Saturday, December 24, 2011

Give a bad lead, get a bad follow

For a woman, a bad dance is as painful and awkward as bad sex. You go along with it, trying to hide your dissatisfaction, and wait for it to be over, all the while fantasizing about how much better it would be with someone else. Of course, just like bad sex, a bad dance seems to last forever. It's almost as if the DJ is playing a joke on you by selecting the longest possible song or making a long-running montage of songs that are so well blended together that five songs go by without anyone but you noticing. Worse yet, since the guy is bad at what he's doing, but no one has ever told him that, he thinks he's incredible and he's totally oblivious to every signal you have that tells him you'd really just like to get this over with. Naturally, if something goes wrong, he blames you.

It's time for this to be a thing of the past. As women, we put up enough with men's lack of game EVERYWHERE ELSE in life. We shouldn't have to put up with it on the dance floor! Unfortunately, if we don't put up with it, and we just bite our tongues, and avoid him at all costs, giving him some excuse like, "Oh, I'm taking a break," whenever he asks for a dance (which is the dance equivalent of, "I have a headache," by the way), then we're labeled as "bad follows."

If you had a lover that was that bad, there's no way you'd let him get away with it. You'd tell him, "I don't like that," or, "Try this," or, "Here, this is how I like it." Yet somehow, we let them get away with it on the floor for fear of getting a reputation as a, "bad follow."

That's BULLSHIT and everybody knows it.

Personally, if a guy gives me a bad lead, then I have no compunction about giving him a bad follow. I don't take direction from anyone who doesn't know where the hell he's going. If he won't properly lead me, I'll refuse to go where he thinks he's telling me to go. I'll nudge him away and style on my own. I'll go wherever I want. I'll even back-lead. If he's not going to confidently and authoritatively lead me, then I am not going to follow. This is considered "bad follow" technique, but why should it be? Why should you have to suffer through a bad dance just because of him? You don't have to be quite as blunt and hard-headed as I am, but if somebody doesn't let him know he's doing it wrong, he's never going to improve.

Yes, it's up to men to learn how to be better at what they do, but so many of them won't without a woman telling them. If you have a problem with it, blame their moms for always taking care of everything for them during childhood and their dads for being uninvolved in the process. Ladies, this is a responsibility for all of us! If only a handful of us do this, he won't improve and he'll just go on torturing the rest of us. Worse, he'll just think that handful is a bunch of bitches and he'll just go find some lame, passive woman who's afraid to tell him how she feels so his fragile little ego can be spared as he continues to cause excruciatingly awkward occurrences all over the dance floor.

Group classes are an excellent time to let them know. I usually say, with a cute little smile, "I'm not trying to be difficult, but I don't want to teach you a bad habit, so if you don't give me the right signal, (then I put on a slightly serious face) I'm not going." They usually smile and accept it. Not surprisingly, they actually learn this way. Some of them have actually thanked me later.

Unfortunately, you don't encounter most of them during classes. On the floor, it takes a little more will. Many a man has been taken aback by my refusal to just "go with it" when he's not really telling me where to go because every other women he's danced with has given him a false impression of his skills. I sometimes get irritated at him for it, but I really should be irritated with every other woman who has danced with him for letting him think he's The Dancing King when he's not even a very good court jester.

Ladies, this is true for both the bedroom and the dance floor: DON'T FAKE IT! Don't let him get away with thinking he's the king when he's awful. Don't smile and nod and just wait for him to finish. Not only are you giving him delusions of grandeur, but you're also ruining him for any women he encounters in the future. Don't pay the pain forward to all your sisters out there!

Let people call you a "bad follow." You wouldn't be a bad follow if he was a good lead and until women start to speak up, the floor will always be infiltrated by faulty leads blaming "bad" follows.

Women always tell me, "Go ahead and ask a guy to dance. Come on, it's the 21st century. Don't wait on him. Don't put your good time in other people's hands. If you want to have a good time, take control of the situation." Why should lead/follow be any different? I don't care if the entire dance world wants to say it's "wrong," you know it makes sense. Whenever any group is being treated unfairly, when they start to speak up, they're met with contention from people who prefer what's "traditional," over what's right. Fortunately, over time, people either realize the "traditional" way was wrong, and the ones who buy into "traditional" bullshit get old and die.

Eventually, lead and follow won't be dictated by gender. It might not even be in any of our lifetimes, but it's happening. Complain all you want about how "it used to be," or, "how it is." It won't be for long. You can either go with the flow, or sit in your shit. It's really up to you.

In the mean time, guys, look at your lives. ALL OF IT is really in women's control. The house, the job, the bills, the bank, the bedroom, EVERYTHING! The one and only place in the entire universe where you really have control is the dance floor. Don't fuck it up!