Following a man’s lead

by Dating Goddess on June 20, 2011

Since my divorce, I’ve had a fear of dance classes. Not because I’m concerned about following the steps — I’m reasonably adept at that. But it’s for another reason — something that I think might plague other accomplished women.

It might be something that you struggle with yourself.

I’m concerned that I won’t be able to follow a man’s lead.

For 20 years, I slow-danced with one man — my husband. I knew his moves. He wasn’t a strong leader (in anything, really), but I learned his steps and could follow along quite nicely.

Post divorce, I slow-danced with only a few beaus, and rarely in public. They held me so closely, it was impossible not to sway with them.

But dance class — in the arms of a strange man, doing a dance with specific steps I was supposed to follow. Oy vey! It was so scary, I stayed away from any dancing that would require being in a hold.

This was magnified exponentially when I had the melt down on the dance floor with the astronaut a few months ago. When this man I had just met pulled me close on our first (and only) dance, I froze. I didn’t move when he tried to move me. My statue-like state caused him to count the beat in my ear. I was humiliated.

So a few weeks ago I decided I needed to break through this barrier. I screwed up my courage and attended a salsa dance class, having convinced a gal pal to accompany me for moral support.

The instructor had the women rotate partners, so I danced with 8 men several times. Most of them were weak leads, but I fought the urge to take over. I survived — and even enjoyed it. But how would I be with a man who knew how to lead? Would I be able to follow even when they weren’t leading? Passivity wasn’t a strong suit.

This weekend, I got to experiment again, attending the  second class. This time, there were only 3 students — all women — so we got to take turns dancing with the three instructors.

Commenting on what I thought was a normal hand hold in our first turn together, the primary instructor, Frank, said, “I’d hate to meet you in a back alley — you’re strong.” It didn’t seem like a compliment. In our second turn, I thought I was following nicely when he said “You have to let the man lead. If you don’t, he feels emasculated.” I wasn’t appreciating his editorializing. Just tell me what I need to do to dance well, don’t lecture to me.

It fed into my insecurities about not knowing how to follow. So much so, I checked out the impressions with a younger, strong-leading instructor with whom I’d danced. He said I followed just fine.

What’s your experience with learning to follow? Do you have any issues with it or do you just naturally follow a man’s dance lead? Have you gained any insights if you had to learn this behavior?

————————

Want to  know more about what you’ll encounter when starting to date again? Download your copy of Dipping Your Toe in the Dating Pool: Dive In Without Belly Flopping

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: