beat me to it :)
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    These problems usually occur with people who either can't perceive this, or simply don't care.

    It depends on what skill is missing. The inexperience sort of lacking skill can be compensated for, but the irresponsible sort cannot.
  14. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Hey, I'll dance with the pervy chicks! :lol:

    While body odor is unpleasant, I'd probably do the suggested one dance and employ the "Enjoy the rest of the evening" line. I would not comment on a person's hygiene unless I knew them quite well.

    I've not encountered a female yanker who could actually do me any damage although I did have an unpleasant foxtrot last Friday night with a lady who said that she liked to lead. And lead she did or at least tried. But there were over 100 people at the venue so I simply didn't ask her again.
  15. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I have (and she was an instructor, no less!). I danced with her 3 or 4 times, and every time, she was utterly out of control and forced me to manhandle her just to maintain a connection. Doing a swing with her (OT, sorry) was like spending an hour at the gym with heavy free weights. We had a thread a while back where we discussed our do-not-dance-with lists -- she's the sole occupant of mine.

    Elise, I thought the thread was about women asking men to dance. I'm just old-fashioned enough to believe that that's different: A woman may turn down a dance for any or no reason (although a woman who consistently turns down dances can expect that she will stop getting asked eventually). A man should not turn down a woman unless there is a darn good reason. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any woman I know (other than the above mentioned) that I dislike dancing with so much that I would turn her down for that reason. If I'm sucking wind or some such, my reply is going to be something like, "I need to sit for a minute. Would you like the next one?"
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Likewise. It wasn't an actual dancing situation, but an exercise in a workshop where we women were practicing with each other doing ochos.

    I'd read of men complaining that women who pushed and pulled, and leaned on the guys. I've always been worried that I was one of them. But after that exercise with that woman, I now really understand what the guys were talking about (and am about 99.99% sure I'm not doing that). I could not believe how much she was relying on me. Had I been dancing with her, I'm sure I'd have been injured...after just the exercise I was very tired and heading towards soreness.
  17. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    here women would rather sit on their hands all evening than ask a man to dance. Yes, toronto did get into the 20th century but, apprently, not much further
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "Some say that men should never turn down ladies even if ladies can do so."
    Well, if you want to play by the rules of a bygone era, then the women should be waiting for the men to ask them to dance.

    I almost never turn down a woman who asks me to dance.
    But, we all have to keep in mind that in Argentine Tango it is customary to dance an entire tanda with your partner. This dramatically increases your investment in accepting an invitation to dance. This may be one reason why the cabaceo is used.
    To me, the cabaceo is a reasonable extension of the fact that we avoid eye contact with people if we aren't interested in them. Conversely, we seek, and maintain eye contact with someone we are attracted to, or someone we would like to dance with.

    Now, ready for some "tough love"?
    Prepare to deliver a polite lesson on the cabeceo to deliver to these women.
    "Did your instructor teach you about the cabaceo?" blah blah blah
    The unspoken message (always unspoken!) is that they are violating the accepted norms of behavior for Argentine Tango.

    There is also the tacit of stalling until the tanda is almost over. "You know, sure I'll dance with you. But, this one is hard to dance to for me." etc etc
    "Now this one (last song in the tanda) I can dance to." Boom. One dance then the cortina.
    And the cortina, of course is the signal to change partners.

    And now, on the scale of escalation, Da Bomb.

    Start politely asking your partner to improve their dancing. "Could you help me out and even out the pressure on this side of the embrace." "You know, these are weight changes, not side steps." "Are you collecting?" "Sorry, I can't tell where your weight is. Maybe if you improved your posture?"
    Sure, you aren't supposed to be doing this, but then again...
    CAUTION.... You will elimate lots of bad dancers from your circle of partners when you start to do this.

    There are things that women can do when dancing that can create both discomfort and pain. I personally have decided that I am under no obligation to suffer. This includes too much perfume. "I would love to dance with you, but I am allergic to perfume. Sorry" "When you clamp down on my arm like that, it is pulling my shoulder out of the socket." I guarantee that if you reproduce the sensation for them they will either stop doing it or not ask you to dance again.

    Not surprisingly, people talk amongst themselves and you will gain a "reputation" of sorts when you begin to be more assertive. Be prepared for that. Meanwhile, you are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Your choice. D*med if you do, d*med if you don't.

    In a way, it's a b*tch to get better AT, or any partner dance. No matter how hard you try, it's never perfect. And I don't mean your dancing, but your total experience when you're out dancing.
    Here's a link to a story at the BBC web site. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6711071.stm
    To me, the important part is (I'm putting my own spin on this) that cultural fairytales and modern dance stories perpetuate the myth that enjoying a perfect dance life is possible.
  19. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    That's an interesting story, Steve. We do expect far too much from our personal lives and our dance partners, in certain ways.

    The funny thing is, people in the old days did exactly what the article is talking about - that is, they accepted the fact that life is not always perfect. Basically they expected life to include some difficulty and suffering; most people dealt with it, tried not to complain too much, and still overall thought of themselves as happy.

    If we're talking about the norms of a bygone era, that would be well to remember.

    Now, getting back on topic, I have to disagree with this:
    Deliberately criticizing and teaching on the dance floor as a way to get rid of people, is just wrong. If their lack of skill is simply due to being a beginner, try to have some patience and sensitivity; be encouraging and hopefully the person will want to work on their skills. If their teacher didn't tell them about the cabaceo or other customs, I agree it's fine to politely explain those customs to someone (off the dance floor). If they are a crappy dancer who outright refuses to improve, that's their fault, but still, hopefully there is a more polite way to avoid dancing with them.
    On that point, I agree.
  20. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    I confess my inexperience, but what do these women do to hurt you? (I do understand that wild swing turns could do a number on your shoulders / elbows.)

Share This Page