On Partners, Relationships, and Platonic Love

I’ve addressed bits and pieces of this issue in numerous blog posts, but I decided a couple of days ago to address this more extensively.  Mainly, this was inspired by a conversation I had with a dancing friend two days ago on the subject.  The issue concerns the, excuse the term, outsider’s notion of the relationship between dance partners and the true reality.  Now, I understand that there are some parallels between a romantic relationship and a dance partnership.  I know two married couples in my studio that dance together and only with each other.  One of them even has children.  Another couple is currently dating.  The relationship is slightly long distance, so they only dance together in competitions, and during private lessons when he’s in town.  Certainly, dance and romance are compatible.  However, my particular relationship is of the other kind.  I am single and unattached, and its lead to some pretty interesting conversations between my non-dancing acquaintances and myself.  Since I have no experience with romance and dancing, I can only consider it from a strictly platonic perspective.

Why do people associate partner dancing, ballroom, with romance so easily?  Yes, it involves a man and a woman.  Yes, it involves physical contact.  But, why is it hard for outsiders to grasp the difference between dancing and dating?  (Again, please pardon the term outsider, but it is the only term I can think of that aptly describes these two perspectives without having to type non-dancer repetitively.)  Believe me.  I’ve tried explaining to my mutual friends and acquaintances that there is a difference.  It doesn’t click.  It is my theory that the outsider gets caught up in the illusion.  What illusion, specifically?  Well, it can be any sort.  The Latin dances, like Rumba and Bolero, convey an illusion of passion.  The Tango is an illusion of love-hate that’s very tense.  A Waltz is airy and seems to me the optimal dance to convey the illusion of chaste romance.  Any dancer will tell you that acting is involved in his or her craft, and that is precisely what the illusion is, acting.  When watching a performance with acting, people willingly suspend their disbelief so that they may enjoy the show.  However, the outsider seems to be stuck in a state of limbo.  “Are those two really dating?  They could only be dancing together, but it really seems like they’re an item.”  Perhaps it is hard for them to suspend their disbelief because they see all the physical contact and genuine signs of affection.  After all, Nick and I hugged and joked around all the time.  Tommy and I enjoy goofing off during our lessons, and hugging has become common, too.  In both cases, both of us enjoyed the other’s presence.  We also have genuine chemistry.  So, to concede the argument slightly, there are some sparks there…

…They just aren’t the sparks that the outsiders are thinking about.  I think for any sort of effective relationship, specifically friendship and beyond, there has to be that spark.  It’s the moment when you realize you could really get use to hanging out with this person because y’all have something in common or he/she is incredibly interesting and fun.  Sadly, not everyone I’ve met wants to be my friend.  On their end, they make it pretty dang clear that I should stay away for whatever reasons they may have.  On my end, I have found some people to be generally unpleasant and unappealing relationship-wise, mostly because they were very negative people.  I believe these are the sparks I feel when I dance with someone I truly enjoy dancing with.  I definitely felt them with Nick.  With Tommy, it took me a little while to adjust to his style and personality.  Plus, I was pretty crushed when Nick told me he was leaving.  I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: He was an unimaginable blessing in my life.  But, everything’s fine now.  Tommy is an amazing dancer, and he’s very fun to dance with, mostly because he enjoys making light-hearted fun while he’s dancing.  Honestly, I have no idea what this partnership will bring because it’s still relatively new, but I can’t wait to find out.  Just because the sparks aren’t instantaneous does not mean they aren’t there at all.

So there you have it.  Yes, there is a difference.  When I say I’m looking for someone to dance with, I am most certainly not looking for romance.  What are the odds that the Mr. So-and-so I’m dancing with for the next three minutes is going to be my future husband?  I don’t dance to look for men.  I dance because it gives me joyous gratification.  If people do dance to look for romance, I have nothing against this.  It’s just mildly irritating trying to explain myself to all the “matchmakers” I know.  That’s probably the second reason for this post.  But hey, I know my readers are an understanding and intelligent crowd.  If y’all get it, I’m satisfied.

The floor is yours now.

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