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Manners Matter

References in literature to partner, or couples dancing, date back to the 11th century. Like many social activities, there are common rules of etiquette. For leaders, it is the difference between “yes” and “no”. For ladies, it is the difference between being asked to dance, or sitting out. Ultimately, it is the difference between fun and frustration. So, mind your manners!

Dress to Impress

Don’t confuse the dance floor with the gym, swimming pool, or hunting lease. A part of the dance is getting the dance in the first place. If your attire is sloppy or provocative, you’ll get lots of looks but not many dances.

Men: a clean shirt, minus holes and food stains, is a good start. Ditto for your jeans or slacks. A long-sleeved shirt is preferable if you are prone to sweat or sport a light coat of fur on your arms. Western hats or ball caps may be appropriate depending on the venue. That is, of course, unless you’re a stickler for hat etiquette. Then, you’re going to remove the hat inside the building. Do-rags don’t count as hats. Avoid bracelets that may catch a lady’s hair or snag her clothing. No towels hanging from you back pocket. Wear shoes appropriate for the dance floor. That doesn’t include Converse, Nike or or other athletic brands.

Ladies: whatever you wear should draw a 1st and 2nd look, but not a stare. If you are prone to perspire, avoid sleeveless tops–you know where the gentleman’s right hand goes, don’t you? Loose-fitting tops are a little awkward when the leader’s hand slips into that gaping sleeve. Loose bracelets and big rings hurt.

Hygiene and Habits

So you’re decked out and dolled up but, dang it, you had Italian for dinner! That’s what gum, breath mints, and a toothbrush is all about. Bad breathe is a leading cause of bad partner dancing—it increases the distance between you and your partner! If the odor of garlic or beer hang on your breathe long after you swallow, choose other menu items.

Other reasons why your partners prefer dancing in open position, or with no connection at all is body odor or bad cologne. If you work outdoors, work up a sweat, or work out, you’re sure to need a shower with soap before you hit the dance floor. Follow with a splash of mild cologne—that’s a splash, not a bath! Sharp or fruity fragrances follow you around the floor and stick to your partners.

Several other suggestions will ensure that you get plenty of time on the dance floor:

  • Ladies, figure out what to do with your hair so the golden locks don’t slap your man in the face. Nine out of ten men prefer your hair to hang in your face, rather than hit them in the face.
  • Men, shave or groom your beard. The vagrant look is not cool on the dance floor. It’s actually kinda’ scary.
  • Don’t eat while you dance. Chew, don’t chomp your gum. We don’t want to see what’s going on in there.
  • No checking your phone or watch on the dance floor. If you partner wants to know the time—that’s not a good sign.

More to come . . .