Wednesday, July 19, 2006

the divine feeling of being led by a man

Swing dancing has always been one of those things on my list of random things to do to add to my resume ... right alongside kickboxing and learning Icelandic. Sort of a little bag of goodies to bust out to keep things interesting in the future.

"Honey, I didn't know you could [fill in the blank]!"

And I would just give a little look of mischief that conveys ... "There's more to me than you think!"

So when invited to go to a dancing lesson tonight, I jumped at the opportunity ... especially knowing that my friend was as much of a beginner as I was.

As I went from partner to partner, I was asked ... "So, have you done this before?"

"No. Well, unless you count dancing along with a Learn to Swing DVD by myself in the living room ...

Sad ... I know. But you do what you can.

The thing is that I went merely for a good time. I never anticipated that it would be one of the greatest opportunities to observe my theories of male leadership.

The beautiful thing about dancing is that the woman (follower) masters a couple of steps and that's all she has to worry about. The man (leader) has a heavier load to bear ... twist, push, pull, swivel, catch her hand, etc. If the man knows what he wants, is assertive and confident, it makes for one of the most exhilarating experiences a woman has ever experienced. Together, as she follows his gentle leading as he shepherds her across the dance floor, they become one entity.

There were a couple of dancers on the floor that were a thrill to watch ... both were masters of the dance ... but the man was leading ... calling the shots by a mere tug of the hand here ... or a slight twist of the wrist there.

As I went from partner to partner and experienced their different styles of leadership I quickly made mental notes of each man. Two of the fellows were good dancers ... but too ... um ... too much like noodles. One guy didn't know what he wanted which made me feel uncertain of what I was meant to do. But then there were the rare few who made me feel like Ginger Rogers because they knew what they wanted and led me right along with them.

My suggestion: Men, take Swing dance lessons. And no, ... dancing does not lead to sex! (unless you're married and you want to). Women long for the type of leadership from men experienced on the dance floor. If you apply the lessons of the dance to life, it will leave the women longing for you to ask them to dance again.

21 comments:

ckhnat said...

as for me ... i want to learn to be a better FOLLOWER. A friend of mine has his own dance studio. I think I'll be going to lessons once I get home.

The Borg said...

Swing dancing sounds awesome. Very Biblical.

:P

I wonder if they teach "egaliterian" swing dancing in some PC places, where the woman has to learn some of the man's moves, and they both call the shots, and it just looks crap in the end?

ckhnat said...

due to the lack of fellas, i DID dance with a couple of chicks during the lesson period who knew what they were doing.

The thing is that there HAS to be ONE leader! otherwise it's an absolute MESS!

CraigS said...

I did some Ceroc dancing, and also did a term of Salsa last year. The whole "leading" thing is very much a part of it. I thought at the time that it was a good metaphor for relationships between the sexes.

In Salsa, our (female) instructor told us it was also like a chase, with the man pursuing the woman and finally overcoming her.

All the girls liked a firm leader...

Nixter said...

my old housemate and her husband had swing lessons and loved it. On their wedding day they hada swing band and their first dance was swing. It was pretty cool. Sp and I have talked about going to dance lessons, I think it would be heaps of fun ;)

Chris said...

My wife and I did swing dancing on our first date, it was way fun! I'd done some in high school, but I'd never had to teach anybody before. It was quite the experience for both of us. After we got married, we went to a swing dance (complete with big band) at my college and got to ooh and ahh some of our friends. Good times!

I like the image of leadership you put forward here; the practical side, I mean. I had been reading your leadership entries and trying to figure out, "ok, how does she think this works, because in some way I think she thinks that the woman is still in charge but that the man has to THINK he's in charge", or something like that. But if you think leadership works like a swing dance, I think I agree wtih you ... both have to know their parts, and in that way, both are leaders, but both also have to follow each other ... and yet ultimately, somebody has to decide where to move! And in this world, the guy has to do that. But I like the picture of oneness you painted.

Jonny said...

I am still trying to find a similar activity (that satisfys all your romantic gender roll ideas) that doesn't involve actual dancing.

I have had the odd girl wanting to navigate for me in a rally car, which would be cool but the costs can't be justifyed.

Ruth said...

What do you mean that they were too much like noodles??

