Fear of rejection

Science has now confirmed what I have seen in the milongas. Men have difficulty when asking unknown people to dance. It also confirms that this fear is hard for women to accept, as they do not have similar effect, and there is strong tendency in our society to dismiss any vulnerability in men.

I was on a tango festival on women’s day. There was woman’s hour during which women were supposed to do the asking. I did not see much of that happening, practically all dance invitations seemed to go the usual way. I made it a point to not ask women during that hour. I wanted to feel how it feels when the roles are reversed. I was trying to be as approachable as possible, and look around similarly as women good in cabaceo seem to do.

I was asked to dance only twice during that hour. First one was by a beginner follower, who was considerably older than I am. Second invitation came from somebody I had seen in many milongas in Buenos Aires but I had never danced with and we had never introduced ourselves either. But even she only came to talk to me, and needed a little push to actually invite me.

Most men I know accept practically all dance invitations. And I suspect that when roles are “officially reversed”, 99% percent of men would accept any invitation from practically any woman. Still, without the psychological impairment men have, with the practically guaranteed rejection-free outcome, almost none of the women were able to ask men to dance.


About Mikko

A man hopelessly bitten by the argentine tango bug.
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3 Responses to Fear of rejection

  1. jantango says:

    A milonguero told me recently that he doesn’t consider it very feminine for a woman to invite a man to dance. Argentine men admire femininity. That’s his job if she gives him the opportunity. I agree. I can’t and will not, under any circumstances, invite a man to dance at a milonga or even a private social gathering.

  2. Mikko says:

    Yes, I can see and understand this attitude. When using cabeceo, wpmen have the opportunity to make it known that they would accept a dance anyway. To me, that is preferable.

    Although I tend to prefer the traditional kind of milongas and events, I have been and regularly go to many kinds of events. Many things happen there that are not strictly according to codigos as I understand them. Women also invite etc.

    This post is about fear, as I feel that fear of rejection by men is the one of the biggest things that makes or breaks a milonga or an event. When people are less fearful, and take risks in dancing with larger range of strangers, it contributes to a positive spiral towards openness, which makes people even less fearful. Of course I know and understand the causes why women are not always willing to take risks, so this is not about blame.

    I see fear as a motivation for behavior by many men, and many men tell about it to me privately. However, it is not common for men to admit to this fear. So I do it here publicly so that it would be easier for others to admit to it publicly also.

    My wish is that this could then contribute to a more emphatic and mutually respectful relation between sexes in certain conditions where the relationship is especially harsh. This would then create a nicer atmosphere, and help the community grow out of positive attitude.

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