Saturday, January 19, 2008

HTT, I'm terrified of dancing, but my girlfriend loves to!

Dear HTT,

I live in Nevada and my gf lives in California. We met doing a mutual sport, because it requires me to go down to Cali quite often in the summer. We’ve now been dating for about 6 months and it’s been really hard. I haven’t seen her in 2 months, but we talk on the phone every day for several hours. I never thought I would get into a long-distance relationship, and I even delayed asking this girl out for 3 years, but I just like her so much I couldn't stand not being with her.

Now I have an opportunity to go see her in about 3 weeks and I’m so excited. The only problem is the weekend I can go see her is also the weekend of one of her school dances. She absolutely loves to dance, and really wants to have fun this year, because last year her date didn’t dance at all, so she kinda ditched him. So now I have this great opportunity to see her but...... I CANNOT and DO NOT like to’s my weakness. I just get on the dance floor and my whole body freezes.

Now, my gf and I were discussing my trip down there, and she asked me if I really wanted to go. I decided not to lie...I told her I didn’t want to go to the dance but will just so I can see her. Then she asked me if I was going to dance at all. I said I would do all the slow dances with her, but she didn’t seem too happy with that answer. Then she asked me if I would get mad at her if she danced with other guys while I was there. I didn’t even answer this question, because what am I supposed to say?? Yes, I would get kinda mad, but I want her to have fun.

So what am I supposed to do? I don’t want to drag her down…but I would get kinda mad, especially since most of her guy friends have crushes on her. Now, I know the obvious answer is…just go and dance with her. I can’t dance though and feel really uncomfortable every time I try. Also, I don’t want to embarrass her in front of her friends because her lame bf won’t and can’t dance, but I also don’t want her to break up with me for not dancing with her. I don’t know what to do, but I really, really like this girl, more than I have anyone else.

In need of your help,

Dance Disaster

Dear DD,

Well, bless your heart! This is quite a dilemma. Your gal seems intent on going to this dance. And it sounds like visiting her some other weekend isn’t an option. So, even though you say you’re a horrible dancer, I think this is still your opportunity to shine. Not by trying to pull some fancy moves, but by being game enough to go and risk looking just a little goofy to spend time with your girl.

Did you happen to see “Hitch” by any chance? With Will Smith and Kevin James? James’ character has a crush on a woman who invites him to go dancing. Unlike you, he thinks he’s got some pretty impressive dance moves, but they’re actually quite awful. You know the kind...big 80s moves that bring to mind MC Hammer, robots, and the white man’s overbite. Will Smith tutors him on some classier, low-key steps that won’t wow anyone but won’t call attention to themselves either. (In the movie, James’ gal finds his horrible dancing endearing, because it makes her look like a better dancer. In reality, I think this is a risky strategy, so I can’t recommend it.)

Have you actually watched many people dance? Like, real people, not professional dancers in music videos? Have you really looked around at ALL the people on a dance floor, not just the ones who actually know what they’re doing? Most people aren’t great dancers. Especially guys! Mostly, people just kind of step back and forth and bob their heads to the beat. Do you have any friends who can help you in the manner that Will Smith helped Kevin James? You’re not going to become a candidate for “Dancing with the Stars” in the next couple of weeks, but if you just practice some simple movements, you might feel a little more comfortable.

This is what I think you need to do. Go to the dance. If you’re old enough to drink and won’t have to drive, have one or two beers. (Drinking doesn’t improve your dancing, per se, but it relaxes your inhibitions about it. But no more than one or two! You don’t want to get wasted and lose so many inhibitions that you make an ass out of yourself!) Dance the slow dances, as you suggested you would. That was a brilliant idea, because slow dancing means little more than hugging and shuffling. And then work up the courage to go out there for some of the faster songs. Keep smiling so you don’t look panicked. Don’t try anything fancy and the worst thing people could accuse you of is being an uninspired dancer, but not an embarrassment. Don’t feel obligated to dance every dance. Take some breaks when you’ve had enough, and encourage your girlfriend to dance with her friends. You’ll impress her with your lack of jealousy (even if you feel jealous, you don’t have to show it).

If she has any sense at all, she’ll realize what a good guy you are and be grateful that you overcame your dancing phobia because you wanted to spend time with her, doing something that she loves.

Good luck, and if you get a chance, let me know how things turn out.