DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been ballroom and salsa dancing for 28 years. It is a great hobby, and it helps bridge generations. Most of the time, with respect to dance requests, I do the asking at socials, parties and clubs.
While I would like for the women I ask to say yes, it does not bother me if they say no. That is their right. I would rather a woman say no than to get on the dance floor out of obligation; when that happens, I can tell that she is not having fun. As a good (though far from great) dancer who is known for being a gentleman, I understand a “no” may not always be about me.
But what mildly annoys me is when a woman declines my request to dance, but then asks me to dance with the friend sitting next to her.
I respect that she is looking out for her friend, but it puts us both on the spot and can lead to me being turned down twice (or even more, if it’s a bigger group of friends). Some groups will have what looks like a congressional hearing to determine who would like to dance, while I am standing wondering what the heck I got myself into. I only asked the first woman to dance, and her friend is made to feel like she is the consolation.
I usually will dance with the friend if it is OK with her, but will never ask the first woman to dance again. What is the appropriate way to convey to a woman how inappropriate it is to dump me off on her friends without being rude?
GENTLE READER: Use your nimble feet to get out of harm’s way after the initial “no”: “I’m so sorry you don’t want to dance; perhaps another time. Excuse me.”
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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