The #metoo movement and how it applies to the dance community

#1
In an activity where physical contact between the sexes is basically a requirement, ironically, I've rarely seen or heard of any male "creeps" in the dance community. Women also seem forgiving of the odd accidental touch that do happen, particularly to newer and clumsier male dancers. It's kinda like that old paradox of why some countries who legalize drugs don't have a drug problem.

Or maybe it's because of the raised requirement level? Men who want to take part in the dance community actually have to make effort and learn to dance. Maybe these types of men who actually have the confidence and drive to do this tend to be of better quality. Or maybe it's because once you're part of a good dance community, you don't want to ruin it and become ostracized so extra care is paid to.

Anyways, this is from my own experience only. I have no idea what it's like elsewhere. But I find it interesting that in an environment where being able to touch a woman is part of the deal, there are actually fewer men who chose to take advantage of that and go into inappropriate territory.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#2
There are the creepy men. There have been other threads on here about them, or the issue has at least come up in other threads. I have had a couple of incidents of inappropriate touch and one of inappropriate comments (in the latter case a leader confused my happiness at seeing him to get to dance with him--he's a good leader--with a desire to go home with him :oops:).
 
#3
@RiseNFall

How old was this man? If he was young, he may have just been inexperienced with women. I know plenty of guys who are just inexperienced and clueless and so may come off as creepy but they didn't actually have any bad intentions.
Also, I'm curious, what if he instead asked you out for a drink instead of going home with him? What's a good litmus test to see if a woman is actually interested vs just happy to see him?
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#4
There are the creepy men. There have been other threads on here about them, or the issue has at least come up in other threads. I have had a couple of incidents of inappropriate touch and one of inappropriate comments (in the latter case a leader confused my happiness at seeing him to get to dance with him--he's a good leader--with a desire to go home with him :oops:).
I thought that a #metoo situation involved a person using a position of power to coerce someone into having sex with him. In this situation, was this person applying any sort of coersion? After you made it clear that you weren't going to warm his bed that night, did he back off? If you say it was creepy, I'll accept that but I'd have to know more details before I would put this in the #metoo category.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#5
I agree, @snapdancer, not in the #metoo category. The inappropriate touch guys were truly creepy; the other guy just made an error. While not the best way to find out if a follower is interested in more than dancing, definitely not the worst.

@VronskyWasSoVain, no, not young, just mistaken in my intent. Plus he had probably had a drink or two.
 

DL

Well-Known Member
#7
If I understand correctly: It's probably better to ask for advice regarding appropriate courtship behavior, than to seek justification for courtship behavior that has already been judged inappropriate.

I dunno about a litmus test, but perhaps start by assigning a steep negative "personal non-dance enthusiasm score" to any personal interaction that takes place on a dance floor.

Also, imagine 1000 women with whom you might hit it off. Suppose each is single and thinking of things she might do and places she might go to meet men. How many of those 1000 women do you suppose reach the conclusion, "I know, I'll go dancing, there are lots of men there who are waiting to meet me"? Conversely, imagine 1000 women who have decided to go dancing. How many of them do you suppose are single women with whom you might hit it off *who are seeking non-dance social interactions with men*?

For either thought experiment, I personally come up with a low number ... and that's before even starting to assess whether any of those few women would in fact be a good match for me.

OTOH, I've probably danced with thousands of women (even despite a current very extended hiatus). I still figured that gave me SOME chance of meeting "the right one". But all the same, I encountered plenty of other kinds of valuable relationships.

So, IMHO, if you're thinking of a "litmus test", perhaps you're taking too narrow a view of the rich world of social interactions available to you via dance.
 
#8
In an activity where physical contact between the sexes is basically a requirement, ironically, I've rarely seen or heard of any male "creeps" in the dance community.
There were a lot of creeps attending social dance parties at a studio I used to go to, old and young. Part of the reason I don’t dance socially with unfamiliar men (only with friends). Touching below waist, asking to come to a private dance lesson with them at their house, asking for a phone number and stalking me on the parking lot. Yeah. Eventually I knew them all and stayed away, but they would wait for new girls to show up and attack them. I should have reported them to the management.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
#9
I should have reported them to the management.
I've done this twice. Both times, it resulted in the situation being resolved - once, the behaviour changed, and in the second instance, the "gentleman" was subsequently informed that he was no longer welcome.
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
#10
I thought that a #metoo situation involved a person using a position of power to coerce someone into having sex with him. In this situation, was this person applying any sort of coersion? After you made it clear that you weren't going to warm his bed that night, did he back off? If you say it was creepy, I'll accept that but I'd have to know more details before I would put this in the #metoo category.
#metoo is much broader than that, it is pretty much sexual harrassment/assault in general. The point of the hashtag was to make people aware (who weren't already) of how disturbingly common this type of behavior is. And that it is not OK.

@RiseNFall
Suppose it was a man you were interested in and attracted to, what if he did the exact same thing? Is it still creepy?
Oh, this again (I've seen this a bunch on other boards). Yes, I would say asking someone to come home with you like that is creepy.

Question for you: how does a woman make it clear she is not interested without damaging his delicate ego?

(in the latter case a leader confused my happiness at seeing him to get to dance with him--he's a good leader--with a desire to go home with him :oops:).
This is a constant balancing act for me as a female follower. Coming off as friendly (not a natural part of my personality, lol) without leaving the mistaken impression that my interest extends beyond dance partner (for that song) or friendly acquaintance.
 
