A Male Stepper’s Perspective: Should a Woman Ask a Man To Dance?
This topic was discussed widely on the Facebook page of one of the promoters in the Steppin’ community, which was geared more towards female steppers, and males were encouraged to participate in the discussion. The primary issue was female steppers being upset at not being asked to dance by the gentlemen at events. Here is my response to the question.
I think this question was geared more towards female steppers, even though you posed it to steppers in general, so I’d like to address the topic based upon my experience. There was a time in my Steppin’ tenure that I felt compelled to try to get to every woman I could at a set because I was keenly aware of the man shortage. Yet, despite my most noble efforts, inevitably someone would remind me before the night ended that I hadn’t danced with them. Most of these women could tell I was trying to work the room and would tell me they saw it, understood it, and would try to catch me next time. I would then respectfully tell them that they need to come and get me if they want a dance because I simply can’t be everywhere. And what can you do when once you’ve finished a dance someone is immediately tapping you on your shoulder asking if they can get the next one, or you have women lined up yelling: “I’m next!!”?
I try to accommodate as many people as I can when I’m out, sometimes to the dismay of my significant other who is very patient and understands completely. I try to never say no because I know how it feels to be turned down…I got it a lot initially and I didn’t like it at all. There’s also nothing wrong with having traditional values, but they may not serve you well as a female at a set. I’ve also heard many a woman say that the experienced ladies or the cute ones (or the cute/seasoned ones) seem to get most of the dances – I hear this all the time and there’s SOME truth to it, but I’m not buying that mindset entirely.
Ladies, if you know there’s a shortage of men at the set, develop a strategy for how you can get to every person you want to dance with…THEN WORK YOUR STRATEGY! If you wait for me to ask you, it may never happen because I’m too distracted trying to figure out how to be accommodating to everyone asking, how I’m going to keep my significant other happy while doing so, how do I change up my style or flow to dance with this person or that person, when can I get water or even get to the restroom, when will I be able to dance with the folks I want to dance with, especially on the songs that I really like, or who was it that I promised a dance that I need to get to, etc.
If a gentleman has acquired a level of proficiency which makes him a “preferred dance” at a set, you should expect his dance card to be full before he walks in the door. You should also expect that women will compete for his attention because they want a good dance and you can’t blame them or the gentleman for that. You’ll have to get in where you fit in to get the dance you want.
What I no longer allow women to do, especially if I perceive that they have personal issues (esteem, perception, etc.), is to make me feel guilty for not dancing with them. I attend sets to dance…I dance because it makes ME happy…and I alone am responsible for MY happiness. No one has the right to make me feel guilty about doing what makes me happy, and I simply can’t and won’t allow you to do it…it’s wrong and it’s a mood killer. And most likely, you won’t get a dance from me in the future because I didn’t care for your personal disposition if you approached me disrespectfully. Finally – sorry for the lack of brevity y’all – SOME OF MY ABSOLUTE BEST DANCES HAVE COME FROM WOMEN WHO ASKED ME! I don’t know why, but this has been the case consistently. So you just might want to reconsider your position on who’s doing the asking…because in the end, it’s about the quality of the dance you’re getting. Sometimes “you have not because you ask not”.
What do you think? Is it ok for a woman to ask a man to dance? Leave a comment below and feel free to share this with others!