May I have this dance?

By Jackie Charniga
Editor In Chief

Amid a mass of sweaty bodies, gyrating and pulsating to music, a throng of girls can be spotted from a bird’s eye view. They are dancing in a small group, the three of them slightly separated from the mass of people in the center of the floor. Concentrating mostly on having a good time, some of their attention is diverted, scanning the crowd for stragglers. They are trying to avoid being approached, or more accurately, manhandled.

Each time they are approached, generally from behind, one friend reaches forward to propel the intended out of range. This calculated movement, with its pitiful follow-through, generally leaves both parties wanting for human interaction and eliminates any form of spontaneity. Essentially, what qualifies someone to be rubbed up against another is their level of physical attraction, which is ascertained in the dark with little maneuvering room. Today’s version of going out dancing, instead of comprising of consenting couples, now consists of hunting parties swarming about their prey.

One may ask these girls, “Why bother going to clubs if they do not dance with anyone but each other, which could have been done at home?” While that may be true, the variety of reasons that people go out, for entertainment, excitement, to meet new people and form memories with friends, no longer seriously contain the option of meeting someone that you would wish to date. The reason for the women to intentionally separate from the other dancers is largely due to the forceful physicality of some men that has become the norm at dance halls and other places that social gatherings take place. Grappling at each other like dogs in a park, clubs have taken a savage turn from the places of freedom and expression they once were. Instead of enjoying the art of dance, people butcher it by swaying lifelessly back and forth with someone tightly attached, regardless if they even know each other’s names.

Using the loud music as an excuse, people rely on crude displays of possession, such as arms swung possessively over shoulders or around hips in order to display their dominance. Vague hand signals are routinely used, and perhaps the most popular method of “asking” someone to dance is simply grabbing them from behind around the waist.

While today’s method of dancing is impractical for forming any lasting connection with another person and wildly uncomfortable due to close proximity and limited movement, it is also dangerous. Not because one is at risk of looking quite stupid—which they will—but because, by not being able to see with whom you are dancing, one is not spending their night safely. For instance, if someone steals your wallet after dancing with you for an hour or so and you are unable to describe what they look like to the police, that puts you in a position of making you look completely idiotic.

This is another reason why women dance in circles. Not just because it is more enjoyable than dancing alone, but because by standing in a circle, each person has a vantage point in which to guard each of her friends from unwanted advances.

To grab a woman by her waist and drag her along to instigate a dance is an example of reverse evolution. A Neanderthal is perhaps as capable of proper etiquette as today’s young adult.

Dancing is a great way to spend the night; it is physical exercise that you get to dress up for. However, if one aims to spend the evening having meaningful human interactions, they are better off somewhere better lit where it is generally acceptable to look someone in the eye.

My advice for women is to act with caution. If a guy wants to dance with you, regardless of his physical appeal, allow him the chance to introduce himself and supply you with personal details. For the gentlemen, I suggest asking a girl to dance, using your words and not your hands. Of course, this can go either way because it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to ask a man to dance, and I hear the change of pace is appreciated. For both sexes, consider that just because you find someone physically attractive does not mean they have an obligation to you. Next time you are out at night, remember that the only person’s behavior that is under your control is your own.