Glad you enjoyed the swing experience, nice to be able to tick something off your 'random list'.

There's a great p.g wodehouse story about a husband who secretly takes dancing lessons to impress and 'win back' his wife. It's very funny - I think it's called 'the man with two left feet'.

mike said...

There is nothing worse than trying to lead at something you suck at when the person you are leading clearly can do it better than you... and that's one of many reasons I don't like dancing... that and it leads to sex.

mike said...

Also who is that crazy red eyed short psycho you are dancing with?

Jonny said...

Mike I have heard the arguments on both sides for some time, and I think we have to let the women win this one. We just need to learn to dance, period.

I know some guys take it too far, and it spoils it for everyone else because guys like us are too scared to try.

I am about to start dancing any year now, or decade.

ckhnat said...

ruth - Noodles: they were great at the steps but were thought they'd add a bit of wiggling loose flair to their moves

mike - all the more reason to accept the challenge ... John? He's harmless ... a sweet friend of Julie's that was kind enough divvy up his time between the two of us

I was watching this one girl be taken out onto the dance floor by this adorable older man. They were magic together. I looked towards the wall where she had come from and noticed a guy standing alone, watching them intently. her boyfriend? later i saw the two young people dancing together ... very simple steps. He's new ... a beginner ... but that much more determined now to master the art so that he can pull some sweet moves with his woman. it's a challenge ... i understand men enjoy a challenge. besides ... from what i hear ... sex isn't a bad thing.

Bobby said...

A. I love East Coast Swing.

B. One other aspect: when a man is doing a good job of leading, it makes the woman look great. She shines -- because she's the one doing most of the turns and "dramatic" things. When the guy doesn't lead there isn't much for the woman to do. She has greater freedom to thrive when her partner has a game plan and knows how to put it in motion.

The Borg said...

B is cool Bobby.

CraigS said...

A guy who goes to our church is the Australian Champion of West Coast Swing...

Paul Dame said...

One of the things I've learned about leadership from dance is the important thing is to make up your mind and lead with confidence. There doesn't have to be a one and only right way to swing. There is not strict sequence that everyone has to follow. As long as you move with your partner according to steps you both know and feel comfortable with it can still be a splendid time. There's always more room to grow, and you can learn so much by watching other couples. I feel like there are volumes upon volumes to learn about the relation between the sexes, through the medium of ballroom dance. I'm glad that more people are catching on!

HI!-Holly I. said...

I want to read your book when it comes out. I have a feeling we could talk lots about the leading styles or lack there of in men around us. I'm a new blogger, my page is more boring that yours, but check it out if ya want, inquisitive-identity.blogspot.com

Bron said...

Johnny - I'm curious, why would it cost you to have a girl navigator?

That reminds me. As much as I love driving (my husband and I have to take turns so it's fair)... Along the same lines as dancing, there is something thrilling about being driven around by a guy who can drive really well and make you feel safe at the same time. NOT that I'm condoning hooning or anything!

Jonny said...

Bron,

Rather than dancing, a model for me has been Rally driving. (A race car hurling through the forrest with both driver and navigator). And the best teams in Australia right now are Simon and Sue Evans (married couple), and Niel Bates and Coral Taylor (not married to each other but a famous team).In both these cases, the male drives, and the female navigates. I love seeing footage from inside the cabin. Coral has a very calm and soothing voice. No hint of fear, she relys 100% on Niels driving (for her life). Niel gets the job done. Both have equal roles, but Niel is the one driving. (Coral also drives the big truck to and from rallys).

Rally costs alot of money. The navigator has to pay their share of fuel and entry fees. But a navigator isn't too hard to find, it's hard enough finding the money myself. Posiably not the most "christian" use of money.

Jessica said...

You have a way of saying this that makes male leadership sounds so attractive rather than offensive.

Jason said...

I've always enjoyed dancing, although I don't know very much... a little swing... and I learned some medieval dancing a couple months ago (like in that movie "Pride & Prejudice"). I could've taken classes at UofL, but they were at 8am... maybe I should've bit the bullet and dragged my lazy butt out of bed at 7:30.

Now, considering Bron's comment about feeling safe while being driven around by a guy... last girl I dated always told me she didn't feel safe riding me driving... maybe I need to work on that! :)