Subtle ways for a follower to say no (Mar 1, 2014).
Dear TangoTia: I politely asked a women to dance with me and she declined saying that her feet hurt and she was resting. I then said to her, “That’s ok, I’ll just sit down with you and wait until you’re ready”. Then after ignoring me for 20 minutes she accepted a dance with someone else. I think that was rude. Am I missing something?–REBUFFED IN SEATTLE.
Dear Rebuffed: Yes, definitely you are missing something. First, if possible use cabaceo to invite a woman to dance. However, that is not always possible so a polite verbal request is in order. At this point a woman has three options (1) yes, (2) no, or (3) maybe later. “Yes” and a simple “no” are easy to understand, but unfortunately “No” and “Maybe later” can come in many forms and be confusing, so here’s a guide.
- If any kind of excuse is offered without a followup, assume it’s a no and your job is to thank her and walk away.
- If an excuse is offered and she suggests maybe later, thank her, walk away and return later with a request to dance.
- Under no circumstances sit down with her unless specifically asked to do so.
Too many men in class (Feb 1, 2014).
Dear TangoTia: I recently went to a tango festival, spent a lot of money to get there and when I went to the first class there were too many men and so was not able to practice with a woman follower. The instructor seemed to ignore the situation and I was so put off by it that I stayed in my room for the rest of the festival. I left having nothing to show for my trip except my credit card bills. Should I express my displeasure to the festival organizer or the instructor?–LOST IN ROTATION IN CHICAGO
Dear Lost in Rotation: Boo hoo and shame on you. Women suffer this indignity all the time in tango and for the few times it’ll happen to you, it should only make you more compassionate and emphatic to the follower’s plight. Tango, like in life, requires one to be proactive and resilient. Yes, it was unfortunate that the instructor did not have the skills to manage partner rotation, and it would be helpful for you to mention this both to the instructor and the organizer, but to miss out on the rest of the festival and it’s many wonderful opportunities to dance, learn and meet new people is inexcusable.
The almighty tango shoe (Jan 1, 2014).
Dear TangoTia: I’ve been a bit of of a hippie all my life and just recently fell in love with tango. Unfortunately, my Birkenstocks don’t seem to be accepted and feel it displays a bit of class prejudge toward me. Do I really have to spend $300 for a pair of 4 inch Comme il Faut just to get a dance?–HIPPIE FROM HOUSTON
Dear Hippie: The short answer is, “yes”. But it doesn’t have to be Comme il Faut. There are other comfortable and less expensive tango shoes available. (Try doing a Google search for tango shoes.) But for sure you need something more elegant and secure on the feet than sandals or flip-flops. So ditch the Birkenstocks (at least while on the dance floor) and, oh, BTW don’t forget to shave under your arms!