Author Topic: Dear Abby dancing etiquette  (Read 6010 times)

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Cat-Fu

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #60 on: February 19, 2013, 10:49:09 AM »
It seems that the main sticking point is intimacy. TBH I have no issue if my DH slow dances with someone else, but I also know that he'd be doing the kinda middle-school "leave room for Diety" type dance—IMO that is far less intimate that the upper-body-contact-type slow dance he'd be doing with me. :P
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #61 on: February 19, 2013, 10:52:10 AM »
No weddings I have ever attended have had people dancing "formal" dances, by which I mean waltzes etc or anything with set steps.  Basically people tend to bop around in big groups or might do a few freestyle dances that dont involve full body contact.  Any "slow dancing" is the "wrapped around each other, swaying and turning slowly" which is what I would have a problem with.

I POD this. I find the posts about cotillions and learning formal dancing etiquette and suchlike extremely interesting to read, but imo that is a pretty rare thing. Perhaps there are parts of the world where it is common to learn such things, but I believe in many places, that stuff is likely regarded as archaic. How many people nowadays even get taught formal etiquette? (I don't mean contemporary etiquette for not being rude, but the formal rules laid out in the 18th century for correct conduct at waltzes, etc.)

Personally it's not something I've really come across except in classic novels. So I don't think we should assume that this scenario is taking place in an environment where those rules and etiquette apply or are even known about.

I can't answer your question on how many people are taught formal etiquette, but I would expect quite a few of those on the board have been taught or learned on our own how to 1)send a formal invitation 2) set a formal dinner table 3) dress according to a dress code 4)eat dinner according to standard table etiquette.  All of these are what some would consider to be formal etiquette.  In my kid's case, I'd say about 1/3 of their 7th grade class attended cotillion courses where the above was taught as were standard dance lessons including a basic waltz and box step in addition to exposing them to a rumba. 

Maybe because I live in Texas where country and western dancing have always been a part of our daily life, partner dancing isn't something that stopped somewhere in the 1700's.  If I were in attendance at a wedding in my teens, I would be asked to dance by my father and most of the other men at our table who were dancing.  Now in my 40's, I'll still dance with a BiL or nephew at a family wedding or if at another event I'll dance with friends with whom we are sitting.  But this isn't the Highschool style of arms locked around my partner's neck and swaying back and forth.  I would never expect that type of dancing to be appropriate for anyone who isn't in some type of romantic relationship and so would not even understand why you'd need to discuss it with your SO.

WillyNilly

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #62 on: February 19, 2013, 11:10:42 AM »
Not only was I not taught (or even informed of) these formal dance rules posters keep mentioning, I know no one who was.  Ask every woman at a table to dance?  Ask any woman to dance?  That happens?  In real life?  Like a man walks up to a woman and puts his hand out and formally asks a woman to dance?  For real?  Yesterday I would have bet a $100 that modern day men don't seriously do that (they might do it being goofy, but not as a normal thing) and I would have thought I was making easy money.  And I have been between being a guest and a waitress to well over 100 formal weddings.  Never seen it.  Never, not once.

So I think its plenty normal for the LW woman to have only the frame of reference of couples slow dancing together where 99% of the time they get up to dance wordlessly or the woman asks her partner to please dance with her, or maybe once in a while a man hitting on a woman slow dancing.  And if it is strangers, again often its the women who dominate on a dance floor at a wedding, not men.  Not some sort of situation where a man is going to go around the table of 8-12 he's sitting at and formally asking each female for a turn of the dance floor.

sunnygirl

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #63 on: February 19, 2013, 11:26:40 AM »
I can't answer your question on how many people are taught formal etiquette, but I would expect quite a few of those on the board have been taught or learned on our own how to 1)send a formal invitation 2) set a formal dinner table 3) dress according to a dress code 4)eat dinner according to standard table etiquette.  All of these are what some would consider to be formal etiquette.  In my kid's case, I'd say about 1/3 of their 7th grade class attended cotillion courses where the above was taught as were standard dance lessons including a basic waltz and box step in addition to exposing them to a rumba. 

Maybe because I live in Texas where country and western dancing have always been a part of our daily life, partner dancing isn't something that stopped somewhere in the 1700's.  If I were in attendance at a wedding in my teens, I would be asked to dance by my father and most of the other men at our table who were dancing.  Now in my 40's, I'll still dance with a BiL or nephew at a family wedding or if at another event I'll dance with friends with whom we are sitting.  But this isn't the Highschool style of arms locked around my partner's neck and swaying back and forth.  I would never expect that type of dancing to be appropriate for anyone who isn't in some type of romantic relationship and so would not even understand why you'd need to discuss it with your SO.

Oh, sure. But this is an etiquette forum, so naturally members would be those with an interest or history with etiquette and not representative of the general public. Though personally I would not consider knowing proper table manners to be quite on a par with waltz-etiquette. The former is still contemporary, standard etiquette/plain good manners. The latter is extremely rare outside of very specific geo-cultural centres.

I do understand that there are great cultural differences in different parts of the world, and I have especially always enjoyed reading the discussions between our Southern members and others here, and learning about Southern traditions and etiquette. But I really think formal cotillion classes and waltz-etiquette and all of that are rare enough that they are extremely unlikely to have relevance in this particular case.

Incidentally, I remember a thread here once where a woman was asked to dance by a man she considered a s&xual predator. Some posters pointed out that according to traditional formal etiquette, she was 'rude' to decline to dance with him, though the consensus was that in reality she was absolutely right and should not consider dancing with him. So I think there is a difference between the written etiquette rules set down centuries ago, and how that etiquette is interpreted and used nowadays. The world has changed far too much, imo, for that not to be the case.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 11:31:15 AM by sunnygirl »

Nikko-chan

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #64 on: February 19, 2013, 11:29:19 AM »
Is it truly inappropriate? It... depends. Bump and grind style? Definately inappropriate. Dancing with other people at a wedding? Appropriate. I mean, I used to go swing dancing. There were several couples (married and not) that would come dance, and they danced with other people. It's a social thing.

Is the girlfriend in the letter being overly controlling (and possibly rude)? I don't know about this one. I mean in the letter it seems like she had legitimate concerns and her boyfriend blew her off. Or maybe, in the real situation, the boyfriend told her until he was blue in the face "Honey, it's just dancing." Guess we'll never know. The letter writer did clarify slow dancing. Hmm. I think (for me) I would prefer to only slow dance-- the traditional slow dance-- with my S/O, though I would let him make his own decision on that.

How do you feel about Abby's advice? I... have no idea. Not enough relationship experience to answer this question.

Cat-Fu

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #65 on: February 19, 2013, 11:29:40 AM »
Not only was I not taught (or even informed of) these formal dance rules posters keep mentioning, I know no one who was.  Ask every woman at a table to dance?  Ask any woman to dance?  That happens?  In real life?  Like a man walks up to a woman and puts his hand out and formally asks a woman to dance?  For real?  Yesterday I would have bet a $100 that modern day men don't seriously do that (they might do it being goofy, but not as a normal thing) and I would have thought I was making easy money.  And I have been between being a guest and a waitress to well over 100 formal weddings.  Never seen it.  Never, not once.

So I think its plenty normal for the LW woman to have only the frame of reference of couples slow dancing together where 99% of the time they get up to dance wordlessly or the woman asks her partner to please dance with her, or maybe once in a while a man hitting on a woman slow dancing.  And if it is strangers, again often its the women who dominate on a dance floor at a wedding, not men.  Not some sort of situation where a man is going to go around the table of 8-12 he's sitting at and formally asking each female for a turn of the dance floor.

