Me: You should dance with X, she's very good at freestyling.
Y: Yeah, she's great. She's really cute. I think she's cute, don't you think?
Me: Well, uh, yes, she's very cute. (said with the special intonation that implies "although I'm married and she's young enough to be my daughter, so I have to be cautious in my statements here.")
Y: Do you know if she has a boyfriend?
There are societies in which dance is a mating ritual. And when I say societies I really mean one society - the one that began in Africa about forty thousand years ago and now covers the entire face of the Earth. Since I have at least one anthropologist friend I'll cover my arse and say that there may well be little pocket communities where there isn't some relationship between dance and sex. But there's a little bit of sex in the air at most dance classes.
Now, clearly that isn't the whole aspect of it. People dance for a whole lot of reasons - as exercise, as relaxation, because they love the music and can't help themselves. I dance with a lot of people that (although very nice) I wouldn't want to sleep with, and if I only danced with people who'd sleep with me I'd never have got into Lindy or social dancing - I'd be dancing one hour a week of Ballroom with my wife, and I'd probably be doing that badly.
But that said - two of the members of my very first dance class are now married with a lovely baby daughter. Every few months (up to and including just yesterday), I find out about a pair of dancers I know that have coupled-up. Obviously there's personality meshing going on here too, but dance acts as a kind of solvent for physical awkwardness. Once you've got used to touching someone it's less of a step to more intimate contact.
As a married man, I'm out of all of this - but I have to admit that a few times I have danced with women who've had that magic combination of attractiveness and style to bring on a - ahem - physical response. Not "is that a gun in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me", I hasten to add - more like "ready when you are boss"! Just like normal attraction, dance attraction doesn't always have much rhyme or reason to it. It's not always the best dancers, it's not always the people you'd pick out of a line-up as the most conventionally attractive. There's some extra factor there that the dance brings out. I doubt I could have predicted beforehand who'd make me feel that way, in a way I might have been able to if dance hadn't been involved.
Of course, as in all arenas of life, it's how you deal with feelings that's the important thing. Perhaps, like me, you say thanks for the dance, you move on, you go home to your other half. Perhaps you ask for another dance (and you remember, of course, to keep your hands to yourself!), you have a chat, you ask if you can see them again. As long as you're prepared to act with all due respect for politeness and personal rights and accept that in all likelihood the dancer who's tugged your groinstrings is just here to dance and might not be similarly interested in you, there's no harm done.
It's a fact: sometimes dance can be sexy. Just - you know - be cool about it.
Ha. Be cool. Easier said than done!
This post originally stemmed from a hilarious conversation Keith and I had... But this is actually a subject that has been relevant to me since the very beginning.
Put diplomatically; my personal style with dancing is rather playful and tactile. I'm not afraid of bodily contact, be it a slow blues number or high speed bal frenzy. This flirty fearlessness has, however, made me occasionally the target of those who dance with their 'southern compass', as well as giving the entirely wrong impression to leads who haven't danced with me before.
Southern compass leads, by the way, are those that use their familiarity on scene to hit on new follows that they find particularly attractive. Aka navigating dancefloors with their southern compass.... (Do you follow me?!) I got told off by a non-SC lead once when we were watching one initiate the frequently inevitable. I found it hilarious. He didn't. #awkward.
Wrong impression leads have thought I was hitting on them. Nope... But, this has also been annoying when I have on a very rare occassion tried to put the moves on- as those signals normally get taken for my usual level of friendliness. I have long since given up on trying to figure out if any dancers are into me. You'll just have to come and tell me.
Many follows have warned me off of dating fellow dancers. I can see both sides of their arguments (which mainly centre around leads being just plain weird- but the leads they refer to are men. Hmm, men/weird correlation? Discuss!) In going out with a dancer we wouldn't necessarily have to have good dancefloor chemistry. Although it would be a bonus. Previously I have developed massive dance crushes on leads but pretty much nothing to tell my Nana about. Mainly because I tend to find it difficult to fancy someone I know nothing about. Dancing style can be as insightful as analysing handwriting, but doesn't get you far with strangers!
I once went on a date with a chap who, so keen to raise his (minimal) chances of a second one, that he actually asked me if I'd think him more attractive if he was a dancer. (he seemed to think that dancing/having an appreciation of, was integral to my list of requirements in a mate. Can't think how he got that impression...) Rather diplomatically I said that everyone would be, and that the world needed more dancers. (in case you were wondering my true thoughts, not even a lifetime of private lessons with Skye or Frida could help him!)... A few months later I bumped into him at a swing night. #AWKWARD...
I've also sometimes had dances where I've become AWARE of the existence of the southern compass of my lead. Not all of them were blues dances either! Generally I find it flattering, if amusing (maturity hasn't fully developed yet!) but on one occasion I was actually quite touched. So to speak. It was a beautiful dance we had shared, and he was mildly distressed and embarrassed - asking me to stay in close hold to cover the evidence! We had another dance. It didn't go away. I walked him to the bar.... (and left him there! What kind of girl do you take me for!?)
So yeah. No real conclusion, just more of what you already know. Dancing can sometimes be sexy. Just get over it and stop being so flippin' awkward about it!