Like many teen boys growing up in '60s, I had no skills in the art of dating the feminine species. What I learned was largely gained through locker room talk and antiquated social behavior films in health class – both of which were horrible sources of valuable dating advice.
Somewhere along about the seventh grade, my active hormones planted me in the middle of a total fascination with girls. I began to love their lips, their eyes, and all the other more curvy parts of their anatomy. But I remained pretty much a fumbling idiot when it came to honing any swauve actions around girls.
This strange, new, adolescent urge baffled me. These same female classmates had been the "sissies with cooties" we boys had spent so much time avoiding, but now, suddenly, I wanted to hold a pretty girl's hand during the much-anticipated six weeks movie at the end of the grading term. And that tender appendage grasp was about as far as I knew how to take it in junior high.
Upon entering high school, my fascination turned into a total adoration of pretty girls. My young eyes continually confirmed the observation that girls matured so much quicker than most of us boys. Let's just say with each passing day old female playground companions were transforming into my favorite overdeveloped Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello.
By the time they were high school freshmen, not only did girls look more grown up, but they had mastered the talk, the body movements, and many other subtle methods of flirtation. I was very curious of their strange behaviors but their girlish skills left me more curious than ever about their intentions. I didn't have a sister, and my one older brother had long ago left our home since he was twelve years older than I was. I had been left to myself to figure out these overwhelming feminine ways and wiles.
I was pretty much clueless as to how I, a high school male sweating testosterone, was supposed to react with proper form and dignity. I decided to do more firsthand research, but, unfortunately, I found many pretty girls my age were beginning to date older guys, a more attractive source of companionship complete with hot transportation and "big time" experience. You know, the older guys had the wheels and the smooth lines.
Looking back now, it's no wonder so many young girls fell for upper classmen since classmates like me barely had the courage to talk with a “tuff” girl. I would say “hello” to a heartthrob upon which she immediately evoked her super powers to make me mutter, stammer and shake. With my nervous voice and jelly legs, my presence had the effect of a grey, wet blanket, and the friendly little chat of promise turned quickly to silence.
But there were sports and music to keep me occupied.
Music was my passionate hobby in high school, and my friends and I played in a group that did gigs around town. Those were the days of the English Invasion when rock ruled the charts and when every high school had a garage band or two. Girls liked to watch us practice and play, but our little circle of high school groupies were more like sisters to me than serious dating material.
Still, I found that three chords and a backbeat had quite an effect on girls, often causing them to break into gyrations of glorious motion. The vibrations of rock music animated their bones. And, nothing looked better to me than pretty bones dancing to a fast rhythm. Music definitely helped my popularity and increased my social contacts.
After-game dances were very important events on the high school calendar, social mixers that could potentially lead to “makeout” sessions and steadies. Many of these events featured a local radio DJ and recorded music. Nothing was hotter than a dance featuring DJ Al Mann spinning the hits. There were no elaborate stereo sound systems employed then, just simple mono setups with a microphone and a turntable. But when Al was in the building, he always rocked the house. That meant girls were dancing -- dancing with guys. Sexy girls, hot girls, steamy girls! Oh, them bones!
Still, I, like so many other girl-retarded idiots, enjoyed dancing with the restriction, of course, of “never making a big fool out of myself fast dancing.”
So I spent time at dances watching beautiful girls in miniskirts swinging all their wonderful parts and slow dancing. I was even unsure about the exact commitment a slow dance was to signify, so each trip to the floor was a big deal. My stiff back-and-forth slow dance moves were anything but graceful-- one hand around my partner's waist with my other clasping her hand moving her with a simple sway. “Belly rubbing” that might offend a nice girl was out of the question. Besides, rules banning PDA (public displays of affection) were strictly enforced by the chaperone Nazis.
Fast dances – forget it. Many guys like me lived to watch girls fast dance -- jerk, monkey, skate, boog-a-loo, swim, pony – but we were petrified about shaking our own stuff. This is not to say some boys didn't dance. They did, and they looked as if they were having fun. I just never could get over my fear of possible embarrassment. Playing the guitar in front of a crowd was one thing, but shaking my booty for all to see was another.
High school went by far too quickly as I continued to enjoy playing music, going to dances, and delving deeper and deeper into the mysteries of girls. Just about the time I graduated, I started getting more comfortable with social graces and establishing connections with girls and with potential girlfriends. Still, I just could never work up the courage to fast dance. I began to think I never would.