In my experience, it hasn't been formal at all—it's been way more along the lines of, "Hey I love this song, wanna dance?" coming from someone I know at the table, or someone jumping in between songs (since I usually am on the dance floor non-stop :P). I can't say I've been to an event where guys ask every woman at the table to dance, though.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #66 on: February 19, 2013, 11:34:01 AM »
Not only was I not taught (or even informed of) these formal dance rules posters keep mentioning, I know no one who was.  Ask every woman at a table to dance?  Ask any woman to dance?  That happens?  In real life?  Like a man walks up to a woman and puts his hand out and formally asks a woman to dance?  For real?  Yesterday I would have bet a $100 that modern day men don't seriously do that (they might do it being goofy, but not as a normal thing) and I would have thought I was making easy money.  And I have been between being a guest and a waitress to well over 100 formal weddings.  Never seen it.  Never, not once.

So I think its plenty normal for the LW woman to have only the frame of reference of couples slow dancing together where 99% of the time they get up to dance wordlessly or the woman asks her partner to please dance with her, or maybe once in a while a man hitting on a woman slow dancing.  And if it is strangers, again often its the women who dominate on a dance floor at a wedding, not men.  Not some sort of situation where a man is going to go around the table of 8-12 he's sitting at and formally asking each female for a turn of the dance floor.

In my experience, it hasn't been formal at all—it's been way more along the lines of, "Hey I love this song, wanna dance?" coming from someone I know at the table; or someone jumping in between songs (since I usually am on the dance floor non-stop :P). I can't say I've been to an event where guys ask every woman at the table to dance, though.

I have never seen a man do that though.  I agree that's almost always how its done, but I always see a female saying that and either dancing with her girlfriends, or pulling (with various degrees of resistance) a male out with her.

Which is I think the original LW's issue.  That women at the wedding will pull her beau out onto the dance floor to slow dance with them (because unlike to pop songs where they dance happily with girlfriends, many women want to slow dance with a male) because he's there solo.

Knitterly

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #67 on: February 19, 2013, 12:54:05 PM »
Not only was I not taught (or even informed of) these formal dance rules posters keep mentioning, I know no one who was.  Ask every woman at a table to dance? Ask any woman to dance?  That happens?  In real life?  Like a man walks up to a woman and puts his hand out and formally asks a woman to dance?  For real? Yesterday I would have bet a $100 that modern day men don't seriously do that (they might do it being goofy, but not as a normal thing) and I would have thought I was making easy money.  And I have been between being a guest and a waitress to well over 100 formal weddings.  Never seen it.  Never, not once.

So I think its plenty normal for the LW woman to have only the frame of reference of couples slow dancing together where 99% of the time they get up to dance wordlessly or the woman asks her partner to please dance with her, or maybe once in a while a man hitting on a woman slow dancing.  And if it is strangers, again often its the women who dominate on a dance floor at a wedding, not men.  Not some sort of situation where a man is going to go around the table of 8-12 he's sitting at and formally asking each female for a turn of the dance floor.

And yet it has happened to me - in the example in my opening post, in fact.
My friend and I were sitting at a table at the edge of the dance floor, and these two gentlemen walked up to us and put their hands out and said "Would you ladies care to dance?"  Several of their friends asked other single ladies to dance (there were about 6 of them iirc).  The gentleman put his hand on my waist and put my hand on his shoulder, took my other hand in his hand and led me in a lovely dance.  It was wonderful.  Really, truly fun!

I wished then and I wish now that more young men were like that.  He was several years younger than me (I was just 30 and I think he was in his early 20s - possibly younger). 

It does happen. 

Then again, the bride and several of my friends were fans of Jane Austen.  Many of my friends are also members of thelocal Jane Austen Society.  It is entirely possible that these young men actually *were* intructed in formal etiquette. 

However, I also know that many of my other guy friends are NOT and have not been instructed in formal etiquette and, single or not, will often go out of their way to ensure that their wives' single girlfriends get turned around the dance floor at least once in a slow dance song.

It's a shame that the way dancing has changed has also changed society's attitude about it. 

nuit93

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #68 on: February 19, 2013, 03:57:27 PM »


I think that this thread is in danger of veering off topic. I believe from reading here that Sioteh Cat and her husband have certain rules in place in their marriage that some might perceive to be unusual. I think it's kind of rude to keep on dwelling on it. Every marriage/relationship has rules which work for the couple. It is really nobody else's business.

