Social rules exist. Everyone knows this, or rather, I hope they do. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are some things that are just not okay in certain social situations. Swearing at the Pastor’s house. Outing someone. Wearing a long white dress to a wedding that’s not yours. Staring up a girls dress as she climbs a tree. Crashing a baby shower. Talking loudly throughout a movie. These are just things that you should really rethink attempting.
I deal with jerks who don’t understand the basis of social etiquette on a daily basis, but I rarely let it truly bother me. Most the time I throw those people into the column of stupidity and move on. Like the man who insisted on showing me his Yankee tattoo (on his calf). Or the woman who stormed out of Ice Age 4 because she was under the impression that she had bought tickets to a documentary about the ice age and not a children’s cartoon. To these people I think, really?, laugh to myself, and move on.
But when a man insulted my most favorite hobby, the teacher, and the overall Blues culture – that’s where I draw the line.
A man in red. I don’t know his name, I don’t care to, he pissed me off. When I walked into the venue I could sense that he was going to awkwardly hit on me. And I was right. He had that look that men on the prowl get where their eyes squint (as if women are some mysterious object), widen (ah ha! they spy a female), and then attempt a casual smile (target acquired, no way she can say no to this sexy manliness). I proceeded to put on my dance shoes, fill my water bottle, and sit down against the wall. The dance floor was respectably full. Sometimes it’s fun just to watch people twirl around.
He walked up to me and started talking, but I found it challenging to follow his pointless chatter. Here’s the basics: “I’m not really much of a Blues dancer I just like to do my own thing, you know what I mean, more of a freestyle dancer, you know what I mean, like Chris Brown or Kanye West, everyone here is so into pair dancing, I’m more of a solo act, you know what I mean, I like choreography, you know, so I’m trying to figure out what the girls like for choreography, I’m here to challenge myself, I like a challenge, I’m not here just to talk and meet girls, it’s kind of like a school dance, you know?” Ugh, never have I want to wave my rainbow bracelets in a man’s face so badly and yell, “LESBIAN!!” at the top of my lungs.
He asked me to dance, and like any good social dancer, I accepted. I wouldn’t call it a dance, unless I was at a wedding, it was more like me walking back and forth while he attempted to do fancy footwork. It was lame. It was awkward. I was laughing – but he probably just thought I was smitten. For the rest of the night I did my best to avoid him (I suddenly went to go get water more often than normal).
An hour or so later I came down from the bathroom to see the man in red attacking the teacher. He was loud, angry, and contradicting himself about every twenty seconds. I couldn’t believe it! I blatantly sat down and sipped my water as I eavesdropped – not that he noticed. He proceeded to bash the group lesson format, he got mad at her for not asking for a detailed account of his dancing experience, whined that they only taught Blues (at a Blues venue … *rolls eyes*), that he couldn’t dance with any of the girls here, blah, blah, blah. Everything that he said, all of his complaints, came down to him not understanding, or even attempting to grasp the culture.
From what I understood of his conversation, which was so emotionally heated and scattered that I can barely remember what he said, he felt insecure about his dancing and thought that people should pay him a lot more attention because he’s new. Shocking as it might be to understand – we encourage new dancers to dance. Crazy right. I don’t know a single follow who will bitch to her friends that she had to dance with a beginner. She’ll bitch because she had to dance with a weirdo.
Based off his body language I determined that he ultimately he wanted to feel like a star, to have everyone ooo and ahh over his impressive skills, and ideally take a lady back to his apartment. When that clearly wasn’t going to happen, he freaked out. If he wanted special treatment he should have paid for a private lesson. He crossed the line, simple as that, in what situation is it ever okay to yell at someone who was trying to help you? I must say, I applaud the teacher, she spoke gracefully and tolerated his attack much nicer than I would have.
Social dance has rules just like any other scene:
- If you attend the lesson do what they teach the group, don’t try to move to far ahead – remember that there’s most likely a wide variety of skill levels in attendance, sometimes you’ll have to learn the same dip/twirl/concept multiple times, consider it practice.
- If you receive a correction don’t get offended, learn from it – I promise you’ll be a better dancer if you do.
- If you have a question, ask – don’t expect the teacher to know that you’re struggling (like the jackass in red did).
- If someone asks you to dance, say yes – unless you have a really good reason to say no – like a hurt joint, you’ve already promised this dance to someone else, you’re a lead who needs to change your shirt, or you already danced with him/her and they got really creepy.
- AND DON’T DISRUPT THE EVENT AND PROCEED TO YELL AT THE TEACHER ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY’VE BEEN TRYING TO BE POLITE AND HELP YOU.
Aka – use common sense.