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My personal article : Last in, First out

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My personal article : Last in, First out

Post  AnandMajumdar on Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:50 pm

Last In, First Out
- by Anand Majumdar

Before I get to the main article I would like to mention a few things that I hope makes you a little more accepting of my opinions and me

1. I’m and Indian; and proud to be it. Hence most of what I say is with reference to cultural and social instances of what I see here. If it doesn’t apply to your socio-cultural set-up, just ignore me.
2. Very often I would refer to the man as the “do-er” and the lady as the “do-ee”. It could be the other way around if you wish. Also could be with any kind of permutation with men, women or both ?. Just remember that one partner is the leader, and one is the follower. Please don’t call me sexist because I have, for simplicity sake called the man the leader and the lady the follower.
3. Some of the things may not happen in our urbanized and more liberal society, but I was just trying to plug all holes so please forgive me if I ever sound derogatory towards men, women or if it insults your intelligence.

Now back to the action…

Last In, First Out

Please pardon my engineering reference to this most common problem. It’s about asking a woman for a dance and then escorting her off the floor back to her seat. Though I think that I am shooting myself in the foot by not running a workshop and charging you people for this information, I will still go ahead and do it. Its my way of trying to show how generous a person I am, which should coerce some people reading it into thinking that I am a nice person and hence join my dance school. Smile

The problem is more culture and history based than anything else. Indian women have been most often, by the society we live in, taught to be one, repressed about their sexuality and two, refuse overtures by men in public (I mean, what would your uncles and aunts say if they saw you behaving this way?!!). Consequently our women have, as much as we hate to accept it, been very cautious about flaunting and enjoying male attention at least in the view of 50 other people. Indian men too, most often are either overtly aggressive with women or would silently keep admiring her and not muster up the courage to tell her.

This results in the most common problem ever. Either the man can never be confident enough to “ask” the woman “himself” (I know this because of the innumerable number of times I force people to pair up at parties and that even amongst the most educated people I have met never has any man who doesn’t know another woman asked her to dance), or makes a complete ass of himself by overtly throwing himself on to women without having an inkling as to the fact that he is being shunned. The woman too either feels very awkward accepting an invitation or refuses it completely, which is the most embarrassing moment, EVEN for the woman.

Needless to say that complications about women and men getting possessive about their partners and hence not letting them dance with other partners is entirely another discussion

Hey, Hey we got the problem…Now tell us the solution!

Sorry, was getting to that.

1. The first step is for both man and lady to understand clearly as to what is it that they are doing. It is only a dance, nothing more, nothing less. The woman needs to understand that a man asking her for a dance is not asking her to have sex with him and the man needs to know that a woman agreeing to dance is not agreeing to have sex with him. Or vice versa! That not agreeing to dance is not, not agreeing to have sex with him ?! It’s just a dance, lasts for about 4 minutes at most, and that’s it.

2. Start at home. I don’t mean that you should start dialing numbers and asking people to dance from home, but trying to look a little presentable before reaching the venue. By presentable I mean, if you must have body odor then keep it down to a bears’ rather than a skunks’. And if you must wear that amazing yellow suit with the purple shirt, the least you could do is wear correctly coordinated accessories … I mean like a red tie and white shoes. Don’t forget the pink felt hat. Remember that people always fall for people with that clean and well-dressed suave look. Soon you will have people hovering around you dying to get to know you. After all you are a colorful person!

3. It also doesn’t mean that I am asking you to start dancing with someone strange the moment you enter the room. Start easy. That is achieved by spending some time in a dancing school (maybe, like mine) and paying for a few lessons and actually attending them so some faces at the party do ring a bell. Faces, that you have seen more than once so that you could easily speak to them. Try selecting the batch with most men in it. Don’t know why but most women would remember you, relating you to some hunky dude who did class with you. (Hey, remember he is from Bhavik’s batch!). To reach that hunk they may even speak to you! You lucky coyote, you! There’s your chance to ask!

4. Jokes apart, the best way to break the ice with one woman is to dance with another. Sounds ridiculous but dancing makes you visible, makes you confident, shows that you can dance (here’s where the lessons come to use, thank me!), and tells the women watching you that there is actually some woman out there who is willing to trust you. Trust me if many women see even one woman trusting you, it speaks a lot for you. And like bulleted point 3, pick on someone you know, someone who you went to class with, someone who you know will not refuse

5. Dancing on the floor also gives you two other advantages. Since you are moving its gives you a better view of the room so you get to see all the people you know and them talking to all the people you don’t! Secondly it also allows you to smile at other people dancing close to you or those you bump into on the floor. Just happens easier than sitting on a table and grinning ear to ear at someone ten blocks away.

