No One to Dance With

Tango Tia: I’ve been diligently taking lessons, attending practicas and practicing by myself now for 9 months. I’ve had many compliments from my teachers – but – I get only very few “yes’s” when asking women to dance. A full tanda is rare. No one is able to figure out the problem: I’m 60, male and very average looking (but not overweight). Is that the problem. It’s not an age thing, either: women in my age group will dance 1-2 dances, then want to sit down. What’s the point of $50/hour lessons when no one will dance with you?

Dear No One to Dance With: I’d love to help get this resolved so you can enjoy your tango life. You are probably doing fine on these, but just to review a few basics:

Pop a mint often, have no personal or clothing aromas, keep your follower safe, follow line of dance, quiet when dancing, not bumping in to her or stepping on her feet, maintaining a comfortable embrace. If all of those are in place, here are a few options to consider:

1. Ask a trusted teacher to dance a complete tanda and give candid feedback.

2. Ask a trusted friend to dance a complete tanda and give candid feedback.

3. Compare what each tells you and look for similarities and differences.

4. If you’re okay with this, ask a follower who has cut you short to please tell you why.

5. Wait till the third song of a tanda and ask someone who is still sitting. (This would be good to start with.) If she visits with you during the cortina, ask her if she’d like to continue. If she starts to leave or says “Thank you,” let it go and try the same approach with someone else later.

7. Film yourself dancing and review with a teacher and/or partner.

Let me know if you follow through with any of these and the results.

Tango Tia 


  1. Tango Tails says

    Dear Tango Tia: I, also, in my class have a person with the same name, “No One to Dance With”. I’m curious if “No One to Dance With” got help and is enjoying a tango fulfilling life now? I have had this person on my mind all night and woke-up with him on my mind. Since, I am in “No One to Dance With’s” age group, and I am successful at the milongas, I want to help. I do agree with you very much on everything that you wrote to help “No One to Dance With”. My initial thoughts are that he is emitting or carrying on him a strong odor of some type that is foul/offensive, and also may has a fashion issue too. Even good friends and teachers may be hesitant about a candid honest answer. If I may provide additional information/help to “No One to Dance With”: When asking for help, be highly sensitive to how the person responds. If they hesitate at all, then the answer is “Yes”! Be completely honest with yourself, “No One to Dance With”. I was trying to help another person with your name the other day, and giving him the “hint” of this problem, along with other issues that he had. He asked me the same question, like you, especially why is he being abandoned on the dance floor? I gently told him, and he didn’t believe me! I’m addressing this as dancing is not your problem, hence the positive compliments from your instructor and private lessons. Since I am a man, and one that is highly sensitive to smells (to everything, really), I may be able to provide additional thoughts on tangtia’s recommendations. I want to get into the details. I suffer from migraine headaches that are initiated by smells, loud noises, bright lights, etc. So, I understand these ladies. Bad Breath: EVERYONE has it, at least at times. Even a breath mint won’t take away strong bad breath that originates from a medical/serious breath problem. “No One to Dance With”, you must consider that you have it at least to some degree. In any case, improve on it. If your answer is a big, “Yes”. Then, a trip to the family doctor or dentist is in order too. Bad oral hygiene i.e. gum disease, or stomach/digestive problems/sinus infections, or chronic sinus issues can cause bad breath. Be completely honest with yourself. A person that has this can’t smell himself/herself. From a dental aspect, have the best oral hygiene possible. Dentists recommend that everyone brush their teeth well, at least twice a day. If you wear dentures, make sure they are freshly cleaned. Brush/scrape/wash your whole tongue, and floss regularly, especially before a milonga. Have a clean mouth. Stay hydrated with water, not soft drinks or drinks sweetened with sugar products that sour in the mouth. And, do as tangotia says, pop the breath mints and/or a breath (sugar free) gum. But, if you use gum, take care on how you handle the gum in your mouth, which is a complete subject of itself. Note; take the hint. If someone offers you a breath mint, take it! That may be their way of telling you that you have bad breath. If you love garlic and eat a ton of it, then hang with the garlic eating crowd. Or, don’t eat garlic before the milonga. Garlic & onions (raw especially), mixed with bell peppers, may having you burping this foul odor all evening. From the body & clothes aspect: Bathe before the milonga using a good soap. After, use a good antiperspirant/deodorant, unscented if possible, if you will use a cologne. Just deodorant may not be enough to protect you, if you sweat a lot while dancing, especially in summer. Mixed perfumed odors can have you smelling poorly too. Cologne/perfume: The rule is “little is much”. A little bit goes a long way. Don’t spray it directly onto your neck/face area, and don’t spray it on your clothes. I recommend only one spray directly on your skin, the center of your chest, under your clean t-shirt. Use a high quality brand and a scent that goes with your body/personality trait. You can get help from a professional at a high-end store with the professionals that sell these products. Consider it an investment. And, use a t-shirt, if you are wearing a dress shirt. I recommend a high quality 100% cotton v-neck, or high quality “high tech cool synthetic”. Then, put on CLEAN freshly washed clothes. Fresh underwear. Don’t wear your freshly washed outer shirts more than once, either! If you sweat a lot while dancing continuously, bring a second shirt set and change after you are “all sweaty”. Mens suits: I have opened some men’s closets (especially older men’s closets) and been “knocked over” by the smell of body odor (BO) from their suits, jackets, and coats. Do yourself a favor and regularly wash or dry clean them. Consider that if you sweat a lot in a milonga, or other engagement, it needs to be cleaned! Probably, every time or second time after you use the suit. Consider the cleaning cost an investment. A foul smelling suit, coat, or jacket can transfer the BO smell to your freshly cleaned shirt, or freshly washed body. To emphasize this, any foul smelling clothes will make your freshly washed body stink of BO. I, personally while serving in the military, had to address this problem more than one time with people, but especially with a senior ranking person doing this! He bathed after every physical training session, but put the same dirty clothes on, continuously. He stunk so bad, I could smell him in his office down the hall from me! Yet, he could not smell himself – nature has bestowed this primitive trait upon us so we can smell other smells. Now, Moth balls: This smell alone, if concentrated, could be so offensive that others may not want to dance with you. Many people hate this smell, including me. So, if you are using them in your closet, get rid of them and have your clothes free of this smell. You may need to wash your clothes, suits, jackets, and coats more than once to clear this smell. An example of the powerful odor of moth balls: I live in a condominium, and I can smell our neighbor’s moth balls upon exiting the door of my home even with their doors closed. Lastly, I recommend reading “Mens Health” or “Mens Journal” magazine (subscription or your local library) , as they constantly give great pointers on health, hygiene, and fashion. “No One to Dance With”, fashion may also be an issue at the milongas (not the practicas & lessons), as you are only getting some “yes” responses. Notice how the successful men are dressed, and then dress accordingly to that successful style that still lets “you be you” and your age group. Extreme example, I don’t see successful men wearing blue collar work clothes.

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