Guys, if you need a reason to take ballroom dance lessons, here it is: the woman has to do what you want. You lead. The woman follows. End of story.
Until you get off the dance floor.
Then your relationship goes back to normal. But as our instructor likes to say, "On the hardwood, the man holds the remote control; once a couple leaves the studio and steps on the rug, anything goes."
Well, over 99% of the time I hold the remote control at home also. And I do the car driving about that percentage as well. It just seems natural to me. To my wife, Laurel, also, or I wouldn't be changing channels and holding the steering wheel so much.
Laurel and I just finished an East Coast Swing series of lessons. We had a good time, falling into our usual strengths and weaknesses. I'm most competent at remembering moves and step patterns, which is essential for leading. Laurel is better at keeping in time with the music, and getting the feel of a dance style down.
Together, we balance each other out.
I'll correct Laurel when she forgets a step, and she'll remind me when I've lost the rhythm of a song (often because I'm concentrating too much on leading the movements).
Whenever we go dancing, I end up feeling that some sort of cosmic yin-yang equilibrium has been restored. Around the house Laurel often takes the lead, while I follow along in a husbandly "yes, dear" mode.
But on the dance floor I enjoy making the decisions. Plus, there's no decision about who's going to make the decision. The man leads and the woman follows in ballroom dance.
Sweet and simple.
For both the man and woman. I'm all for gender equality...when it makes sense. However, men and women are different (to state the obvious).
As Johanna Siegmann writes in “The Tao of Tango":
Leading is male energy; so the male always begins because men have dominant male energy. Following is female energy, so women follow because they have dominant female energy.
Dominant does not mean total or entire. In the context of our natural balance of our energies, it means the major portion. In the context of Tango, it means that once the man leads and the woman follows, the woman must complete the step and the man must wait.
The energies are shifted. Doing the step: male energy. Waiting for the step to be complete: female energy. They shift back and forth…Tango helps us get balanced because it requires the highest level of communication without words. It also requires us to use both these energies, and so develops them.
Yes, we're talking about the dominant side of most men and most women. A man has to be able to follow his partner on the dance floor, just as a woman needs to be able to lead in her own fashion.
Yet the basic male/female energies are decidedly different.
I believe that's a big part of the reason why ballroom dancing is so satisfying for a couple. It highlights the natural "Me Tarzan, you Jane" distinctions between a man and a woman.
A man feels more masculine, a woman more feminine. That's erotic.
I feel a subtle sensual tingle in my psyche when our instructor says, "Girls, you've got to keep your left hand available in case your man asks for it," or "Guys, your girl isn't going to know where you want her to go if you don't lead that turn decisively."
Women often worry too much about what to do, or what needs to be done. On the ballroom dance floor they can leave that aside: just follow what the man leads.
Men often are concerned about seeming too controlling in a relationship. When dancing they can relax and simply take charge for a while.
So if you've been thinking of taking some dance lessons, do it. It'll be good for your yin-yang balance.