Tango Argentino > Macho and cultural differences.

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by bordertangoman, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    We've probably all heard or read the stories of men practicing with men in the early days of AT, because there weren't enough women.
    It is equally true that in the early days of the frontier West in the US, men danced the woman's part, thus being "heffer branded", again because there weren't enough women to go around.
    One day I will post the picture of what to me are West Coast Swing dancers in Bakerfield, CA in the 50s with a "cowboy" band (probably western swing) supplying the music. There two women dancing together.
    My mom and her sisters used to dance together. Again, the husbands, boyfriends, etc, didn't dance, so there was a shortage of men.
    At the country western place some of the women I know have begun dancing together on occassion. I don't think anything of it. But that's because I know them, and I know that in general they prefer to dance with men. They just don't want to sit out certain songs/dances.
    If I see women I don't know dancing together, I am less likely to ask them to dance, just like Mario; because you just don't know. Hard to believe, but there are women who don't much care for men.

    Yes, it's good to question things. But when you come to the conclusion that there are good reasons why men and women have different roles in dance, and other aspects of life, and that in reality men lead in dance, and women follow, I see ample justicifcation for not using the neutered terms lead and follow, which my dictionary says are both verbs, not nouns.
    Well, except for
    "lead n. A soft, bluish-white dense metallic element..."

    I find it amusing to read Western academic papers where the authors unwittingly act as cultural imperialists, projecting their views that gender roles are a social construct on other, more traditional cultures. There was a generation of parents in this country who gave their sons and daughters "the same opportunities" and found that they choose different things to play with and acted differently. Scientists are now confirming that there are differences between males and females that even extend to what parts of the brain are used more frequently.

    One thing that I wish would change is that women ask men to dance more often. What's up with waiting for the guys to ask?
    Now that's change we could use.
  2. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    The story I was told (who knows whether any of this is true or not), was that the reason the men practiced with each other was because many of the dance halls were private clubs that wanted to attract women. By having the men (in particular newbies) practice with them first, was to insure that they were adequate dancers, otherwise they would not be let into their clubs. Having good dancers (leaders) was a way of getting women into the clubs.

    Also, I was told that occasionally someone would slip through who wasn't a good dancer, and they would literally be thrown out of the place. They wouldn't tolerate anyone who didn't measure up.

    I guess things have changed now.

  3. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Absolutely. There was a discussion about this in this thread:
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    There are uk "milongueros" who wont dance with a woman if asked, as it goes against BsAs tradition. not a problem for me though, quite flattering, in fact.
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Sometimes, things border on the bizzare.
    Women will say to me, "You should ask me to dance" or, "Just grab me". Then they walk by me repeatedly without even looking at me. Or, they will walk over and stand in front of me, but not look at me, or even glance my way.
    The cabeceo is based on the simple premise that you look at people if you want to engage with them, and avoid eye contact with people you don't wish to engage with.
    It's not really that hard.
    But, sheesh, the mixed messages I get sometimes from verbal invitations, either AT or country western! If someone can't or won't accept a conversational gambit as a prelude to an invitation to dance, or just plain has an uncooperative attitude, why would I then ask them to dance? I'd expect just as about much communication on the dance floor, and I'd like base level of being on the same wave length before commiting to up to 4 dances.
    And, would anyone like to talk about how this relates to age? I know what I see, and I'm sure I'm not alone in my observations.
  6. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    hmm... rare in my experience and anyway, those guys IMHO are up their own ****s. I'm also flattered to be asked.

    I've sometimes wondered how guys in macho cultures feel if they go to a venue where they know nobody and then get rejected constantly when they ask the ladies to dance. Dont they find their "machismo" starts to fade? Or are they so block headed it makes no difference?

    I sometimes think "dance energy" is like an electric charge. You go to a dance and usually it's a bit of a downhill slope. Everytime you get rejected or everytime a dance goes badly you lose a bit of that energy. That's why as an evening goes on people get more choosy. The sensible person keeps some good partners in reserve - that way they can get recharged....

    To return to the thread, I think this is an advantage macho males have : they can sustain themselves longer on their own illusions! That means however bad their evenings go, they've still got energy for later ...
  7. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    The worst for me is followers who either have obvioiusly involved converstations, or are draped all over their boyfriends - when they tell me that they would have loved to dance with me - i just don't get it. I try really, really hard to dance with people who seem to be interested in dancing with me, but i am not a mindreader. Actually, the same thing goes for female leaders - i usually don't ask them, because i think of them as leaders. I wouldn't ask one of the other guys to follow me, and it feels equally preposterous to me ask a female leader. What works for me is that some of the women who both lead and follow change shoes when they switch - when they lead they wear flats, when they follow they break out the heels again (though this has lead me to in general think of women in flats as leaders, which is not always true).

