Just ask her to dance

Dear Men,

Have you ever been to a wedding or a party and seen a bunch of women dancing together, perhaps in a circle?

Yes? Thought so.

Well, guess what? They may look like they’re having a great time, but they’re only doing this because YOU haven’t asked any of them to dance. I’m willing to bet if you walked up to one and asked her, she’d abandon the campfire boogie for you in a heartbeat.

Women love to dance. But most of all, women love to dance with men. If no men ask them, they will end up dancing in a circle with all the other partnerless ladies (in my case, shooting envious looks at the ones with partners).

I know what you’re thinking: I can’t dance.

Maybe. Maybe not. I’m going to throw a bold figure out here – 99% of men say they can’t dance. Now statistically, that’s impossible (and yes, I’m aware I just made up that statistic based purely on subjective experience). My point is, most men think they can’t dance, but many of them can.

I’ve danced with numerous men who have profusely apologised for their lack of talent before stepping onto the dance floor – only for me to discover they’re actually really good. Maybe they haven’t learned how to dance, but they’ve got the skill.

If you’re not confident in dancing, go take lessons! Ballroom, swing, salsa – I don’t really care, and neither will she. Men who can dance are attractive to women. And dancing, like any other skill, can be learned.

Chances are that, sooner or later, you will be in a situation where there is dancing, and women are wishing that a man would ask them onto the floor. You don’t have to be Fred Astaire – most women will appreciate the fact that you had the balls to ask. Don’t believe me? Try it and see.

And who knows? You might actually like it.

Sincerely,
Anna

Update: A comment from a reader:

As a young man I did this on quite a few occasions and was shot down, quite brutally on many occasions.

I don’t think you fully appreciate how much courage it sometimes takes to walk up to a stranger and ask them to dance. As a young man, rejection knocks away at your self confidence and self esteem and when it happens repeatedly you begin to avoid the situation.

Thank you for sharing this. I’m sorry that you’ve been shot down badly in the past. Sadly, some women are just ungrateful and rude. I don’t speak for them, but for the dozens and dozens I know, talk to and see who are longing to be asked to dance. And trust me, they are. Women talk about this all the time.

I really do appreciate how hard it is – that’s why I said most women will appreciate the very fact that you’ve asked. We know it takes guts. This ‘letter’ was meant as an encouragement. Don’t let past failures turn you off forever! If you’re not a confident dancer, take a beginner’s class in ballroom or swing. Apart from anything else, it’s a wonderful confidence boost once you get the basics.

A number of other commenters have mentioned how tough it is to ‘break the circle’ of women. I appreciate this. Personally I hate the campfire circle – I can feel how unappealing it must be to any men wanting to grab a partner. But women don’t form these circles consciously; it just happens. I think of it as a natural response to the self-consciousness of being on the dance floor without a partner. You just naturally form a sort of ‘protective’ circle to be united with your other partnerless peers. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but it does just happen. Saying ‘women should stop doing this’ isn’t going to solve anything.

Perhaps the trick is to get the girl right away, before she joins the circle of doom. Just a thought.

22 thoughts on “Just ask her to dance

  1. From a man who says he isn’t good at dancing/doesn’t know how: I’ve got no argument against your points haha. I wonder if our generation hasn’t had enough dads actually telling us this. Seems like my parents’ generation, and definitely my grandparents’, actually took the initiative to do things like this. I’ve wondered why so many men I know, myself included, are so reticent to try these kind of things. I know my dad never taught me, and my group of friends were all the exact same way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liberal parenting, however well intended, is practically speaking a form of abandonment. If I were to offer my unsolicited advice to men it would be:
      1. Have a career. You don’t necessarily have to be high-status and wealthy, but a clear career path helps immensely.
      2. Be in good physical shape. Women like strength, and not just physical strength. Be well read, memorize good poetry to recite at charged moments, etc. Wax philosophical and rhapsodic under the night stars from time to time. Women love that stuff and it makes us better men, too. Though don’t forget to be a bit stoic and mysterious just beyond her comprehension. I know, I know…it’s a paradox.
      3. Yes, as Miss Hitchings suggests, learn to dance.

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  2. I can confirm this. I do competitive ballroom dance and, thus, am around dance studios a lot. Very few young men take lessons. I’m telling you guys, women love to dance. If you even try, they appreciate it. If you have a minimum competence, you become popular. If you are good at it, you are absolute gold with them – at least on the dance floor. I get to dance with a lot of pretty young women by default because I’m a decent dancer and there aren’t enough other guys who ask them – or who are even present at dances! I’m telling you younger guys, this is an easy entree, a way to get to do know women and make a favorable impression. I wish I would have known about this when I was younger!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would recommend a cup or two of coffee instead of alcohol. Rather than lowering inhibitions, one can energetically leap over them.

