Rejections

Gssh

Well-Known Member
edit to add: after posting the below, i realized that my comments are not based on experience in the AT community, which i know is a different beast when it comes to choosing partners, due to the intimate nature of the dance. so...my comments may be competely irrelevant...

dang... if you haven't already conveyed your ability to harm me in some way, i'm gonna say yes. i refuse to make this more complicated than Ask-Dance-Or Don't Dance.

am trying to think when i've been rejected... can't remember a time, unless it's because they were already promised to someone else. but who cares if i'm rejected? i don't...whatever....move on. maybe i don't get rejected because i don't load my asking with a host of rules and conditions? maybe i don't get rejected because i pay attention to who's receptive and don't invade someone who's not? (bolded by GssH)

i really do think this becomes much ado about nothing only in the minds of dancers who are inclined to create some personal drama for themselves out of their own inner complications.

"don't worry, be happy" goes a long way in the social dancing world...
Nah, your comments are perfectly relevant. It actually points to the heart of things:

All these "rules and regulations" are just guidelines that are supposed to help figuring out who is receptive or not. Like the cabeco: Yes, if you make eye contact with a girl, and she smiles and nods, you are good to go. Which is exactly how i figure out who to talk with at a party, or if one of my friends wants anothe beer, or if we should get soem icecream from the vendor we jsut walked by in the park. Or the rule that if a woman sits next to a man she might be on a date, and it is better to assume that they don't want people to butt in. Thats true for bars, and parties, and even in situations where people are usually assumed to go to socialize it can be quite uncomfortable if one misjudges that, so better be on the safe side.

It is like the old story where Rabbi Hillel is challenged to explain the whole torah wile standing one leg. He says "Do not do unto your neighbor what you don't want to have done onto you - thats it ; the rest is commentary". And for tango (life?) the rule is "don't make people uncomfortable", the rules are just commentary.

It is kinda sad that these ideas have in some cases become reified to such an extent that they can be used as petty weapons to make people uncomfortable and unhappy, instead of ensuring that everybody is comfortable and relaxed.

It is of course easier to point people to rules and to follow rules oneself than to constantly negotiate what might be ok with a particular person at a particular timepoint, but that is a bit like beginning leaders getting hung up on learning figures - the figures help to study and understand the dance, they are not the dance, and part of becoming a better dancer is to learn how and when to modify them, and how to make up ones own figures, and how to finally forget all about them and just dance. I have met a few gracious people who just make people comfortable around them, transcending manners and rules and regulations, but they are even rarer than the dancers that have transcendend the 8CB.

Gssh
 
Says who?
Perhaps, it's not like they meant to be rude, but the other instructor they are going to suddenly started teaching codigos...;)
Quite possible. A couple of hours on this board and I'm already feeling like a vet who needs an education still. To my problem, I think I'll just work on nodding inquiringly and mouthing the word "Vamos" and see who actually vamoses.
 

samina

Well-Known Member
Quite possible. A couple of hours on this board and I'm already feeling like a vet who needs an education still. To my problem, I think I'll just work on nodding inquiringly and mouthing the word "Vamos" and see who actually vamoses.
that would surely be enuf for me. :D

i guess that's what i mean by so many rules. in the end, it's a simple thing really, and i always seem to get back to the feeling that we needlessly complicate so many aspects of the dance experience.
 
A couple of hours on this board and I'm already feeling like a vet who needs an education still.
My teacher once said that some people who have done tango for a few years sometimes start thinking that they figured it all out. In fact, they, at the very best, have as much knowledge about tango as a child of the same age has about life. :)
 
Key words: the resilience and forgiveness in childhood is certainly something that goes missing once adulthood takes its place.

Little Jenny: [tearfully] Mummy, I'm not friends with Tommy no more
Mother: Why not?
Little Jenny: He called me names

Little later:

Little Jenny: Can Tommy come over and play?
Mother: Er...so you're friends again?
Little Jenny: Yes. (...and skips off into the sunlight).
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
Key words: the resilience and forgiveness in childhood is certainly something that goes missing once adulthood takes its place.

Little Jenny: [tearfully] Mummy, I'm not friends with Tommy no more
Mother: Why not?
Little Jenny: He called me names

Little later:

Little Jenny: Can Tommy come over and play?
Mother: Er...so you're friends again?
Little Jenny: Yes. (...and skips off into the sunlight).
sad but true
 
Gssh - I agree with so much of your post! Very well said. I've often wondered why people have so much difficulty with the cabeceo when we're literally doing it all the time in our daily lives.