But, a little later in life, fueled by copious amounts of brew and the arrival of disco fever, I broke the barrier and danced fast. I felt a little silly at first but my date confirmed my movements were “fine.” We danced all night, fast and slow, and I realized what I had been missing. She told me how much she loved to dance with me, and we agreed to go out again.
I think about my past ignorance and the fun I had missed in high school on the sidelines while watching others fast dance. Inhabitions over, I continued to practice my newly discovered means of communication with girls, and I am so glad I did.
To High School Males
Here is my pitch to guys in high school. Almost all girls love to dance fast. If you fast dance, you will actually gain their confidence and strengthen your own. Instead of sitting out the fast dances and feeling self-conscious, you should just ask a pretty girl to dance, walk her to the floor and do your best to keep the beat. She knows “the ropes” and will appreciate your gesture.
Watch your partner because she will lead you. And, make eye contact with her and others on the floor, but don't stare. Feel the movement and go with what people around you are doing. Smile, but don't act goofy. Many people dancing are just as self-conscious as you, so don't worry about people watching you. Even if someone teases you a little, don't worry because you are building your skills. If you don't participate, your girl may think something is wrong with her.
I finally learned to do this by saying to myself, “To me, no guy looks great fast dancing. We all look like amateurs. After all, we're all men in the same vulnerable “boat” with a potential for leaking when it comes to pleasing women. Most girls like to dance. So, we have to get over our self fear, get out there, and confidently move to the beat because we are expected to provide an opportunity for our pretty partners to be centers of attention. No one really cares what we look like when we fast dance anyway. Just remember, we should never make a spectacle of ourselves that takes away from our partner's attractive performance.”
Research For Non-Believers
Research confirms that if a man dances, no matter how good or bad, it tells a woman that he has a healthy amount of confidence. And, of course, the more a man dances, the more confident he becomes. This can be applied to pretty much any social skill. Practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not “perfect” in terms of dance prowess, but it makes a dancer apt to feel comfortable on the floor.
A man who dances tells women indirectly that he likes to try new things and have fun, which says a lot about his character. Most guys who can't dance aren't afraid to confess that they're bad dancers - in fact, it seems like a macho thing to be a guy who doesn't dance - but the “special” ones do something about it. They actually feel better about themselves by developing a little rhythm and movement.
Some research says that dancing for humans could signal whether a male is fit because it requires the expenditure of a lot of energy. These researchers think dance is an honest signal to women of a man's strength and health, just as it is in crabs and hummingbirds.
“It makes sense that women would care about men's ability to dance,” says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She continues, "For millions of years, a man with well-coordinated movements of the head, neck, and trunk (which he used when throwing weapons) probably signaled his ability to provide" According to women, the best dancers were those who had a wide range of dance moves and focused on the head, neck and torso (and not arm and leg movements).
Bernhard Fink, PhD., an anthropologist, states, “To ladies, good dancers seem to be more attractive and more masculine. They often see a man who dances well as confident, outgoing, social and conscientious.” On the other hand, some women view men who can't dance as uptight or neurotic. They are particularly turned off by small or slow movements, and by guys who repeat the same move over and over again.
The results from another survey taken from 500 women ages 25 through 60 years old, single and married, shows when a woman knows the pleasure of dancing in the arms of a man, it is next to impossible to settle for anything less. In fact 90% of the women said they could tell what kind of a lover a man would be by the way he danced with her and they could tell his level of sincerity towards her by observing the way he danced with other women. Either he is a player, shy, inhibited or uninhibited, aggressive or passive.
Dancing also shows a man has a certain level of refinement. If a man is masculine but also enjoys the arts as well, he indicates to women he is interested in becoming more than just his job and seeking more out of life than just eating, sleeping and working.
Yet another benefit relates to play. Music and dancing touch a woman in a very profound and unique way. They enable her to let the everyday problems of life seem less significant and help unlock the playful and sensuous side of her personality.
One last word or two of advice. Ask a woman to fast dance before you ask her to slow dance. Think of the intimacy involved and this advice will make some sense. Always be nice and ask her, “May I have this dance.” If she declines, politely thank her anyway. If she accepts, pay special attention to your partner's skill level and never attempt to “outdance” her. Above all, have fun and good luck with finding your Tiny Dancer.