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  3. As a young man I did this on quite a few occasions and was shot down, quite brutally on many occasions.
    I don’t think you fully appreciate how much courage it sometimes takes to walk up to a stranger and ask them to dance. As a young man, rejection knocks away at your self confidence and self esteem and when it happens repeatedly you begin to avoid the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A response:
    Dear Ladies-
    With the destruction of etiquette, social rules for dating and the weaponization of a purposefully ambiguous definition of harassment, it is often unclear to many men when they are welcome to approach.
    As Miss Hitchens implies, women may dance together as a form of self-protection in sisterhood, but it looks a whole lot like circling the wagons. Like it or not, an invitation to dance is implicitly an invitation to THE dance and this ups the stakes. This is harder for many men to do when there is a phalanx of women to get through in order to ask our intended lady. Sometimes the prospect of charging a machine gun nest would seem preferable.
    I don’t think it used to be that way as one hears tales of dating before the 1960s and the destruction caused by the sexual revolution. There was still low-stakes dating, with clear rules for people to learn how to interact and gain social skills. Not so much anymore. The past few generations have been left to their own devices and to altogether horrible results. Hence, the Hitchingsian Conundrum.
    Here are a few things, coming from a man, that women can do that might help bring clarity to a confusing situation.
    1) If a man you are interested in is trying to make eye contact with you, briefly but clearly return eye contact and maybe smile–sweetly, genuinely. No need to be brazen of course, but this usually works wonders.
    2) If talking to a man you are interested in, a light, brief touch on the forearm, perhaps in response to a joke sends a clear signal as well. Admittedly, this should probably come later in the process.
    The gentler sex probably knows all this already. As far as I can tell, it is part of the female toolkit that I would guess has deep roots in our nature. Maybe all this has been tried and has already failed. Nonetheless, I have noticed a good amount of mixed-signals between men and women as of late. It really looks like we are almost intending to miss each other. If so, this is a destructive feedback loop which both parties need to try and break in order to set ourselves back on a more productive course.
    Sincerely,
    Underground Thomist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s astonishing getting into the PUA scene and finding out about the likes of Roosh, RSD and Mystery (among many others). They’ve literally written textbooks containing all sorts of insights from social psychology, and all sorts of blueprints and complex models on how to approach women, combined in some cases with Eastern mysticism. Just to figure out how to talk to a woman in the modern age. Guys spend thousands of dollars and years of their life trying to sort all this stuff out.

      A lot of the time I’m actually just baffled at how my parents and grandparents ever got together.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Agreed,talking about feedback loops , global warming or climate change ,which one would be the perfect ice breaker to kick start things.

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  5. This will sound terribly terrible, but I may as well be honest about it.
    As a single dad, I love dancing with my kids. I’ll do it whenever and no matter who’s watching, and I don’t care if I’m good at it or bad at it. When I dance with my children, it’s always felt as though it’s about *us* communicating with and enjoying each other.
    But I’ve always hated dancing with women and still do. This is the terrible part and will make me sound petty. But dancing with women, it’s always felt to me as though I’m just there to let my counterpart show off—have the moves, get to play the princess, being seen dancing with a man, etc.
    As though I become an accessory. It’s not comfortable.
    Maybe I’ve always met the wrong women. (Given the fact that I’m divorced, it’s entirely likely.)

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  6. It’s not the dancing that’s the issue now days, as most dancing today is just non-rhythmic head-nodding and jerking motions. If women are looking to meet a man, the last thing I’d recommend would be to dance in groups, especially in a circle. Most men will find it too intimidating to approach for a number of reasons:
    1. For a start, getting rejected stings so much more, it’s like being rejected by 4-5 girls at once rather than just the one;
    2. You end up having to entertain a whole group of girls, and basically have to be some extroverted alpha chad to cut through;
    3. Most girls won’t admit it, but they tend to sabotage each other. During my ‘pick up artist’ days I would frequently approach groups of girls and find that one of them might be quite interested, but the friends (often the less attractive girls) would do all they could to drag the friend away or drive me off by being rude. This is where you get into that whole aspect of guys having to have ‘wingmen’ to distract the friends, and be willing to ‘jump on a grenade’ or ‘take one for the team’ by attempting to entertain the unattractive friend. It’s a massive headache.
    4. As weird as it sounds, there are certain logistics to approaching a girl. If you’re dancing in a closed circle, you’ve effectively got your back to everyone else and it’s kind of weird for an ‘outsider’ trying to break in to the circle. This all tends to be amplified by men’s terror of being ‘that creepy guy’. If a girl wants to be approached, she should make it easier for herself to be separated from the herd, so it’s easier for a guy to interact with her 1-on-1.
    Miss Hitchings’ advice feels more suited to a long-gone age which no longer exists. Men have been brought up in the era of #MeToo and ‘Toxic Masculinity’, where the line between courtship and harassment is incredibly grey and fuzzy. Most men have realized that where the line is exactly will largely depend on the girl’s incredibly subjective opinion of how attractive he is.
    The whole thing reminds me of this video:

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No man is going to walk into a group of women dancing together and cull one from the herd. By adulthood, women are supposed to have enough social experience to know that circling up among themselves sends a clear obvious message to the men. “We don’t need you. Go away.”