I agree--how individuals choose to handle was is/isn't appropriate for them isn't the same as what is etiquette-approved.

SiotehCat

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #69 on: February 19, 2013, 04:18:51 PM »


I think that this thread is in danger of veering off topic. I believe from reading here that Sioteh Cat and her husband have certain rules in place in their marriage that some might perceive to be unusual. I think it's kind of rude to keep on dwelling on it. Every marriage/relationship has rules which work for the couple. It is really nobody else's business.

I agree--how individuals choose to handle was is/isn't appropriate for them isn't the same as what is etiquette-approved.

The OP asked

How do E-hellions weigh in on this issue?
Is it truly inappropriate?
Is the girlfriend in the letter being overly controlling (and possibly rude)?
How do you feel about Abby's advice?

Dear Abby is not an etiquette column, so she did not give etiquette advice.

A lot of other posters have "weighed in", just like Knitterly asked and that is what I was doing as well. My opinion is not about the rules in my relationship. In fact, there have been other posters here that have agreed with me and (as far as I can tell), they don't  use my rules in their relationship.

It sounds like this is a relationship problem between the LW and her boyfriend and not an etiquette one.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #70 on: February 19, 2013, 04:24:47 PM »
I can't answer your question on how many people are taught formal etiquette, but I would expect quite a few of those on the board have been taught or learned on our own how to 1)send a formal invitation 2) set a formal dinner table 3) dress according to a dress code 4)eat dinner according to standard table etiquette.  All of these are what some would consider to be formal etiquette.  In my kid's case, I'd say about 1/3 of their 7th grade class attended cotillion courses where the above was taught as were standard dance lessons including a basic waltz and box step in addition to exposing them to a rumba. 

Maybe because I live in Texas where country and western dancing have always been a part of our daily life, partner dancing isn't something that stopped somewhere in the 1700's.  If I were in attendance at a wedding in my teens, I would be asked to dance by my father and most of the other men at our table who were dancing.  Now in my 40's, I'll still dance with a BiL or nephew at a family wedding or if at another event I'll dance with friends with whom we are sitting.  But this isn't the Highschool style of arms locked around my partner's neck and swaying back and forth.  I would never expect that type of dancing to be appropriate for anyone who isn't in some type of romantic relationship and so would not even understand why you'd need to discuss it with your SO.

Oh, sure. But this is an etiquette forum, so naturally members would be those with an interest or history with etiquette and not representative of the general public. Though personally I would not consider knowing proper table manners to be quite on a par with waltz-etiquette. The former is still contemporary, standard etiquette/plain good manners. The latter is extremely rare outside of very specific geo-cultural centres.

I do understand that there are great cultural differences in different parts of the world, and I have especially always enjoyed reading the discussions between our Southern members and others here, and learning about Southern traditions and etiquette. But I really think formal cotillion classes and waltz-etiquette and all of that are rare enough that they are extremely unlikely to have relevance in this particular case.

Incidentally, I remember a thread here once where a woman was asked to dance by a man she considered a s&xual predator. Some posters pointed out that according to traditional formal etiquette, she was 'rude' to decline to dance with him, though the consensus was that in reality she was absolutely right and should not consider dancing with him. So I think there is a difference between the written etiquette rules set down centuries ago, and how that etiquette is interpreted and used nowadays. The world has changed far too much, imo, for that not to be the case.

Sunnygirl, I'm not sure I'm following your meaning by waltz-etiquette.  A waltz is just a type of dance step and follow the same guidelines for asking, accepting, or declining as other requests to dance. 

Believe me, my father never attended a etiquette class.  He was the son of a crop farmer who hadn't been out of central Texas till he was drafted at age 18. But he knew that if you are at a dance you ask other women to dance. The dance is a big social part of the evening and not was seen as a snub. My DH and I do not go out dancing as often as my parent's did but when we do, I will dance with others. DH does not enjoy dancing as much as I do, but he'll make sure that every woman gets an offer of a dance, even though he never attended any of these social classes.

While all etiquette rules change over the years, I do think there is value in preserving and teaching some. If you never attend any events where "partner dancing at a non-intimate distance" is common, then there is no reason to learn these rules.  Just like you don't need to know Fiji etiquette if you don't plan to go to Fiji. But for those who do attend events or dances (or just go out with a group to the local C&W dance hall) then I'd like to think men would still feel free to ask other women in his party to dance.  Though I think my DS will be more like my DH in terms of enjoying dancing, I would still like him to know how and to know that he should ask a variety of partners to dance.

sunnygirl

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #71 on: February 19, 2013, 06:50:23 PM »
Sunnygirl, I'm not sure I'm following your meaning by waltz-etiquette.  A waltz is just a type of dance step and follow the same guidelines for asking, accepting, or declining as other requests to dance.

That's just my point - the kind of etiquette/rules that govern formal dances/partner dances in your area is extremely specific, and while they may seem commonplace to you because it's the norm you're used to in your family/area, they are uncommon or entirely unknown in many parts of the world.

Outside of those areas, especially in a situation where people are hanging out and dancing casually (like the one in the letter - a wedding being a formal event but rarely involving formal dancing, except for the wedding party), such rules would probably not be in place, and it's doubtful many people would have even heard of them. I have never heard of those rules except in novels, and I have attended a great many (non-intimate partner-dancing) casual and formal dances both in the UK and other countries. For example if you attend a Royal Ball at Buckingham Palace or wherever (which I have not done but know people who have) there are extremely strict etiquette rules governing who you can and cannot dance with and who asks who, but they aren't the same as the rules that are the norm for partner-dances in your part of the world.


Personally I think the southern US etiquette rules and culture in general are lovely, and I would love to visit and witness it all some time. But they aren't universal. If the LW and boyfriend aren't living in a part of the world where it's considered the norm for men to ask every female wedding guest to dance and bad etiquette for them not do, I just don't think it's relevant to their relationship problem.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 06:54:23 PM by sunnygirl »

Wordgeek

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #72 on: February 19, 2013, 07:37:49 PM »
Just so Sio (and everyone else) knows that she's not all on her own, I have many friends and acquaintances who dance only with their SOs.  Many of these do not dance at all except in private, judging it to be too intimate an activity for public view.  While I have attended weddings with dances, and have occasionally danced myself, I am very *very* picky about the when and where and with whom and how aspects.  My church does not allow dancing at events held in the building, although when I was part of the "young people's" group, we sometimes had (church-approved) events which included line dancing without partners.  Also, the recent Christmas production had some dancing in it, but that was only the people on the stage and the physical contact was minimal.  The reasons for this are partly religious and partly cultural.

That said, the person who wrote the letter to Abby seems to have an axe to grind, rather than a theological objection.  I agree with those that she's put out at not having been invited and at this is a relationship thing.  The couples I know who don't dance have agreed on the matter between themselves.  Both husband and wife are on board with the decision. 

Edited for clarity.  And again for a typo.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 07:48:20 PM by Wordgeek »

ladyknight1

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #73 on: February 19, 2013, 09:19:58 PM »
My DH is not too fond of dancing, so I end up dancing in groups or with other friends. I see nothing wrong with all but the most intimate dancing with someone other than a SO.

I have heard of people who didn't want other people hugging their SO either, and I look at the situations the same.

Allyson

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Re: Dear Abby dancing etiquette
« Reply #74 on: February 19, 2013, 09:35:46 PM »
I'd have a problem with my partner wanting to do something with another woman he didn't want to do with me.So a reluctant dancer who I had to drag out with me suddenly being totally happy to dance with other people? Not impressed. But if my partner loved dancing, then I'd be way more OK with it. I mean....I love going out for dinner, my boyfriend...not so much. So while we do occasionally go out, I more often go out with a friend, whether it be a male or female friend. He's totally cool with that. I wouldn't be as cool with it if he went for dinner with one person who wasn't me, in most circumstances. Though I'm fine with his huggy-ness with everyone because that's just part of who he is.

I think my answer would change depending on if Eddie got mad because his girlfriend made a demand rudely, or because he actually wanted to dance with others when he doesn't dance with her.