Before you read any further, I suggest you read this post, as it deals with the agonizing question of why some men just refuse to dance. Also, I may refer back to it in this post. So, I’ve asked the question, “Why don’t men dance?”, and presented several possible hypotheses on why most men I’ve met seem to dislike it. The following conjecture, extrapolation, what-have-you, concerns the fourth hypothesis. Dancing is considered effeminate, or worse, homosexual. Please keep in mind that these are simply speculations and opinions from a mildly frustrated follow who is clearly not a man. I don’t know what men consider manly. I can only guess.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I believe culture plays a huge part in whether a man finds dance appealing or not. America is a melting pot of cultures, and nothing from a particular nation is really ingrained, so to speak. Of course, that also depends on whether the child has native parents, how they want to maintain their traditions, etc. I had a classmate in high school that was first generation Mexican-American. Her parents were certainly not going to let her forget her heritage, and made her go to dancing classes that explored the different regions of Mexico. She loved it, and was clearly proud in taking these classes. In the same vein, a good portion of my dance teachers are fully European. Europe, I believe, has a strong dancing culture embedded in it. This often shows in the people I’ve met. My former DP, Victor, and his wife, Milana are both Russian. Both started dancing when they were young children. My former ballet teacher, Adrian, I believe hails from Armenia. He also started dancing quite young. There was even a woman that came to the studio looking to see if they would be willing to teach her young son, which they wouldn’t for some reason. She had a very prominent European accent. Now, before you play the stereotype card, this is by no means a stereotype in my view. Really, it exhibits the fact that culture matters in terms of likes and dislikes. Therefore, some cultures may not view dancing as effeminate in the slightest.
Time for the nitty gritty. Personally, the overwhelming majority of men I’ve met either don’t like dancing because it’s not their “thing”, or because they think it’s “gay”. Since I really can’t do anything about the former, it’s time to go deeper into our exploration of the latter. Why is dancing considered “gay”? Was it always this way? To the second question, I answer “no”. I’ve watched a fair amount of older movies, like some Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Both men were the iconic dancers of their time, and both seemed to love it. Watching them dance, I can’t help but admire them. Gene was strong, precise, and athletic. Fred brought grace and style to his dancing. Both of them are extremely attractive in my view because, well, they both seem very manly. They use their talent to the fullest and look darn good doing it. I wasn’t born in that time, but it seems to me that what was considered manly back then was sweeping a woman off her feet. Whether you sang, danced, or just played the rescuer, real men loved charming women and making them swoon. Dancing was just a way to get the girl of your dreams. (Heck, I know it’d get me! 😉 ) Having watched the movies, this seems to be a common motif.
So, if we are to assume the implications of the hypothesis as valid, the image of what makes a man seems to largely determine what men may do. I now ask the question, “What is today’s definition of a man?” Oh, gentle reader! Please forgive me for what I am about to say. If I didn’t really believe this, I wouldn’t write it, nor would I try and be honest with you. If I were to describe what men should be as our culture says in one word, it would be conqueror. Men are apparently supposed to be conquerors of sport, work, and women. Perhaps I’ve heard too much of my friends’ rap music, but it seems like it’s all about getting the woman in her birthday suit and giving her the best experience she’ll ever have, pardon my bluntness. I believe it’s that “gangsta” image that deceives growing boys into what a man really is. Which would explain why I’ve also run across men with their trousers hanging off their butt, cursing way too much for my taste, and treating people with such a lack of respect it’s horrifying. Of course, I’ve only run across the unlucky few, but those few were a few too many. So, if being a “gangsta” is manly, there goes dancing. Can’t be gentle with a woman if you’re a “G”. As for sports and work, I have no qualms. To each his own. What I do have a qualm with is when the image of a manly man interferes with decorum, such as treating people with respect.
But, there is hope. The men I’ve met through dancing have been the most gentle, respectful, and kind men I’ve ever met. I’m honored to be considered their friend. In fact, it’s when I’m dancing that I feel the frail beat of chivalry’s heart. Oh, I know, there are unappealing men in dance, too. But, I haven’t run across too many of them, and the ups definitely outnumber the downs. Men actually get to lead their dance partner physically across the floor and determine her movement. It takes a great deal of trust, and they’ve earned mine. You know what I think a real man is? A real man isn’t a dancer. A real man knows the power he wields, wields it with respect and caution, and treats others with due kindness. I know I just said that a real man isn’t a dancer, but it dismays me to say that most of the real, good men I’ve met are dancers. I have yet to find good men outside of dance in my current situation (college), and become close friends with them. They’re out there somewhere. And, if fortune really smiles on me, they’ll like dancing, too. 🙂