6. Bond with other men. This ensures that after a friend finishes a dance with a woman you don’t know, he will recommend you to her and probably even bring you two together. This ensures the two of you get to know each other and dance without the obvious mammoth task of walking up to her and asking her. Do this for your friend too with all the women you know. Help other people out too, if you are looking for help yourself. Trust me, many women I know would prefer to be rather “forced” into the dance with someone strange than be asked directly by him.

7. The actual process of asking someone to dance is however the most excruciating. Its simply a matter of converting that smile on the floor with someone, converting that friend you know who is talking to someone you don’t, or converting your visibility and attractiveness, into a conversation. While “May I have this dance with you?” in our cultural context sometimes would seem odd other phrases might work…

“Wow, you are great … Umm I don’t think I am as good as you … I don’t think I can ever dance with you…” Trust me, nobody replies with “You are right, you cant.”

“Hey we did the samba differently … how did you learn it with leads?”

“Didn’t you come for the workshops that happened in December?” Which should tell you to go for every event that you are invited for.

Look, its not about a specific phrase or line. It’s about timing. And it’s about putting yourself at that place. And its about what’s appropriate and when. And the ONLY way you will learn to perfect it is by the Trial and error technique. And very often if you are careful and sensitive you wont make an error.

8. The other most common problem that men face is walking the woman back to their seats. Till not too long back even I, was guilty of committing this mistake, though my reasons were different. I would just dump the woman after the dance on the floor and walk away, leaving her to fend for herself and find her way back, because being a teacher I would not look at her as a woman. I would look at her as a student. And coupled with the fact that my objective was to ensure the party was a success and that everybody was having fun, it took my attention away from the dance I was dancing. The mistake I made was that I stopped looking, and hence treating, the lady like a lady. Most men suffer from this. We don’t treat the lady like a lady not because we don’t want to, but more because we don’t realize that we are not. 9 of 10 men would not know that the lady needs to be escorted back to her seat after the dance and not just left there. Therefore this article now targets only the 10 % who do know it. It’s embarrassing to stop dancing and walk the lady back even if that’s the right thing to do. Try it.

9. The way to circumvent it is to anticipate when the song will end. About 30-45 seconds before the song ends, try doing only the basic movement of a dance with the lady. This ensures that your mouth is closest to her ear and that you guys can then talk. While talking you are not only taking the awkwardness of silence away, you are also deciding the next course of action. Could be a drink of water, could be another dance, could be guiding her to the washroom or even taking her to introduce her to a friend of yours near the floor who is waiting for a dance. Whatever the next step is, the important thing is that after the dance is over you are not caught off guard and fumbling to decide what to do. If no obvious course of action is decided then an over-emphatic bow and vote of thanks after the dance and a deliberate guiding of the lady’s arm back to her seat in the most overt fashion also sometimes works. Both you, the lady and the people around you know that the bow and guide is an act and you are mocking the gentlemanly gesture that you see in movies… but hey it achieves your purpose. They don’t see you sweat.

10. Ladies, please please ask the men to dance with you. It’s allowed! Yes, it’s perfectly fine for the lady to ask the man to dance. And guess what, the men love it! The advantage you derive is that you are just not sitting around waiting to be asked and most of all; YOU get to choose who you want to dance with. However be sensitive not to ignore some men while giving attention to only those you like. Also be prepared to handle overtures that may result from the man mis-understanding your asking him to dance for sex-at-midnight. (Sorry gentlemen, had to do this … happens all the time).

You know I could go on about this forever and ever, but to be kind to your bladders I will at this point terminate this thesis.

I believe in simplistic stuff and would like to come back to the most obvious language that people around the world understand, the language of love. Partner dancing is just one of those ways to express that love. It’s about enjoying, helping someone enjoy, and finally enjoying together with that person. It’s about care, affection and above all gentleness. And it is this gentleness that must come through in all your actions on the floor and off it. Don’t go by the book; don’t go by what I say. If you find yourself to be in a situation which demands you to be in a way contrary to what I may have said, and if that is what your heart feels is right … just go ahead and do it. You wont be wrong.

Anand Majumdar

Founder - QuickstepSALSA Forum
Founder - QuickstepSALSA Forum

Number of posts : 551
Location : Mumbai, India
Job/hobbies : Salsa Teacher
My Salsa Skill Level :
50 / 10050 / 100

Registration date : 2008-08-13

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Re: My personal article : Last in, First out

Post  Sheetal on Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:08 pm

When i started reading it, for a moment i thought OMG, this is soooo long, i will spend atleast half an hour reading this, but worth it!!

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Registration date : 2008-09-19

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