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From Shy Man to Gentleman Lead'...

posted Dec 29, 2014, 12:32 AM by Sophia de Lautour   [ updated Dec 29, 2014, 12:33 AM ]
Sharing an excerpt from a post in Tango Truisms about the transition from 'shy man to Gentleman Lead'. It may also be reassuring for women beginning their tango journey and apprehensive about dancing at milongas to know that many men have similar insecurities and fears.

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 image source: Tango Truisms

'Today's ‪#‎Body‬ Truism 852: 

Let's be clear from the outset that this Truism is not condoning behavior that under any other circumstances would be socially reprehensible. It's more of a statement of what actually happens for some men (see notation). Let's paint a picture, shall we ? Man goes to Milonga, sort of half knowing what to do, not all that sure of things. Is painfully shy about this whole Tango business to begin with, face to face with women, close to them. There are beautiful women everywhere he looks. They're dressed to the 9's, smell great, and the shoes (yes, some men do actually notice the shoes)...they're just sparkly and pretty things. They all move so amazingly gracefully. When he works up the courage to ask someone to dance, his cabaceo, like his teacher told him he should, goes all wrong! 

An exceptionally pretty woman, dressed in skimpy this and that, sitting next to the intended target gets his cabaceo just as the target was turning her head. Disaster strikes! Panic. He smiles nervously for a moment and then walks towards her. She's already out of her seat walking towards him. He extends his hand to escort her to the floor, he remembers to make eye contact with oncoming Lead and then when it's clear, then steps on the floor. He's very nervous. She's so pretty, and it's been forever since he's been this close to a woman, and a pretty one at that! 

Thought and reason go right out the window, as does the music, wait...there's music playing ? There's a long moment and then the very pretty woman immediately jumps into his arms in close embrace. Tightly wrapping herself around him. It's right about this point that he loses what little self control he had to begin with and this is where we stop painting the picture. 

This scene is representative of the trepidation that some men have when faced with actually dancing close embrace with women. And truthfully some men never get over it. They hide it with vocabulary, moves, steps and patterns. Truthfully there is outright fear of touching body parts that society says is a major no-no unless you are married to that person, or seeing that person socially. Tango throws that all out the window and says to men, "Go ahead, touch. You have to!" And for some men that's just way too much. It goes against everything that they've been taught. 

At the same time, to be fair, there are some men that treat this as an opportunity like they're kids in a candy store! And for those men, that's not ok for them to do so. 

So what is this Truism really about ? It's about the painfully shy men that have to get over being in close proximity to a woman that isn't their lover and having to turn off their fear and be Leads and never a lothario! It's about the transition from shy man to Gentleman Lead. This is a hard one (no pun intended) for some men to get. Being a gentleman is a choice, it's learned behavior that this dance requires of them. For those men at the beginning of this curve, it's the acknowledgement that this is a dance and nothing more than that. It does not mean that they're going to sleep with that pretty woman in their arms, nor does it mean a date, nor does it mean anything close to romantic in any way, shape, or form. It means that for 9 minutes they are dancing with someone, a little small talk in between the songs, but to be honest that's it, that's all. ©2014 Tango Truisms.

Notation: There is a corollary to this Truism. It's about the female version of this. And it's nothing like what you imagine. Yes there are women who show up at Tango from time to time who are recently divorced and are there for 1 reason and 1 reason only. They don't last that long, meaning they find what they want and leave never to be seen again. No, this corollary isn't about that. It's more about the fact that women have to drop their natural inclination not to trust a complete stranger that he won't 'try' something when he's that close to her. That they must turn off that 'fight or flight' desire and trust that there is the thin veneer or veil of the dance protecting them and they can relax in that, just a little bit. Most of the better dancers in the room recognize this fear in women and go to great lengths to make them feel comfortable and at ease on a variety of levels. There is another reason why Codigos exists, and this is it! These are true gentlemen. Unfortunately you have the lotharios in the room that are there for one reason only and they ruin it for everyone.'