Monday, November 4, 2013

Men: It's time for your "Coming Out"!

The closet of you inner child has to be
sound proof not to dance
By accident, I came across a man's sincere question on "Yahoo Answers":

"Why do so many women like to dance? What is so fun about it? ... Every answer I have found is, "It's fun." Well why is it fun? I am not trying to cut down dance in any way and am not being macho. I just want to understand why so many women like dancing .... In my experience few men like to dance.

"If someone can present me with statistics to the contrary, I will be happy to take back my remarks on the issue.... I am taking a dance class and embarrass myself there every time I attend. I know what it feels like to look like a fool..."


Please stop here and think about how would answer the man (Bucky) in a few sentences on a piece of paper.

What?!  You only have a smart phone and a computer?

Okay, you don't have a pen in the house and no paper to write on except junk mail.  Okay, so text a male friend in the contact list in your phone who would ask you a question like Bucky did.  But don't hit the send button just yet.

What would you say?  To your male friend who would like to dance but is afraid?

Here are my assumptions:

(1) Most tangueras, I would wager, will answer Bucky's question as if it were valid--that it is indeed true that women somehow like to dance more and are even better at dancing than men. From their experience of seeing too many women sitting and waiting for a dance, tangueras (outside of Latin America) think that women like to dance more.  Female tango blog writers love to slam men; so I have lots of empirical data on this subject of female opinion.

(2)  I think most tangueros would have a good answer which would counter Bucky's question. At the outset they would say that the question is flawed in formulation.  I think they would take out the gender difference. Tangueros know that tango is heaven.  Dancing is heaven.  Yet, even tangueros, generally do not understand why other men do not dance.  To tell you the truth, we tangueros are simply glad we can enjoy dancing with the most beautiful women in the world without competing with hordes of good, young dancers.

So Bucky, this is my answer in two sentences:  

Bucky come out of the closet!  The little boy in you that once joyfully danced needs to come out of that stuffy closet and move to the music!

But Bucky might not understand in just two sentences.  The two sentences sound good, but that does not take away his fear and embarrassment: He says, "I am taking a dance class and embarrass myself there every time I attend. I know what it feels like to look like a fool...."

So Bucky, one guy to another, let me suggest something:  You have some very culturally flawed assumptions. Many cultures around the world have a balance of dancers (male/female).  Because of male musculature, men are often the best dancers in any particular culture.  Street dancers in the US are an example.  Your question really should be:  "What happened in my cultural background that I have been robbed from the natural human desire to dance?"  Even more to the point:  You should wonder why your European or North American culture predicts the blocking of your basic humanity.  The only very young animals who dance to music are humans.  Humans are naturally obsessed with music.  We make musical instruments and sing out songs that were never sung before (unlike birds whose "song" is a predetermined set of tones).  What happened in your development that robbed you from your humanity, Bucky?

Surely another male in a different culture, would ask:  "What is wrong with those European and American men?  Why are they so disconnected from their body that they are afraid to dance?"  Don't they know that if you don't dance you have fewer chances to date the most wonderful women?   A recent Facebook discussion made the assumption that men are disconnected from their bodies.  "Men"?  You mean the whole planet?  Men and women are remarkably the same in every research question placed before the scrutiny of the scientific model of inquiry.  Is dance going to be the exception?  No creo.

So Bucky, let me answer the Latino who dances salsa in Havana.  I think I can answer that foreign man's question of why gringos have a block from dancing:

Sir, we North Americans and Europeans have grown up in a culture in which it is not masculine to dance.  They know nothing of the alpha males in your culture who are great dancers, and those with a lack of self-esteem don't dare dance in fear of being laughed at.  Only men in our culture are called "dancing fools," never a woman.  At early ages were are told we are sissies by men and women alike if we dance past the older toddler stage of development.  If we didn't mind those obstacles and still were dancing we are called gay.  Sir, even at milongas in the US, some women around us wonder if we are gay if we like to dance.  They don't say it to us, but the talk among themselves:  "You think he is gay?"  Sir, even if we are truly not gay, adore women, love to hold them and dance all night, many female, "expert" dance teachers STILL think that women are somehow better at dancing.  (When in fact they are creating the obstacles that hold me back.  Thank you Ms. Tango-Teacher -- you know who you are.)

The title "It's Time for your Coming Out" is not a play on words.  Heterosexual men have a lot to learn from the bravery of homosexual men who have "come out," telling parents, friends and acquaintances that they are who they are.   Let me say this very directly.  It takes a lot of balls to "come out."  And gays are the guys who show more courage than many hetero men will in the things they need to come out with about who they are.  Men, you are dancers.  That is the core of who you are as a human!

Gay men are who they are and don't give a damn what others would say or do to make them be someone they are not.  Sure they are indeed good dancers because they allow their basic humanity to come out.  Heterosexuals need to learn how to let the little boy at his very core out of the closet. That boy is naturally a dancer. If you are worried what people think of your basic humanity, then you will never "come out."  Gay men have to face either hiding themselves forever or come out of the dark, lonely closet.  For heterosexual men, the little boy inside of us who once danced has been standing in a sound-proof, stuffy closet for years, wanting to be a man who can hear the music and is free to dance.

Man to man, Bucky, I am sad that that little boy in you is still hiding.  The door has no lock, but you still sit there afraid.  It's time for your Coming Out party.  There will be music and therefore, dancing, and you will no longer be the fool of all fools, the non-dancing fool!

Now, text your friend.  Do you still believe your original text is fair or helpful for your male friend?  Did you tell him about the little boy who wants to dance who is in the closet?  Rewrite (if you have to) and hit send.  Too many little boys need their "Coming Out" party.

PS:  Here's an kick in the but for those who still do not get it.  Men around the world are great dancers.  If that is not true in your back yard, sorry to hear it.  That little boy in a man's body whom you know needs some help, and he doesn't need another person keeping him in his closet!  Count the girls in this video.

Japanese men:

Imagine being called a sissy in Russia after doing this as a young boy: (click on "Russia" above).

Here's another post on this subject:

Photo credit.  Small boy in closet.

1 comment:

  1. "even tangueros don't understand why men don't like to dance"

    not sure if you tried to anwer this in your post. i don't think it's the fear of ridicule. my dance partner is very sensitive to this issue, to the point he does not dare as i do to go to a mllonga (i could write a post of the humiliation of dancing at a milonga as a fresh learner) but he enjoys the class as much as i do.

    so why is it that fewer men than women pass the door of a dance class is the real question because once they do they often don't walk out again...

    is it considered too old-fashionned? too effeminate? or what?


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