Finding out what women want in a male dancer
Sometime before writing this article I conducted a survey of women on my email list dedicated to sharing knowledge on how to become better at partner dancing. This survey was all about what women have issues with in men when dancing. By looking at what women do not like about men when dancing with them it is possible to become a better dancer: one that women want to dance with, not just once, but again and again. This article will go over the issues raised and talk about what you can do to become a better man in partner dancing.
The results of what women spoke about as being major issues can be broken down into two large groups:
- Dancing and
I will go over each in turn.
It is probably no surprise to you that the major issue women raised with men when dancing was lead and the second was frame. However, the issues with lead were at the extremes: too soft and too harsh (too soft was the most common issue). The issue with frame was always that it was sloppy. Around 25% or women explicitly raised each of these issues. Another issue that might be related to this (although maybe to concentration or nervousness) was what one woman called ‘the death grip’. Around 7% of women raised this issue.
The issue of frame and leading were definitely the major issues. However, a number of other issues presented themselves that, while small, were interesting and worth being aware of. They were:
- Not knowing the limitations of the woman – trying to get her to do things beyond her
- Not using all of the dance floor – when it was a dance that involved travel
- Not using all of his body
- Kicking the toes of the woman – due to poor footwork
- Doing the same steps again and again – it gets boring
So with regards to actual dancing if a man wants to be better, then he clearly needs to focus on his leading and frame. They both need to be strong, but the lead also needs to be measured. However, a basic awareness of the woman’s ability, dancing properly and dancing with some variety will also help.
We like to think we have social skills, but it does seem we need to be aware of how women feel around us. The major etiquette issue was invading personal space when the woman was not comfortable with it. Around 25% of women mentioned that.
It also seems us men aren’t as appreciated for our efforts to teach as we might think. Around 20% or women said that they didn’t appreciate men offering instruction. This was especially the case when the man didn’t know what he was talking about or did so in a social dance environment.
We might do this due to the next most common issue women raised with men when dancing: Arrogance! This was almost as common an issue as giving unwanted instruction. However, around half as many women cited a lack of confidence too. So you need to be sure of what you’re doing, but don’t act like you’re doing the lady a favor or better than you really are. And certainly think twice before blaming the woman for something going wrong (it seems she might not think it’s her, but that was a small percentage).
Also as common was the issue of hygiene. It seems 20% of women have had an issue with it. This included body odor and bad breath. You might think chewing gum is a partial solution, but that was also raised as something women didn’t like (but it was only a few percent). Still, at 20% it probably means we men all need to shower, brush our teeth and take some breath mints before going dancing.
Some other issues included:
- Counting the steps to her (possibly seen as condescending or a mood killer),
- playing favorites (it’s nice to realize that you need to share yourself around),
- focusing too much on the steps instead of the partner (but don’t think that means she wants to talk; she probably wants to converse through dance) and
- not listening in class (seems some of us haven’t grown up yet).
From an etiquette point of view you can become a man women enjoy dancing with by being confident, but still focusing on how the woman feels (and trying to make this better); maintaining good hygiene and sharing yourself around while focusing seriously on being as good a dancer as you can.
By following the above to improve your dance ability and etiquette, you will become a man that women want to dance with. There are possibly more issues (the survey is still ongoing at the time of writing this), but the above is certainly a good start.