Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Don't the Guys Ask Me?

Ladies love to be asked to dance, but sometimes they wonder why others are being asked and they're not. If you're an established dancer, then little of this advice will apply to you. If you're not getting as many dances as you'd like, read on.

First, let's start with the obvious: Men are pretty simple, and if you are dressed fashionably, you improve your odds of being asked to dance. That doesn't mean you need to look like you're auditioning for lead pole at the strip club, or on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction but the, "I'm going to Home Depot for some painting supplies" look isn't always a winning one for a lesser known dancer. (Newer guys shouldn't look like they slept in their clothes either.)

Partner dancing provides a vehicle for showing off your femininity, and you should probably lean toward more dramatic clothes in the earlier stages.

These can range from ripped jeans and trendy cami's to shorter skirts and sexy tops. Pick a style that represents you and compliments your beauty, and don't be afraid to dress with attitude!

Location, location, location
All clubs have a "sweet spot" or location where the ladies are more likely to be asked. Figure out that location and make it yours when you're not taking a break. Many clubs have spots where the crowd has to pass to get on the floor. Stand there when waiting to dance. The more guys who walk past you, to or from the floor, the better your odds. Avoid sitting until you really want a rest.

While standing and waiting, if you are subtly grooving to the music, that is also a positive. Guys are attracted to movement, and some simple movement makes you a more inviting partner than someone doing a potted-plant imitation. Enjoy the music by yourself, and men will notice.

When dancing with a good lead, see if you can influence him to dance in front of the other guys you want to ask you later. Seeing you on the floor dramatically increases your future dances, and often a club has an area where the stronger leads hang out. Since most guys don't care where they dance, if you state a preference  most are fine going to that area.

Look like you are having fun with the other leads. This is huge. Few care if you're a world class dancer; they'd rather dance with someone who has moderate skills, a great attitude, and a sincere smile than a Britney Spears wannabe-diva who looks bored with the dance. They'll assume that if you're having fun with others, you'll do the same with them. In some instances, this is known as "faking it" and in dancing it works.

Wearing dance shoes is also a major plus. Maybe you're a Victoria's Secret model, but if you wear sexy street pumps, guys will admire your shoes (and maybe your looks), but more experienced leads won't ask you to dance unless they've seen you dancing with others.

Too many times, the decked-out women in street shoes isn't a dancer. Wearing dance shoes says you're not only out clubbing, but you're either already decent or investing in getting better. For many experienced leads, this is important if they don't know you. If they know you, few care about your shoes.

If you do sit and want to dance, don't get too far from the dance floor. Leads are less likely to ask you; because it hard to tell if you don't want to dance, if you're shy, or if you simply want to watch. If you are in a booth, avoid sitting inside, with a guy on the outside. Few leads will go around a guy to get to you unless they already have an established connection with you.

If you're sitting on some guy's lap, or he is close enough to put his arm around you and you are in a conversation, you look unavailable at that point. Be sure you don't look like a couple constantly, unless you want time off the floor.

If you are new at a club, take the class before the dancing starts. You meet men as you rotate during the class and some will ask you to dance if you had a fun attitude. You may not need the lesson but it's still an excellent way to get some new dance friends. Remember that familiar faces get more dances in the early days. You can also say something like "save me a dance later..." before you rotate. Few guys can resist that invitation.

Of course, if we have a common friend or I have seen you dance reasonably well with others, that changes things. If you have a great dance with a lead, ask him if any of his friends dance as well as he does. He'll be flattered and introduce you to the other good leads he knows.

If all else isn't working, prime the pump by asking some guys you want to dance with. You choose and 98% of them will say "sure" after you ask. You can do that as often as you wish, and over time you'll become known and get asked more too. As you walk off from one dance, others are more likely to ask you too, and soon you don't need any of these tips to have a great time.

Guys: Let me know what makes it more likely for you to ask a lady to dance.
Ladies: Let me know what has been successful for you.
A man on a date wonders if he'll get lucky. The woman knows.
- Monica Piper

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This article was originally published in May 2007. It's had a few minor edits.


  1. I'm going to a social tonight so I'm going to try your advice. I'll be back with a review!

  2. I found another last night while dancing at Mama Juana's: Don't sit where I have to ignore/reach over other women to ask you if you want to dance.

    I saw this woman on the floor and thought I'd ask her the next song or two. She sat in the back of the booth and there were two women on her sides, and they would have to move for her to get out and dance.

    I realized to ask her I would have to ignore/reach over the other women at the table. That seems rude to the other ladies so I skipped it and asked someone else, although I did ask her later when the other women were not in the way.

    She ended up sitting alone at that booth for that song as later a couple guys asked the women toward the outside of the booth to dance.

    If I know you, it is different, since we can easily make eye contact and ask you to dance without being directly rude toward the other ladies in your party.

  3. Okay, been to three socials by now. At the first there were so few girls I didn't have a chance to sit down all evening. However, I think I found the sweet spot.

    The second venue had so few guys that you basically had to fight over them. Couldn't figure out a sweet spot.

