It's a stark fact of the dating world that the number of guys who know how to dance is inversely proportional to the number of gals who want to be twirled across a parquet floor-and that even among the guys who know how to dance, the number who actually want to dance (rather than, say, sit at the bar and watch the Mets game) is, John Travolta excepted, a relatively teensy fraction.
Why should this be so? Speaking on behalf of my fellow men, I'd say dancing in public is the most exposed thing a guy can do, short of hauling a mattress out to the nearest four- way intersection and engaging in you-know-what. But there are some subtle ways you can ease your guy out of his favorite armchair and onto a crowded dance floor. To wit:
Cater to his musical tastes. "My husband is picky about the music he'll dance to," says Py Kim Conant, author of Sex Secrets of an American Geisha. "It has to be 60's, 70's, or 80's rock-and-roll. I can dance to anything, so instead of waiting for his kind of music, I go out on the dance floor and dance alone or with a group of people. When he sees how much I enjoy dancing without him, he's sure to make his move when they do start playing the Rolling Stones or the Bee Gees."
Buy him a video game. Thanks to the wonders of technology, your guy can now learn to dance without having to leave his 200-square-foot basement apartment. For example, the game Dance Dance Revolution (for PlayStation 2, Xbox and computer) comes with a dance pad that connects to his PC or game console and an assortment of bouncy pop and techno tunes. The person playing the game has to follow the footsteps to dance proficiency. If your boyfriend is the type who'd rather stay home and play Grand Theft Auto than squire you to the local club, this can be a good way to kill two virtual birds with one stone.
Go back to school. Probably for the same reason they refuse to stop and ask for directions, many men are reluctant to admit that they simply don't know how to shake their booty. If you suspect this is the case, surprise your beau with an enrollment for two in a swing-dancing (or samba, or tango) class. Even if you were Miss Salsa 2002, pretending to pick up all the right moves at the same time as he does is a great way to soothe his prickly ego and coax him out to the local club.
Rent a movie. Kathryn Alice, relationship coach and author of Love Will Find You, raves about the Will Smith movie Hitch as a get-up-and-get-dancing tool. "In one scene, Hitch, a dating coach, demonstrates the basic dance a guy can do so as not to look stupid. It's a kind of side-to-side rocking, with hands on your hips and elbows bent. It's a perfect illustration of how to get away with dancing when you don't really know how, and the movie also has a great message-that sometimes looking like a dork on the dance floor can be the best thing for your love life."
Be careful what you wish for. So your guy is schooled, groomed, and raring to go. Look out! He may be too eager to show off his not yet fully refined moves. "Once my boyfriend and I were at a New Year's dance, and there was this fantastic swing-dance couple out on the floor," says Lisa from New York. "The crowd parted to watch their skill. My boyfriend decided to get a little crowd of his own going and did this odd dance, a cross between break dancing, tap dancing and an Irish jig. I could have sunk into the floor."
New York-based writer Bob Strauss is the author of Who Knew? Hundreds & Hundreds of Questions & Answers for Curious Minds. Email him your thoughts here.
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