Suburbaknight is right. In his comment on my recent Non-Dancers post, he responded back that the difficulty I’m talking about is really all about making sure that your partner understands the importance of your dancing…and how hard it can be to explain it to someone who doesn’t already “get it”. It’s just like any other major interest/hobby/time-suck. It would be the same if I was a workaholic, I suppose.
And yes, social dancing isn’t all about dating…unless you make it that way. In my post, I was talking about the importance of an interest in social dancing in choice of mate, but I think my post may have come across as saying that social dancing is ALL about the search for a mate. And you are so right, suburbaknight, it’s not. It’s a physical social interaction, but not necessarily romantic or sexual in nature unless you decide that that’s what it’s about.
How many of us have had an awkward experience while social dancing? You step out with someone, and discover that you and your partner are on the floor for different reasons. One of you is just out there to be friendly and social and to feel sexy, but not in a targeted way. The other person is, hmm, a little more targeted. Both are legitimate reasons for being out there, but MAN, can that crossed-vibes thing feel weird.
Oof, the whole intentions issue can get even more complex. I was just trying to comment on the “if you dance, if your significant other doesn’t dance,” issue, but you’re right about people being there for different reasons. In my experience, the people who come to socials or dance class for, er… other reasons, usually don’t last long. Learning to dance can be a frustrating process and the potential for a romantic or sexual return is so low that most would-be Casanovas cut out fairly early. Throw in the fact that gossip in the dance community is worse than a knitting circle, and people learn very quickly who’s there for the wrong reasons and suddenly that person can’t find anyone to dance with him or her (usually him but not always).
The end result is that most dance groups are incredibly platonic social interactions, though that’s not to say romance can’t develop. I’ve had my students ask me how to tell if a girl is interested in more than dancing. My response:
“If she stays near you after the song is over, if she finds excuses to keep talking to you when you’re not dancing, then go ahead and flirt with her. If she flirts back, then you can ask for a phone number. But if she says no, don’t be a jackass afterward.”