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.