    So how do you do it, then? There’s a protocol, a set of signals sent in both directions. This article describes it. It’s older than many readers of this site, which shows you how long the “system” has been broken.

    https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=134

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  8. I like dancing. I asked many girls to dance as a youth and young adult. I recommend every young man learn some basic dances.
    That being said, this script needs to be flipped. Girls and women sitting back waiting for some guy to get enough courage to see if he will get a dance is ridiculous. This pattern as expressed here is a recipe for failure.
    Women, not men, are the gatekeepers. Men can be interested as much as they want, but it is the woman that decides if there can be anything at all. As per this standard expressed in this post, men must ask, ask, ask, and risk getting shot done, essentially cold calling.
    Sorry, it just unproductive.
    I am reminded of two sisters I knew at the university. The beautiful one stayed in her apartment never dating, expecting some guy would come and ask her out. The other, younger and far less attractive, dated nonstop, always had a boyfriend. But she went out and socialized with the men and showed interest, so one the men responded and they dated.
    The older sister told me her dilemma one night. She likely did so to encourage me to ask her out, but, looking back, I missed those subtle clues. Instead, I gave her advice: leave her apartment, go sit next to the pool, or lay on the grass. I promised her that she would get interested guys almost immediately.
    She did it and had her first date in several years the next week. I think she was married within a year.
    Looking back now, I almost never had a girlfriend who didn’t make it very clear she wanted me to date her, first.
    Ruth and Esther put themselves out there and didn’t wait in their rooms.

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  9. Miss Hitchings-
    Of course, now that you know that the “circle of doom” is counterproductive to your own goals you can choose to break them up. To set things right both men and women are going to have to be uncomfortable. Spread the word to your female friends!
    You are correct in asking men to risk rejection. In return, we are asking the ladies to risk feeling vulnerable and not clump together in unwelcoming groups. Which doesn’t mean women have to stand there alone. Yet, believe it or not, even three women together begins to seem closed off to most men.
    There is the whole feminist hatred of men saying women should smile more. Women *should* smile if they want to be approached. Body language is key here. Be open and welcoming. There isn’t all that much risk if women are in protected environments like weddings or similar events. I’m not saying you should necessarily do this at the supermarket.
    Of course, that means you *will* be approached and often by men who don’t make the cut. This is where having a kind, compassionate yet clear and firm way to let men down is necessary. Consult with your female friends and have a response ready in advance.
    Or maybe women should just dance with the less-than-ideal man, It may signal to other men that you are approachable, i.e. “shoot, if she’ll dance with *him*, she might dance with me”,
    Nobody is coming to work this out for us, instead, we must break up the bad habits that keep us from each other.
    Sincerely,
    Underground Thomist.

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    1. So far from what I’ve seen of this blog, there appears to be a common thread, which is always that men need to do more. Women apparently have no agency whatsoever.
      Most of the commenters here appear to be men, who have realized that taking dating advice from a woman is usually a bad idea. If this was going to be of real value, I’d expect it to talk more to women and make suggestions like:
      – Stand in a place where you can be easily approached (separate yourself from the ‘Circle of Doom’ slightly);
      – Make eye contact;
      – Smile sweetly;
      – Try not to speak in a sarcastic or acerbic tone;
      – If you must reject a man, try and be polite and discrete about it.
      I’m not going to deny that men need to do work, but what I’ve seen with many men is that they’ll come to a point in their life when they realize nothing’s working for them, and will carry out a brutal self-examination of what’s going wrong. From there they’ll work on getting fit, dressing well and building their confidence.
      From what I’ve seen of women, they just seem to persist in their folly until it’s too late.

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  10. You already mentioned how “I meet men I’m attracted to very seldom” in a previous post. Now you share your frustration that men don’t ask you (or other women) to dance. At least on the bright side, even if men did ask you to dance, chances are that you wouldn’t be attracted to them. And for a single-and-ready woman like you, more unattractive guys thinking maybe they have a shot with you (even if it’s just dancing) would be so awkward. So maybe dancing with your girlfriends isn’t so bad, eh?

    On a different note, this quote was notable.

    “Saying ‘women should stop doing this’ isn’t going to solve anything.”

    That’s quite a rich statement in a post written to influence the other gender’s behavior!

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  11. The other aspect of this that I don’t think anyone has pointed out is that most of the music played at modern weddings isn’t suitable for dancing. I’ve been fortunate to live in the South and so two-stepping and line dancing is popular at weddings. But I’ve been to plenty of weddings where the music is just pop and hip-hop. The kind of “dancing” that goes along with that is either unchaste or undignified. I don’t dance to it on principle.

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  12. Fathers should encourage sons to learn how to dance as it’s an awesome skill and it’s fun. Unfortunately, it’s hard to become a competent dancer without actually dancing with girls/women. Moms may have to step up and give the first few lessons and risk their toes taking a beating.

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