Swing Discussion Boards > just a personal rant

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by East Coast Bluesboy, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Please pardon my French. If you dislike explicit language, I'd recommend you click off this thread now.

    I'm really getting sick of all these ridiculous expectations...it's almost making me want to give up dancing altogether. It's been my favorite hobby for the past year, but it's losing its funness (sp?). I made a post yesterday about my bowing habit...I think it's the previous post on the swing board actually. I also posted about smiling quite a while ago on the general dancing board. Anyway, this is kind of related to both of those. I just feel like I'm being personally attacked by follows all the sudden. People who know me well know that I'm not easily offended, but all this is really starting to piss me off.

    Anyway, the girl who complained about my bowing on Friday night (if you don't know about that, just read the post) apparently was complaining last night too. My best male dance friend and I were riding back from a dance tonight, and he brought it up. He was at the birthday party of one of the female dancers, and the same girl who complained about my bowing brought up not just the bowing, but some other stuff about me, to him. She said I was rude. As the good friend he is, he defended me and said I wasn't rude; I'm a great guy. He asked her why she thought that, and she brought up many things including the smiling thing (again, if you don't know about that, the post about it is in the general dance discussion), the fact that I don't really talk to people much at dances, and the bowing.

    First of all, as I said in my post about smiling, I seldom pay attention to my facial expression, let alone when I'm dancing. Most of the time, unless I'm experiencing an incredibly strong emotion, my facial expression is neutral. I don't want to think about raising the corners of my lips and baring my teeth when I'm dancing. When I force a smile, I look like an evil clown. Sometimes I actually do sarcastically force a smile when people ask me to, and they're eventually like, "Yeah, you can stop smiling now."

    I don't even get the whole not talking to people. My friend tonight who was telling me all this brought up a past event that I clearly remember and will never forget. There was a follow who I asked to dance several months ago (I'd asked her a few times that night and gotten rejected), and she finally said, "Look, I appreciate the offer, but I only dance with people I'm friends with." I walked away, a bit hurt, but apparently, she and my friend had a conversation afterwards, and she asked why she said that. She basically just said the same thing and that she doesn't consider me her friend. While I'll agree that she's more of an acquaintance, I still think it's kind of dumb. I mean, it's her life, and I respect her wishes (which is why I haven't asked her to dance ever since), but that doesn't change the fact that it's stupid. I mean, how the heck are we supposed to become friends if we never dance together? That's how I make friends...I'm closer friends with the follows that I dance with more often. The more we dance, the better we get to know each other.

    I mean, what am I supposed to do? Go up to her and ask her for her favorite color, her birthday, give her a friendship bracelet, and talk about the weather? If I did all those things, would I be worthy of dancing with her? What do people want me to talk about, and why does not talking about whatever that is make me "rude?" I can't read minds. If people want me to talk, why don't they bring up their topic of choice? It's not like I'm just going to go up to my favorite follow and start talking about some **** that they probably don't give a **** about anyway. If you want to talk to me, talk to me. If not, then you have no right to complain about the fact that I never talk. Besides, I don't go to dance events to talk. I go to dance events to...wait for it...yep, you guessed it...TO DANCE! Who'da thunk it?

    He then told me that even though he doesn't think I'm rude, he does agree to an extent about the talking thing because I'm not "integrated." I asked what he meant, and he said that between the time I walk into the venue and the time I walk out, nobody would notice I was there. The follows would notice because I danced with them (and apparently was "rude" to them), but none of the leads or the follows that I didn't dance with would ever know. I don't see how this is a bad thing though. I don't care if people know I'm there or not. Am I supposed to make some sort of grand entrance? When I walk into the room, am I supposed to say over a megaphone, "Ladies and gentlemen, East Coast Bluesboy has arrived! I will be leaving in three hours, so make sure you all come dance with me before I go home! Thank you for tuning in...we now return to our regularly scheduled programming." If I'm not dancing with you, why should you care whether I'm in attendance or not?