#11
@IndyLady
Thanks for clarifying. I myself have found in these situations where I'm interested in a particular lady and would like the chance to get to know her more and I was wondering what the correct protocol is. I would NEVER ask her to come home with me just because she was friendly/flirtatious. But is asking her out for a drink after dance class at a pub nearby where there's lots of other people out of line?
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#12
I've rarely seen or heard of any male "creeps" in the dance community.

there are actually fewer men who chose to take advantage of that and go into inappropriate territory.
No. It is not smaller. What is seen of the creeps may be smaller because it is just dealt with swiftly. Most creeps are removed from the pool of dancers. Those that aren't removed, that tend to mend their ways quickly, yet retain an invisible scarlet letter. And just because they might be young does not guarantee them a pass.

Women also seem forgiving of the odd accidental touch that do happen
Actually they are not forgiving of small indiscretions. They are are silently keeping score.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#13
Asking a lady to get a drink after the dance, along with other dancers, is fine. Asking her to join you for a cup of coffee on a Tuesday afternoon is also fine.

Asking several ladies over the course of a short time will also get you on the creep list. You will simply be seen as someone who is viewing the dance as a meat market.
 
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#15
@Larinda McRaven
The thing about common sense is that it's not that common. Creeps usually fall into two categories: those who know exactly what they're doing and those that lack social awareness. For the guys in the latter category, it does not just extend to their interactions with women but to their sociability in general. Is this an excuse for inappropriate behavior? Absolutely not. But I think in this age of social media, a lot of these guys don't have a chance to learn their lesson before getting their social or even professional lives ruined.

As for accidentally touching an inappropriate body part, I always apologize to the lady for it. They always laugh it off or say it's ok. I think it's pretty clear on when it's an accident and when it's an "accident".
 
#16
@Larinda McRaven
But I think in this age of social media, a lot of these guys don't have a chance to learn their lesson before getting their social or even professional lives ruined.
I don't understand how social media is an allowable excuse for inappropriate behavior? Also, being asked to modify behavior or being asked to leave a location or situation is a far cry from a ruined life.

As for accidentally touching an inappropriate body part, I always apologize to the lady for it. They always laugh it off or say it's ok. I think it's pretty clear on when it's an accident and when it's an "accident".
We are programmed to descalate a situation. I have been in situations before where I have felt uncomfortable, but played it off until I was in a position to address it safely.
 
#17
@Wannabe Triple Threat
I never said social media is an excuse for inappropriate behavior. How did you deduce that from what I wrote? I am saying that in the past for guys who lack social awareness, at most they'd be banned from the venue and that was it. They learn their lesson and move on. Now, you can literally destroy them with twitter and facebook and smear them as a creep for all the world to see.

We are programmed to descalate a situation. I have been in situations before where I have felt uncomfortable, but played it off until I was in a position to address it safely.
Address what safely? A clumsy male lead dancer who is still learning and accidentally grazed a body part of yours? If you're gonna have that unforgiving and hostile of an attitude, then maybe men shouldn't bother at all trying to learn to dance.

When I was learning to ski when I was younger, I accidentally lost control and sometimes plowed into people and in one instance knocked a person over. It's part of learning.
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
#18
I am saying that in the past for guys who lack social awareness, at most they'd be banned from the venue and that was it. They learn their lesson and move on. Now, you can literally destroy them with twitter and facebook and smear them as a creep for all the world to see.
Has this actually happened to a lot of (non-celebrity) guys that you know? If so, it might be time to re-examine your circle of friends.

Address what safely? A clumsy male lead dancer who is still learning and accidentally grazed a body part of yours? If you're gonna have that unforgiving and hostile of an attitude, then maybe men shouldn't bother at all trying to learn to dance.
Well that didn't take long, did it. No sympathy => lashing out. Kind of like the guy that calls a woman a b**** when she doesn't appreciate his cat call.

Being "socially unaware" is not a pass for inappropriate behavior. Yes, the consequences for that are now potentially swifter and harsher.

Btw, I am still genuinely interested in some guidance on my question above, since I encounter this situation more often than I'd like. If I happen to come off as just a little too friendly (which frankly doesn't seem to take much) to the new guy (who is insecure about his beginner dance skills), I often find myself having to fend off the third dance in a row or an extended conversation when I'd rather be dancing.
 
#19
@Wannabe Triple Threat
I never said social media is an excuse for inappropriate behavior. How did you deduce that from what I wrote? I am saying that in the past for guys who lack social awareness, at most they'd be banned from the venue and that was it. They learn their lesson and move on. Now, you can literally destroy them with twitter and facebook and smear them as a creep for all the world to see.
Referring to social media -- I misunderstood what you meant. I thought you meant that because of social media, some people were more likely to be clueless; not that social media was the venue in which it was addressed. My apologies.


Address what safely? A clumsy male lead dancer who is still learning and accidentally grazed a body part of yours? If you're gonna have that unforgiving and hostile of an attitude, then maybe men shouldn't bother at all trying to learn to dance.

When I was learning to ski when I was younger, I accidentally lost control and sometimes plowed into people and in one instance knocked a person over. It's part of learning.


I wasn't being necessarily specific to dance. It was more of a generalization of how many girls are raised to behave and react in social situations, to which dance often applies.
 
#20
On social awareness: I understand it can be difficult for guys, but if a girl likes you, she for sure will let you know, learning to recognize the signs is crucial. I would say keep your distance and observe her for a while if your intention is beyond just dancing. Don’t ask to dance more than two dances in a row, that’s an instant turnoff. And if she declines your advances, don’t switch your attention to another girl instantly, that’s a sure way to earn the creeper reputation.
 

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