Rejection and tango

If anyone has ever turned you down when you have asked for a dance at a milonga - without an explanation - you will have experienced some reaction... maybe it was 'what have I done?' 'don't they consider I'm good enough for them?' 'don't they want to be seen dancing with me?' it will be something that voice your feelings of inadequacy - as a dancer and perhaps also as a person. I rarely ask a man to dance, not because I fear rejection (though I do) , but because I get a real buzz out of being asked. This of course can mean that I often sit out much more than I would like to - even though I consider myself quite sociable.
Recently a male dancer I am close to was rejected by a younger woman dancer, someone who, up until then had been quite friendly. No reason given, just 'no thank you'. He was quite taken aback though this is not the first time he has been refused in the 8plus years he has been dancing - and more taken aback by the abruptness of the answer I think, than the actual refusal.
He confided in me that he will probably never ask this person to dance again - maybe that is what she wanted, he will never know. But if it wasn't then perhaps a short explanation (even a white lie) would have been kinder... what do you think?
Sometime I think that we all take tango too seriously, and sometimes I think it becomes more like playground politics than a friendly social gathering of people who enjoy the same music and culture.


Arlene said…
Regardless of the social situation, if someone says no thank you, just forget about it and move on. Who really cares what the reason is? And would you really want to know? I don't know what it is about a milonga or any other dance situation that brings out the playground mentality in people. There are a few posts on my blog that address this issue. We are supposed to be adults and we have choices about what we want to do or who we dance with - like dating.
Of course you are right Arlene. This person was rather hurt because he thought he was friendly enough with the woman for an explanation. Funny how refusal on the dance floor has this effect when refusal anywhere else is better accepted!
Arlene said…
Well, I am friendly with a lot of men I don't dance with and don't go into detail when saying no thank you. I also know when to move on so they don't have time to ask me. Sometimes it is better not to have and explanation. If he asks again and she still says no, then maybe he shouldn't ask anymore. Men that get refused dances should look at themselves and make a check list: Do I have bad breath or body odour? Are my clothes clean and tidy enough? Am I too sweaty? If the man is clean and tidy, then it must be his dancing, and that is something he should work on. It really is that simple.
It was to protect our fragile egos that the practice of the cabeceo developed. Had your friend used it when trying to engage the lady for a dance, the refusal wouldn't have taken place, unless you regard avoiding direct eye contact as a refusal. Once a tango community starts to use the cabeceo, these problems begin to disappear.

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