There's the ubiquitous "bar nod", the "hey, you want to go and get coffee when you get off the phone?" nod, the "I'm going to run to the ladies room" nod (sometimes followed by the universally understood "peepee dance".) We use the gestures and signals all the time. They make social situations go a little more smoothly (theoretically). It's so easy to over think these things.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
There's the ubiquitous "bar nod", the "hey, you want to go and get coffee when you get off the phone?" nod, the "I'm going to run to the ladies room" nod (sometimes followed by the universally understood "peepee dance".) We use the gestures and signals all the time. They make social situations go a little more smoothly (theoretically). It's so easy to over think these things.
Hmmm... I think I've missed out on something, somewhere. I don't think I've ever used a nod for any of these things. I have used hand signals from time to time, though.

:wink:
 
dchester - you're right usually there is a hand gesture involved as well. I forgot. Though there is one tanguero I know who combines his very compelling cabaceo with a hand gesture (the "let your fingers do the walking" yellow pages gesture). It's not only very amusing, but very affective. ;)
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
Gssh - I agree with so much of your post! Very well said. I've often wondered why people have so much difficulty with the cabeceo when we're literally doing it all the time in our daily lives.

There's the ubiquitous "bar nod", the "hey, you want to go and get coffee when you get off the phone?" nod, the "I'm going to run to the ladies room" nod (sometimes followed by the universally understood "peepee dance".) We use the gestures and signals all the time. They make social situations go a little more smoothly (theoretically). It's so easy to over think these things.
The types of situations where we make daily use of non-verbal communication usually are not from across a dimly lit room with people walking in front of us sometimes blocking our view, and others right next to us who could be the intended "target". Nor are they typically with total strangers. And as Dchester points out, the physical gestures are bigger too.

Even if they start there, a "come closer, I can't see you" or the "What are earth are you trying to say?" gesture is not "wrong" in other social situations. The cabeceo simply doesn't work for people with poor eyesight in a large number of milongas in the US where "mood lighting" and large dance spaces may be the norm.

For me to know if someone is actually trying to communicate with ME, they have to be close enough that they are almost close enough to just speak to me (well... it would be close enough if the music wasn't so loud sometimes to go with the dark atmosphere) The point of the cabeceo is to avoid humiliation and embarresment, but its plenty embarresing to have what you think is an agreement to dance with someone who ignores you once they are standing there reaching out their hand to the person seated next to you. Its also embarresing for a leader to get over to a woman he thinks has agreed to dance with him only to realize that she in fact agreed to dance with the guy behind him.

The Argentines and especially those 80 year old milongueros must have genetically better vision or something, because almost everyone I know over 45 complains about their close AND distance vision. Add vanity to the mix when people are dressed up (and leave their glasses home) and its even worse. And I'm wondering how the blind follower I know would train her guide dog to interpret cabeceo for her?

The cabeceo is also pretty much impossible for anyone on the autism spectrum (of whom I know several that dance tango) and for anyone who has difficulty reading faces and facial expressions without any other clues.

It also may eliminate PUBLIC humiliation, but it doesn't eliminate the knowledge between the two people that an invitation was refused. So how much embarresment and hurt feelings occur in someone depends to some extent on WHO they care about knowing of their "rejection"... the random person who might have observed it (and frankly, I think people are far too focused on their OWN situation to notice.. I can't say I've EVER noticed someone get refused unless I'm in conversation with the refuser) or the dancer they REALLY wanted to dance with who they now feel embarresed to face or awkward to talk to after having their interest in that person snubbed.

Many Tango communities in the US are small and personal. Other dancers are not the somewhat "anonymous strangers" that one only sees at a milonga and never even has a conversation with.

By all means, use cabeceo. Its a great tool. I'm not saying it SHOULDN"T be used. I just feel that its one possible way to arrange a dance.. not the ONLY acceptable way (outside of BA that is). If all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, then the whole world better look like a nail. Use it exclusively if you like, use it in conjunction with other things, don't use it at all, whatever... its a PERSONAL choice. But I simply can't agree with the notion that it should be the ONLY means by which dances are arranged in cultures outside of Argentina, unless the milonga organizers create that structure specifically and make it clear to everyone who ever comes in the door. (and somehow create "provisions for the handicapped" like an orange vest worn by skiers that says "Blind Dancer"?)

I also still feel that the reason it can universally work in some places is that the people for whom it doesn't work simply stop going there to dance (or stop dancing completely) I complained to an Argentine teacher one time during a private lesson that I was having trouble getting dances. He said "Just ask the guys". I said "But I'm not supposed to just come right out and ask them to dance" He replied.. "This isn't BA... its fine... just ask them".
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
The Argentines and especially those 80 year old milongueros must have genetically better vision or something, because almost everyone I know over 45 complains about their close AND distance vision. Add vanity to the mix when people are dressed up (and leave their glasses home) and its even worse.
One big difference is that there is enough seating (with tables) for everyone at the milongas in BsAs. They wear their glasses until they get a nod. Then they take them off and leave them on the table, when getting up to dance. You often don't get a seat of your own at the milongas here, and it's even less likely to get a table.