    Really, everytime i try to list all the things to look for to find a new partner i am surprised that anybody gets to dance at all. In the first 5 seconds of a tanda one has to figure out the music, figure out who of the women present would be fun to dance with, figure out which of these wome sit where, and if they want to dance right now, and if they have already comitted to somebody else to dance and so on.

  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Good. All the more for me then :)

    That is bizarre. :confused:
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    The Colgate invisible shield.

    I think I'g going off to acting school to learn how to make a dramatic entrance

    (without use of a skylight or wetsuit)

    maybe carry a tray of Ferraro Rocher?
  10. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    I've yet to meet anyone who actually likes Ferrero Rocher. However maybe having big sideburns and a red sash across your chest could do the trick ... ;)
  11. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    As long as there are men who view Following as a role that should be filled only by women and if a woman were to take that leap into the world of a man, which is to start to learn to Lead thus risking her chances of ever being asked by a man to dance, as a Follower, she will never take that initiative to ask a man to dance. For to do so in the minds of such men of Victorian thinking would be regarded as pretty much forward. (In much the same way for some blokes it is not right for a woman to initiate a date). All women are aware that such a man exists (yep, even in this age of 21st Century technology) and so most will choose to tread safer grounds and not ask a man to dance.

    A couple of men in the past have said to me when I have initiated a dance with them (as a Follower): "oh, I'm not as good as you" or "I'm going to show myself up" blah, blah, blah. I don't care. It's not a competition. But yeah, it does give me a bit of insight into why some men won't ask a female lead to dance.
  12. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Well, i in general don't ask a female leader to dance because i assume they are there to lead - actually i find it borderline wrong that when in a group class there are more leaders than followers it is almost always expected that the female leaders will switch roles for the class (and not study what they came to study) - and i have a lot of restpect for the one teacher i saw who made sure that didn't happen even when the female leaders volunteered out of habit. He made sure all leaders rotated in and out as followers equally, regardless of gender.

  13. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Okay, and what about if there are not enough men - say, 5 women extra are seated. Out of those 5 there are 3 that can lead. Teacher asks if any of those leading females would volunteer to be a leader for that class. How would you as the leader in that class view such a question posed by the teacher and if those followers then stood and stood in line with the gents? How would you view those Followers, now acting as Leaders?
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    iS this one of the questions you get in o level maths? I think the answer is 42.

    The answer is no problem. . since i often I make up the numbers if their odd in my class I will be a leader or follower as needed.Just connect

    I have just had a damascene revelation; the reason I have never perceived the "connection" in tango is because its as natural as breathing to me and I only notice if its not there.
  15. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Ah but arent you still in search of that "perfect" dance? :)
  16. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    I dont completely understand the first part of this - but fair enough I had a bit of a rant yesterday you can have yours today :).

    As I said earlier in the thread, most men want to dance with women, and vica versa. I would have just the same problems as you if I were to be a male follower at a milonga. In fact it would be harder....

    I dont think any of your peeves are justification for women not asking men to dance. The only justification for it is that dance is a courtship ritual. In which women expect to be asked. On one level that sucks , on the other it's all part of the process.

    As for not being asked to follow, there will always be people who are prejudiced. That's life. They've had bad experiences in the past, and they would rather take the easy way out. I'll be honest - I dont particularly like dancing with women who are too short (under 5ft 5 in heels). I've tried, it's not been much fun, I cant be bothered to try again. That's not to say I never dance with them, it's just not something I look for. Same with your situation.

    I dont think BTW this has anything to do with chauvinism/ Victorian attitudes. It's just life. By which I mean , people reject others for all kinds of reasons. And most of the time they're illogical, irrational and stupid. But that's their right, and it's yours too.
  17. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    One more post then I'll shut up :rolleyes:. I thought you said somewhere you would dance with them if they were wearing heels not flat shoes? To me this is the "sign" I look for. Unfair to those who dont like heels, but again, that's life...

    I think what you are saying is that if a woman came to the class to follow she would get the chance. Because the men would change roles where necessary. At least that's the way I read it. (And I agree - men need to know how a move "feels" on the receiving end - IMHO )
  18. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Did someone call? :roll:
  19. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    No not really; I get them every now and again and I have my favourites, but it often comes from the inspiration from the music.
  20. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Oh, shucks.... :neutral:

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