The inspiration for this blog post came from a friend on Facebook who was presented with the following anthropology research assignment for a class she is taking.
“Problem Statement: Strong, independent women wait for men to ask them to dance.”
Most of us know what that moment before the music starts feels like. From a guys point of view, there’s dealing with the fear of rejection and learning to not take “No.” personally. Sounds like women have their thing to deal with too.
The Yin and Yang of Vulnerability
Yep, there is some real vulnerability possible in that moment for the guy. In his choice to take action he is vulnerable. He’s choosing to expose his ego to rejection for a chance to dance with a woman. And if she has a partner he’s not aware of who is the jealous type, well, rejection could be the least of his concerns. Especially, I hear from a bouncer friend, in Texas!
One or even a handful of rejections may not bother a confident man. A string of constant rejections over the course of six months, though, would start to get to any normal guy. “What the hell is wrong with me?”, being the most likely question he will be asking himself.
A woman, on the other hand, has traditionally been vulnerable in her having to wait to be asked to dance. While she gets to choose her partners her risk is in not being approached in the first place. She makes the choice to show up at the dance and risks no one noticing her.
What’s a strong, independent woman to do?
For the most part, men, at least the ones I know, don’t really question their role. They ask women to dance and that’s just how things are done. It may suck to be told no, oh well, suck it up and move on. When a woman asks you to dance, that’s cool. At least you don’t have to deal with the rejection thing.
In all sincerity, are women expecting to not have to be vulnerable these days? I get the impression from the problem statement that started this post, some of them may.
Here’s a thought for women who believe being strong and independent means not being vulnerable. Women have a choice. They can be vulnerable in the act of waiting or be vulnerable in the act of asking. They don’t get to avoid being vulnerable, though, if they want to dance.
Let’s take it further and bring in the energetic bits. Vulnerability is the ultimate strength. Why? Because to the degree that people, men or women, do not embrace their vulnerability they become closed and locked into the limitations and weaknesses of their ego.
From an energetic perspective, and I do want to get to this as it’s the point of this blog post, being vulnerable means keeping your heart open. Letting the ego protect your heart only interferes with your ability to authentically connect with yourself and others, and slows your spiritual growth.
How? Fear. Fear brings you down. Fear chokes down the life force. The fear behind the ego is limiting you wherever you are on your path. From a vibrational perspective, you’re getting stuck in gooey fear-mud. Tarry stuff that you are going to need to wash off eventually.
As far as dealing with risk in those moments before the music starts, the heart can handle whatever you encounter. The ego is the brittle one. Keep the fear down and the heart vibrations up! Stay vulnerable and allow your heart be your connection to the life force and other people. Including, connections with your potential dance partners.
Which brings us to, TANGO! Tango has an ingenious way to deal with the ego and rejection. Well, I suspect it’s really a very pragmatic, and old-fashioned, approach to dealing with the peculiarities of the male ego. Which, from the evidence, appears to be pretty much the same as it was a thousand years ago.
Eyes – Windows to the Soul
In tango, traditionally the lead motions with his eyes to the follow if he’s interested in dancing with her. She will respond with her eyes if interested or avoid eye contact if not. I wouldn’t have guessed this without experiencing it myself but the eye thing is much easier to deal with than the verbal approach. On the surface it sounds more intimate and potentially a more risky approach.
Only it’s not, at least for me, and here is why. Our egos understand words. Hearing “No.” is much more threatening to the ego than the non-verbal, body language of averted eyes. Not to mention the possibility of sounding like an idiot.
The entire communication can be done in a subtle and really quite private manner. No one will hear her say no! Better still, we can even pretend there wasn’t a moment of vulnerability in the first place! “Dance? Who me? No, I was just looking at the painting behind you. Nice use of color and texture wouldn’t you say?”
Keeping the ego feeling safe makes keeping your heart open much easier. Which in tango, with the depth of connection dance partners potentially share, is really important!
Back at the table, waiting.
Not that any of this eye contact stuff helps the strong, independent woman sitting at the table waiting to be asked to dance. What I would offer her is this bit of advice. Stay vulnerable. Whether you decide to ask him first or wait, it’s the vulnerability that allows you to connect. Be still and observe those vulnerable moments. Stay in your heart.