The worst case for this was at a milonga I attended at the Yale Tango Festival. The seating was in a separate room from where the dancing was. It was a real cluster [something] when the tanda ended. People left that room for the other room to find a new partner, and of course the people who weren't dancing that tanda were standing by the doorway to try and ask for a dance. I didn't care for that setup at all, thus I won't likely ever return to that festival. (It's a shame as the classes were good)

The bottom line: I'm a big believer in following the local customs. When in BsAs, use the cabeceo. In other places, do whatever is the accepted practice. I will say that the cabeceo (nod) is worth trying, though.
 
The types of situations where we make daily use of non-verbal communication usually are not from across a dimly lit room with people walking in front of us sometimes blocking our view, and others right next to us who could be the intended "target". Nor are they typically with total strangers. And as Dchester points out, the physical gestures are bigger too.

Even if they start there, a "come closer, I can't see you" or the "What are earth are you trying to say?" gesture is not "wrong" in other social situations. The cabeceo simply doesn't work for people with poor eyesight in a large number of milongas in the US where "mood lighting" and large dance spaces may be the norm.

For me to know if someone is actually trying to communicate with ME, they have to be close enough that they are almost close enough to just speak to me (well... it would be close enough if the music wasn't so loud sometimes to go with the dark atmosphere) The point of the cabeceo is to avoid humiliation and embarresment, but its plenty embarresing to have what you think is an agreement to dance with someone who ignores you once they are standing there reaching out their hand to the person seated next to you. Its also embarresing for a leader to get over to a woman he thinks has agreed to dance with him only to realize that she in fact agreed to dance with the guy behind him.

The Argentines and especially those 80 year old milongueros must have genetically better vision or something, because almost everyone I know over 45 complains about their close AND distance vision. Add vanity to the mix when people are dressed up (and leave their glasses home) and its even worse. And I'm wondering how the blind follower I know would train her guide dog to interpret cabeceo for her?

The cabeceo is also pretty much impossible for anyone on the autism spectrum (of whom I know several that dance tango) and for anyone who has difficulty reading faces and facial expressions without any other clues.

It also may eliminate PUBLIC humiliation, but it doesn't eliminate the knowledge between the two people that an invitation was refused. So how much embarresment and hurt feelings occur in someone depends to some extent on WHO they care about knowing of their "rejection"... the random person who might have observed it (and frankly, I think people are far too focused on their OWN situation to notice.. I can't say I've EVER noticed someone get refused unless I'm in conversation with the refuser) or the dancer they REALLY wanted to dance with who they now feel embarresed to face or awkward to talk to after having their interest in that person snubbed.

Many Tango communities in the US are small and personal. Other dancers are not the somewhat "anonymous strangers" that one only sees at a milonga and never even has a conversation with.

By all means, use cabeceo. Its a great tool. I'm not saying it SHOULDN"T be used. I just feel that its one possible way to arrange a dance.. not the ONLY acceptable way (outside of BA that is). If all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, then the whole world better look like a nail. Use it exclusively if you like, use it in conjunction with other things, don't use it at all, whatever... its a PERSONAL choice. But I simply can't agree with the notion that it should be the ONLY means by which dances are arranged in cultures outside of Argentina, unless the milonga organizers create that structure specifically and make it clear to everyone who ever comes in the door. (and somehow create "provisions for the handicapped" like an orange vest worn by skiers that says "Blind Dancer"?)

I also still feel that the reason it can universally work in some places is that the people for whom it doesn't work simply stop going there to dance (or stop dancing completely) I complained to an Argentine teacher one time during a private lesson that I was having trouble getting dances. He said "Just ask the guys". I said "But I'm not supposed to just come right out and ask them to dance" He replied.. "This isn't BA... its fine... just ask them".
Can I say, this is the best post I've read (or written for that matter) on this thread.

Says it all.
 
The cabeceo simply doesn't work for people with poor eyesight in a large number of milongas in the US where "mood lighting" and large dance spaces may be the norm.
But you can modify it to something that does. Walk not at the person, but on a path that will take you past them. If they look up, then from 5-15 feet away you can do the nonverbal communication to guage their interest. If they stand up, you have a dance... If they don't look up, or look then look away, then you just continue further down the floor or to the food or restrooms.
 

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