    Tonight, as well, there were few guys, but I managed to locate a sweet spot and got to dance all evening.

    I am trying a different venue again this Sunday AND bringing my brand new, beautiful (but oh so painful) dancing shoes. Looking forward to trying out your theory there as well.

  4. These are great suggestions! As for me, I don't like to stand around hoping for a guy to ask me. If I'm there to dance, I learned to "get over myself", and go up to the best leads in the place and ask them myself. I end up having a great night every time. I encourage other women not to be afraid to ask. You don't even have to say anything just stick out your hand and grab them to the dance floor. After some time those leads will ask you the next time they see you (if you were any good!)

  5. As a guy, asking one out of a group of ladies can be a bit intimidating – if you are rejected, it’s sort of like you are being rejected by all of them. We men take the path of least resistance – a lady on her own, close to the dance floor, smiling and moving to the music will be our first choice every time. Then it will be two or more ladies – again standing near the dance floor.
    If you’re sitting away from the floor, talking with your friends and I don’t know you – it makes it very unlikely that I’ll ask, especially when so many women are pro-active and grab me when a new song starts.

  6. Don,

    A few more tips for women who would like to be asked to dance more:

    1.) If there is a warm up lesson: take it. (this applies for leads as well). Introduce yourself. Its a great icebreaker.
    2.) Try another club. Some clubs seem to be clicky. Particularly the ones tied to a studio, if your not taking lessons.
    3.) Ask a lead for a dance. Men are not likely to turn you down. (its not in our personality).

    Thanks for your insights.

  7. Don, as a lead, I agree with you on most of the things you say will make leaders more likely to ask a woman to dance.

    I'd like to add that I'm less likely to ask a woman to dance if it seems like she's been drinking, which can include holding a drink in her hand, or standing near a group of friends or a table that have a lot of drinks and bottles on them. Dancing with a girl who's too drunk to dance is no fun.

    I know some salseras who might have a drink or two, but they never drink so much that they can't dance afterwards.

    Also, I agree with Alla, there's nothing wrong with ladies asking guys to dance! You might get rejected, but life's too short not to take the chance!

  8. One thing that does it for me is if the lady smiles at me. That will get my attention. And that will increase the odds of me coming over and asking for a dance.

  9. Great article, Don. A friend of mine said that she is not asked to dance, most of the time, unless she knows the guy, and she doesn't know why. This article will give her some great tips on how to keep dancing.

    Also, I'd like to add that when I am inbetween dances, I will try to recall styling combinations that I have learned from a workshop or class. Many times, we take classes but don't apply the combinations that we learn because we don't exercise recall. So, I will use those moments to try and recall what I've learned. In addition, since I was trained to dance ON 1, I practice moving ON 2 until asked to dance. I am usually asked to dance while doing either of the two strategies mentioned, which confirms your statement that guys like to see women moving, as opposed to standing (at least in a salsa club).

    Let's dance!

  10. The thing about men asking you if they've already seen you on the dance floor can work.
    Happened to me at a wedding recently.

  11. (AS A GIRL) Usually, if I am at a new scene that where I don't know anyone, I scope out the guys on the dance floor and ask top 3 salseros to dance. The best guy usually has a prime spot and all of the other dancers attention. Once they see I can hang with the best guy there, every other guy begins to ask.

  12. This advice is dead right ladies. As a guy, you often only have a few moments after a song ends to find the next partner and if a girl is standing in the right place, makes eye contact and smiles - she 90% of the way to getting a dance. There are some girls I try to avoid but I always seem to end up dancing with. They are really good at applying these kind of techniques.

  13. I used to worry whether someone is going to ask me or not. Then I stopped worrying, started to enjoy dancing (and myself) so much I could dance alone without regrets, and since then I have been asked lot more, never actually having a problem to be led.

    Also it's probably smiling and being on the dance floor most of the time.

  14. The main thing is that the ladies appear as if they WANT to dance. When guys are looking for a partner we are not trying to spend all night trying to convince you to get on the floor with us. Women by themselves near the floor moving to the music says, "She wants to dance!" Women away from the floor, sitting down, talking to her crowd, and paying no attention to the music or dance floor says, "I'm not here for the danceing."

  15. about ladies asking a man for dancing... man do turn invites down... usuing different excuses including this one (I am writting it jokenly but it was not said with such attittude) - I am just wondering around, and then goign to another girl and asking her for dance or oh I don't dance this stile ... but of coarse he is dancing this style etc... ok I understand there are often more ladies on dance floor than leaders and every lady wants a dance and leaders cannot dance with everyone of coarse... being in social dancing for more than 5 years I would like to say please be polite and dance fi you are asked by a lady because we do dance when you ask us 8even if we maybe consider dancing with someone better skills etc)

  16. You might also try putting your phone away for the evening. I'll never ask a woman to dance if she has her phone out!!

  17. These days, it's the ladies' job to ask the guys to dance. In a highly feminist country like the United States of America, guys who ask the ladies risk not only certain rejection, but also getting thrown out of the club.


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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero