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Two left feet—dancers take issue with Tom’s comments about when on a date it’s rude to ask someone else to dance.

By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50

In last week's newsletter, Ron, 66, asked, "When on a date for the first or tenth time, is it acceptable for your date to dance with other men she knows from dance classes (who ask her). She loves to dance and is very good and I am not too bad. I find this rude and a slap in the face. Perhaps I am being too sensitive?"


I said, ""It depends on why the two of you went to the dance. As a date, or as a dancing partner with the understanding you'll dance with others? If as a date, I think it's a bit rude."


Dancing aficionados got on my case. They say, “It’s ok to dance with others.”


Sheila said: "Your answer shows you are not informed about the dance world. If Ron and his date went to a nightclub and she danced with strangers, your answer would be valid.


"My guess is that they were at a venue for ballroom or Latin dancing. It is routine for students in classes to change partners often as a learning technique. At dance parties, it is accepted and expected that both men and women will dance with other people throughout the evening. Ron should talk to his date about this subject but the next time she is asked by another man to dance, he should ask another woman to dance the same dance."  


Carlene, Honolulu: "I was disappointed in your answer about dancing with others. People who attend dance classes are accustomed to dancing with others from their class. Many classes make you rotate partners.


"Why doesn't he join her in a class or two? He would get a chance to meet these "non-threatening men" who only want to dance with her, nothing else. 


"On Oahu, the correct way is to ask the gentleman if he would be willing to allow his date to dance. The lady still has the choice to accept or decline. And as long as it's only one or two dances throughout the evening, who cares. After all, she is out with him and not them! Life is too short to worry about one or two dances."


Tammi, another Oahu resident who has competed in dance competitions, had strong opinions: "It is rude and selfish to expect a ‘Dance Lover’ not to dance with other partners at her level.


"The key here is 'friends or acquaintances from DANCE CLASSES.' Part of dance etiquette is to be kind and supportive to all levels of dancers. I have danced all my life; I never refuse an invitation to dance from anyone. Ron needs to accept if he wants to date a dancer, especially a GOOD DANCER, he will need to graciously share her during a dance evening.


"If his 'date' wanted to be 'with' one of the gentlemen in her classes, she would not be on a date with him. He must get that possessive, overly sensitive attitude in check or he may be going home alone soon. Ron's question is unbelievable. 


Judith added, "I belong to a dance club; almost everyone asks everyone else to dance at an official club function. If they are on a date at a local nightclub and the men come up and ask her to dance, she should politely decline. 


"Not too long ago a friend of mine faced a similar thing. After the third time she danced with another man, he pulled out a $20, handed it to her, and said, 'here's cab fare home - enjoy your evening.'"


Tricia felt differently: "When on a date, the answer is NO! It's not acceptable. You are on a date, a time set aside for the two of you to spend time together. Would you go on a date and spend it talking on your cell phone? I agree with Ron. I find it rude; he is not being too sensitive. It definitely requires discussion." 


Since the column ran, Ron himself added information: "This was our seventh or eighth date. We go to the Elks club and have dinner first and then into the ball room to dance. This was the first time it happened; she did not like what I said about it. Most men have enough common sense not to ask a lady to dance if she is on a date. This one will be going to a lot more dances by herself."


Senior dancers share dancing partners all the time. Ok I get it.


Most of us agree. If it's a date, stick by your partner. Or establish an understanding beforehand. I hope our dancing aficionados will be able to at least compromise somewhat.

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