General Dance Discussion > Weirdo radar?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by DanceMentor, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "I don't like it when you put your hand on my shoulder" in CW two step

    I blame any instructors who neglected to educate people about acceptable variations in these dances.
    Still, if you don't like it, you don't like it.
    I know that I had issues with "close embrace" at one time.
    Next time I'll ask someone else.

    This is a related topic that was just published yesterday.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    can you be more specific?
    stash likes this.
  3. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I think what he meant was that the man can indicate how close he's willing to let her get, and she can decide how close she wants to get, but no closer. In other words, the closest you're mutually agreeable to dancing.
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    that part I think I understood :)
    twnkltoz likes this.
  5. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    Yes. I turn my weirdo radar on whenever I start a dance with a lady I haven't seen before. It's best if us guys use defensive strategies because some women seem to be on hair triggers (and maybe rightfully so if they encounter too many pervs).

    If she shows any anxiety about me approaching her in closed position hold I immediately back off -- and I dance with her assuming she is a beginner. It's rare that more experienced ladies would have these types of anxieties.

    Of course WCS, as well as other dances such as Salsa or Bachata, have some sexually suggestive moves that I avoid using with women that I don't know really well. Even a hip or shoulder stop could be misconstrued as creepy, so I just stick to vanilla moves until I know the lady well enough to know she isn't one of the weirdos.
  6. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    One time a lady was really nasty to me when I went to take her into closed for a WCS starter step. She said something like, "Why the hell are you getting so close to me?" I suggested to her that I will go to one side of the studio, and she the other, and then we can complete the dance.

    She didn't appreciate my humor but at that point I really didn't care.

    Since then she spent a lot of time sitting down during dances because I'm sure other guys got similar responses from her. I'm surprised she kept coming back to the studio and I wouldn't have missed her had she given up on dancing. All the chair time gave her plenty of time to figure out why guys were avoiding her.

    Lately I noticed she isn't sitting as much. Hmmmm!

    It's been two years since that incident. During one song I really like all the ladies were taken, so I was desperate for a partner. She was one of the only ladies sitting. Against my instincts and common sense I asked her to dance. Surprisingly we had a very cordial dance and have so several times since.

    I'm not sure what the moral of this story is but I thought it's worth repeating.
  7. davedove

    davedove Well-Known Member

    After reading through this thread, I have a few thoughts. Mind you, I'm not trying to make blanket assumptions about anyone, as everyone's experiences and attitudes are different. But, it seems that often others DO make general assumptions.

    Now, this is something we all do, to one extent or another, but some people take a string of assumptions based on prior experience and then apply it to all future experiences. Just because a man (or woman) does action X, doesn't automatically make them a perv. Sometimes accidents do happen. Just from my own experience, I have been dancing and either I wasn't paying attention, my aim was off, or someone just moved wrong at the wrong time, and I have accidentally grabbed something I shouldn't have. It happens in partner dancing. Now, I was embarrassed and promptly apologized, and the dance continued. I think sometimes, and again not everyone, some women might automatically jump to the perv accusation, even when the intent was never there.

    Of course, if the "accidents" keep happening, that is a good indicator that the intent may be there. And, in reality, there are some pervs out there.

    I don't know. Maybe what I mean is that everyone makes assumptions that sometimes just aren't true. Maybe the other person is from another background or culture. No one is a mind reader and not everyone can know that what one partner is completely comfortable with, will make another partner uncomfortable.

    Again, from my personal experience, I have two environments I move through (among others). First, I do ballroom dance, plus I work for the federal government. Those two environments have entirely different personal space definitions. At the studio, where everyone knows everyone else, we are constantly touching each other in different ways, even when not dancing. Some of those same gestures in the federal workplace could have me brought up on sexual harassment charges, even without the intent. It's just something I have to be aware of and adjust my actions.

    So, I guess it all comes down to being careful not to jump to conclusions, being aware of the norms of the environment, and, like in all types of relationships, COMMUNICATING.

    And, on a final note, remember that we guys can be dense. Ladies, you may think you're being obvious, but the guy has no clue. If you're uncomfortable, don't nervously laugh or be passive-aggressive. If you don't like it, say you don't like it. Most of us are reasonable adults and want to know if we're doing something wrong.

    If the guy doesn't respond to open, direct communication, that's a different story. In that case, he needs to be removed.
    danceronice likes this.
  8. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with this... Being taller than the average follower, there's definitely been more than the odd rear or chest brush coming out of turns on the social floor because my waist/shoulder are higher than leads expect- and one memorable and hilarious full-on chest grab by an instructor who was using me as demo-dummy, and reached to her back/side while looking at the class.

    A quick one-off touch, followed by an apology, is clearly a mistake. No need to make a big deal about it, just learn from it and move on. The more experienced leads don't even apologize for a quick brushing action, because it happens (full on grabs deserve a "sorry" though). This wouldn't cause me to label someone a perv. Intent behind the action is what counts for me here... if you keep repeating the action, or have no peception that I am uncomfortable with something - despite my escalating indications that I am, up to and including the words "I am uncomfortable when you do x" - you might get labelled pervy.

    Context and role of the people involved also matters. I have little to no "don't go there" rules with pro, and he has blanket permission to touch wherever he needs to in order to explain things in lessons. And it goes both ways - there have been occasions where I have been plastered up against his back with my arms wrapped around and hands on his abs while he danced something so I could feel what muscles were working. I would never try that with a stranger though, and would likely have issues if someone wanted to try it with me outside of a class/lesson setting, or even if pro did... because, well, #notaperv
    stash and JudeMorrigan like this.
  9. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I think you all understood what I meant, but when I went back and reread my post yesterday, I realized I hadn't been as explicit as I should have been that of course the lady should be able to take as much space as she needs/wants. And I definitely understand there's an asymmetry of risk. As a guy (particularly one that's not particularly small), a lady who doesn't respect boundaries can easily be rather annoying. For a lady, a guy who doesn't respect boundaries can easily be rather frightening. It is what it is, and dudes have to understand that. And that she gets to define her boundaries. (Just as he gets to define his boundaries.)
    twnkltoz, stash, RiseNFall and 2 others like this.

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