Rebuffed in Seattle

Dear TangoTia: I politely asked a women to dance with me and she declined saying that her feet hurt and she was resting.  I then said to her, “That’s ok, I’ll just sit down with you and wait until you’re ready”.  Then after ignoring me for 20 minutes she accepted a dance with someone else.  I think that was rude.  Am I missing something?–Rebuffed in Seattle

Dear Rebuffed: Yes, definitely you are missing something.  First, if possible use cabaceo to invite a woman to dance.  However, that is not always possible so a polite verbal request is in order.  At this point a woman has three options (1) yes, (2) no, or (3) maybe later.  “Yes” and a simple “no” are easy to understand, but unfortunately “No” and “Maybe later” can come in many forms and be confusing, so here’s a guide.

  1. If any kind of excuse is offered without a followup, assume it’s a no and your job is to thank her and walk away.
  2. If an excuse is offered and she suggests maybe later, thank her, walk away and return later with a request to dance.
  3. Under no circumstances sit down with her unless specifically asked to do so.


  1. Md says

    The best thing to do don’t mess up your outside relationships for a dance hobby that would leave you broken. Hire a group of dancers to go out with all of you say no to everybody at the milonga in a nice decline way and just dance with the ones you came with. When the same lady see u dancing with the group you came with she gone to ask u for a dance then u return the favor she did for u by turning u down for a dance, and she would get the signal not to take u for granted next time.

  2. Jantango says

    Rebuffed in Seattle didn’t know to move on after ten minutes of silent treatment. He waited 20 and still didn’t hear her.

  3. Average Dancer says

    Here in Seattle we have a lot of what someone has called Tango snobs. You sometimes get the, “well, you don’t dance on my level” look. There’s something about the dance that encourages this sort of thing. I’m told it happens in other cities as well.

    Also there is the “cool” group. They only dance with other cools.

    Not all fit into one of the above classes so come back for another shot.

  4. Mary Tango says

    It’s possible that her feet did hurt, and she did need a rest. It could be honest and valuable information. And it’s possible that until she knows she can dance with said-invitation without adding to hurt-feet and tired-feeling, she will not want to dance. That means that as you (and she) continue to improve, an invitation in the very distant future is still possible. Not every partnership yields a good feeling, and all along the way the best partnerships are ones we work hard for, and they change all the time. That’s just the way it is, and not all about rude behaviour, nor you. An invitation is precisely that: an invitation. The minute I perceive it as a demand, is the minute I loose complete desire to dance. (And that’s me.) A huge side benefit to this dance, is all the learning we do that helps the rest of life off the dance floor!

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