    And as for the bowing, if that makes you uncomfortable or whatever, then so be it (I still don't quite get why it would), but how in the hell is that RUDE? I've always thought the opposite...I'm trying to be a gentleman. What's so rude about acknowledging that I enjoyed the dance? It may not be your preferred way of being acknowledged, but it's not like I'm hurting you or insulting you. My friend said he actually thought it was cool that I did that and didn't quite understand the complaint either. What he did say is that it is rude to just go up to a lady, tell her, "Dance with me," dance with her, and then say, "Go away, **** you" when we're done. I know he was being a bit snarky when he said that, but I've never done anything of the like. I do quite the opposite. I always ASK if she wants to dance, and if she says no, then I respect her wishes and walk away. When we're done, I bow and/or thank her for the dance (although I quit bowing tonight because of Friday's remark).

    Maybe I just care too much. Maybe I shouldn't let it all get to me. The thing is that I don't care whether or not people like me. I don't like everyone and can't expect them to like me either. If we don't like each other, then we can just leave each other alone, and everything is fine and dandy. What DOES bother me is that people judge my character based on their petty expectations. Dislike me all you want, but don't call me rude just because I don't do everything the way you want. I'm not here to perform for you. I'm not here to validate you and make you feel all warm and fuzzy. If that's what you want, go get a boyfriend. My definition of "rude" is being inconsiderate of other people and gratifying yourself at their expense. I always try to give my follow appreciation and respect by, like I said, ASKING her to dance, doing my best to both protect her on the dance floor and give her a good time, and then thank her afterwards. That's not rude; that's polite. What do all these other ridiculous rules and expectations have to do with anything? It's rude to expect me to interact with you a specific way on and off the dance floor and judge my character based on these arbitrary rules. It's even ruder to complain behind my back about the fact that I don't satisfy all your desires.

    I'm not your *** puppet. I came here to have a good time, and it's impossible to have a good time when I'm constantly having to think about my image and have something good to talk about all the time.
  2. Smooth Dancer

    Smooth Dancer Active Member

    It sounds to me that YOU are doing nothing wrong, except maybe reacting a little too strongly to a couple of "insensitive persons."

    Males (at least) need to have a bit of a thick skin in these social situations. I recommend you simply enjoy your dances with the partners who appreciate your attentions.

    For the record, I (male) usually give a SLIGHT bow and a tongue-in-cheek "Thank you, ma'am." No complaints yet!
  3. kckc

    kckc Active Member

    I just read the other thread on bowing. Is bowing at a swing dance venue out of place/context? Probably. Is it rude? Not even close. I suggest you find a more mature crowd to hang with. The person who doesn't want to be seen being bowed too sounds like a teenager who doesn't want to be seen being driven to school by her parents 'cuz "it's embarassing" (said in my whiniest voice).
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  4. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    epic post!!!
  5. Siggav

    Siggav Active Member

    I would say that it's rude to bow at the end of a dance to a person if you've been asked not to bow to them additionally if multiple people have asked you not to do it, it might be time to reconsider the practice. You can acknowledge that you had fun in multiple other ways than bowing. In fact I personally wouldn't read bowing as saying that you had fun.

    As for the smiling and chatting and being social etc. humans are social animals and we pick up on social cues mostly. I much prefer dancing with a lead if I believe he's having fun. I can usually tell if he's having fun by seeing if he's smiling or saying something like "ooo nice" when I throw in a variation or something. I'm a very smiley person and I giggle and laugh easily too when I'm having fun.

    If I'm dancing with someone that doesn't do any chit chat before or after dancing with me and who doesn't smile at all I'd assume he was bored by my dancing and I'd be less keen to dance with him again. I'd probably say yes if asked but I wouldn't go out of my way to invite him to dance myself either. That person then bowing at the end of the dance would just put me even more off balance and I wouldn't really know how to interpret that or react.

    The girl that just wants to dance with her friends is perfectly entitled to that point of view. She'll probably miss out on a whole bunch of fun dances but that's her problem. In general though if you're being turned down multiple times by the same person I'd stop asking them. Twice in one night is my threshold really and I stop asking then for a good while or wait for them to ask me
    danceronice, Gorme and twnkltoz like this.
  6. Which I have. I think I said that in my original post...I haven't bowed since she told me that, and I honestly respected her for saying something rather than hiding it and talking behind my back.

    Here's the thing. I don't mind if someone doesn't like something that I do. Not everyone is going to like each other or everything each other does. If you don't like me bowing, that's not a problem. If you don't like the way I dance, no problem. If you don't like anything about me, that's not a problem. HERE'S the problem: when you judge my character based on a certain physical characteristic (e.g., I don't smile), psychological characteristic (e.g., I'm an introvert and would rather shoot myself in the foot five times than make small talk), or simple habit that I'm actually trying to break (e.g., bowing after a dance).

    If you tell me, "I don't like behavior X," then I may be a bit shocked or taken aback, but not offended. I'll do my best not to repeat behavior X, as long as it doesn't violate my personal standards or go against who I am as a person. But if you tell me, "You are Y (Y representing any character flaw) because you do behavior X," that's called judging people, which really ticks me off.

    Maybe you're right, @Smooth Dancer. Maybe I am just being too sensitive. But I'm actually a pretty thick-skinned guy, or so I'm told. I think the reason it's getting to me so much is because I've had multiple people within my swing dance community complain about these things. It's not just a one time thing. It's like everybody is ganging up on me or something.
  7. And there lies the problem, for me at least. That big A word: ASSUME. I have a huge beef with people who ASSUME that just because they express themselves in a certain way, everybody else should express themselves in the same way. You're evidently a smiley, social butterfly. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I know several smiley, social butterflies inside and outside of my dance group, and they are great, fun people to be around for the most part. But it is RUDE to expect everyone with whom you interact to have the same personality and to demonstrate the same social behaviors. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying you're a rude person (I'd be a hypocrite if I did); I'm saying that it's a rude and egocentric mindset to expect everyone to be like you.
  8. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

    I want the other side of the story...
    danceronice likes this.
  9. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    someone is lying to you.....:eek:

    my attitude about women that don't want to dance with me..

    YOUR LOSS!!!

    this has gotten rarer as ive gotten better tho:D

    and many of them have come around....

    we are all judged every day.....don't let it get to you!!
    Loki likes this.
  10. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    what?? like he wears too much Old Spice??

    just kidding dude:cool:
    East Coast Bluesboy likes this.
  11. Well, I guess it depends on the issue. I'm very thick-skinned about some things and very sensitive about others. Being judged is one thing I'm obviously NOT thick-skinned about. For example, if someone in a customer service setting is yelling at me about something that is obviously not my fault (your store sucks, you still haven't brought me my food, etc.), I don't care. But if someone attacks my character, that's what ticks me off. I guess it's all relative.

    And again, if a woman simply doesn't want to dance with me, that doesn't bother me either. It's the judgment that bothers me.
  12. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

    Nope, not Old Spice, a clear case of "Creeper"...
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  13. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    LLMAOOO true dat

    understand but judgement is cheap theses days
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I think maybe you aren't picking up on what I'll call social cues.

    You are being told that you aren't part of their group. And there's a circular thing going on there. You say you don't want to have to talk to people, but want to dance with them to become their friends; but that one gal told you she only dances with friends.
    Yeah, you're kind of in a bind.

    Being angry about it is not going to change anything, and, if it is perceived by your non friends (which it probably will, one way or another) you will only end up further outside of the group.

    You can't change other people. You can only change yourself. And, while you may still "feel" that you are being treated unjustly, you can maybe change how you you think about it.

    In the real world, rightly or wrongly, people are going to make decisions about you based on how you look, and how you act.
    When you don't conform to expected rules of behavior, you should be prepared to accept any consequences that result.

    And, just so you know, I share some of your behavior in that I am to this day not the guy that walks around chatting with everyone between dances. I most often sit at the bar drinking my drinks and eating my meal before the dancing starts. Over the years I've danced with, and gotten to know people, and sometimes the guys will come over and talk until the food arrives, and sometimes we'll be standing or sitting near each other and we'll talk. And sometimes I'll have something talk to to one of the women about, etc. But, mostly it's about dancing once I move away from the bar.
    There are women there whom I will never danced with and never will, and women whom I will never ask again. There are reasons for all of that, and if asked, I would explain myself. Funny how that almost never happens.

    And, here's some stuff from a very wise, very experienced dancer / educator that you can either take to heart or ignore.

    The only person you can FIX is YOU.

    If either one of the partnership insists on deciding who is right and who is wrong, they BOTH lose.
    YOU alone can make the difference. (don't try to adjust the Partner - adjust YOU).
    We frequently judge others, not by who they are, but by who WE are when we are with them

    And probably my favorite (wish I'd seen this a week ago, although I already know this)

    Every dance is a "Three minute relationship." If someone can't complete one whole dance without criticism, it is highly probable that when the music stops, the criticism won't. RUN!
    danceronice, manteca, Gorme and 4 others like this.
  15. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

  16. Siggav

    Siggav Active Member

    That assumption isn't something cold and calculated, it's much more organic than that. Basically for me to have the maximum of fun when dancing I like to feel like the dance is a conversation between me, my lead and the music. Part of how I get the feedback for how the dance is going is through the body language, including smiling etc. of my lead, part will be through a bit of talk potentially or laughter even. Either to lighten the mood when things go a bit wrong or as a reaction when things go super awesome. If that feedback loop of communication is not happening I don't have as much fun and I will probably think that the reason I'm not getting positive feedback from my lead is because he (or she) isn't enjoying themselves very much and is mostly just going through the motions.

    It's a bit like telling a joke and then no one laughs. It doesn't make you want to carry on telling jokes and doesn't give you great confidence that your jokes are good. Even if one person sais that they really enjoyed the jokes but just don't ever laugh or smile. It's very hard to be all ah ok right no problem, I'll carry on telling jokes to stone cold silence, especially since on average most people do laugh or chuckle when they find something funny.
    danceronice, Gorme and twnkltoz like this.
  17. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    I think I agree with everything Steve said.
    Often, if it's everyone treating you weird or rudely, then that means the problem is you. If it's only one or two people, either the problem is them, or it's you and you're just not picking up on the social cues. Or you may just be too sensitive. Or maybe they're all jerks. Or maybe your perception of them is wrong.
    There are a number of possibilities, and diagnosing the actual situation from only your reports is impossible for us.
    My suggestion would be talk one on one with an instructor, or someone running the venue. Express your concerns (more briefly, and less angrily than you've done here), and ask for their assessment of the situation. Generally speaking instructors and whoever is running the venue (assuming we're talking about something run by swing dancers) have a vested interest in you having a good time (and returning time after time), as well as in you fitting in and not making other people uncomfortable (so those people keep coming).
    It sounds like you don't want to fit in. If that's the case, why rant about the fact that you don't? (And I do mean that in a helpful, not jerky way. I'm not always the type of person who wants to fit in, but it doesn't bother me when I therefore don't. It helps if you can be consistent in your behavior and your wants.)
    danceronice likes this.
  18. Well, I've had three people complain (not including my lead friend, who is more of an observer). The group is pretty large, and I certainly wouldn't say that anywhere near everyone is treating me weird. But just over the past week or so, it all seems to have culminated, and apparently, a group of women have been talking about me negatively. So I don't know if three is enough to be worried about. The majority of the follows I dance with are fine, but I hardly ever dance with those three anymore because I always feel self-conscious around them now.

    It's not so much that I don't want to fit in...I don't really care that so much. It's more that I just want to have a good time without having to constantly regulate myself. When I first began dancing, I loved that I could just get out on the floor, have a great time, and enjoy the great music with others through dancing and mutual enjoyment. Now, all the sudden it seems, I have to constantly worry about whether I'm behaving correctly and acceptably, and that's not fun. I can't have a good time when thinking about what facial expressions I have to exhibit and coming up with interesting conversation topics. I just want to have a good time and give my partner a good time as well, without having to feel self-conscious and worry about whether or not I'm making my partner uncomfortable.

    Maybe I could ask my instructor about it sometime. The only problem is that she doesn't run any of the local venues and lives out of town. Next time I see her though, I guess it couldn't hurt anything.
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    she will, however, have insights as to whether or not there are aspects of your personality or your dancing that might be off putting...all of that being said, this whole thing sounds a bit blown out of proportion to me and not necessarily rising to the level of needing to making epic levels of self-improvement....not all of us are naturally as social as others of us...I, for instance, am not....I was an only child for 10 years, it is not in my nature to reach outside of myself unless I am in a helping mode or a leadership position, or have determined that it is what is necessary for me to maintain relationships or begin new ones....I get that there are some people who go to a dance to dance and for whom the social aspect of that is peripheral...but I could see how that might be off-putting for people who are more social...so those three ladies find you too formal and not particularly affirming or fun...women talk among themselves and then are over it long before you stop agonizing...I'd just carry on....
    Loki likes this.
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I would also wager money that you are not the first male about whom they have shared assessments
    manteca, twnkltoz and Loki like this.

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