Who should ask for a dance? Poll results

There are (quite) a few topics that split opinions among social dancers. One of them is who should ask for a dance - is it the man’s job, should women take charge in this, or does it even make any difference?

Last month I posed this question to you, hoping to get a lot of replies.
And reply you did! Thank you for taking part in this poll so actively!

The zouk dancers are quite a liberal and equal bunch. We prefer to dispense with the formalities - there’s no cabeceo like in Argentine tango or any rules of who can ask whom. But are we really completely liberal or do we want complete equality? The leader has more responsibility in the dance in many ways so should the leader also be responsible for asking the follower? Or on the other hand, as the follower should surrender to the lead, should the follower then make the decision of who she wants to follow? Like I was expecting, and could read from your comments, there’s not a 100% consensus on this.


The question

The poll asked “Who can or should ask for a dance?”. The options were:

Only the guy (leader) can ask the girl (follower).
I prefer the guy (leader) asks the girl (follower).
No preference.
I prefer the girl (follower) asks the guy (leader).
Only the girl (follower) can ask the guy (leader).

The respondents also had to select whether they were are a guy (leader) or a girl (follower). 58% of the respondents declared themselves as girls / followers and 42% as guys / leaders.

I tried to make the poll as simple as possible. Now, I know it still leaves some options open, as many of us both lead and follow. But for most dancers there’s a role that is more preferred than the other and usually the guys prefer to lead and girls to follow. The main reason why I primarily addressed the question to girls and guys and only in brackets wrote leaders and followers, is that it’s easier to reply that you’re a girl or a guy than to reply you’re a follower or a leader. I gave you an option to give feedback on the question; and as you can imagine, the gender vs. leader-follower roles came up in your replies. Read more about the feedback and comments below. But now, to the results!

The results: Who you prefer asks for a dance

Out of the five options, only two were present in the results:

I prefer the guy (leader) asks the girl (follower). 
No preference.

None of you were adamant that only a guy can ask or only a girl can ask (which was to expected, but I wanted to give you the option anyway). Also, no one thought they prefer the girl (follower) asks the guy (leader), not even one person.

Out of what you voted, there was a rather clear winner: 65,2% had no preference of who should ask.

35,8% of you preferred the guy (leader) asks the girl (follower). This was the breakdown of all the votes:

Here’s where it gets interesting. The guys / leaders and the girls / followers didn’t think the same way about this. Among the ladies, or followers, it was rather even between the two options; 48,4% had no preference to who should ask and 51,6% of the ladies preferred the guy (leader) asks, making it a marginal winner. Among the gents, or leaders, there was almost no question which option was more popular; 81,2% of the guys voted for “no preference” and only 18,2% - that's less than one in every five guys - preferred to be in charge of the asking.

So among the respondents, the girls were rather slightly gravitating towards having the guy to ask - but only slightly - and clearly most guys wanted to have complete equality. 

Perhaps your feedback sheds some more light into this!


Your feedback

As I mentioned, there was an option to write your feedback on the question and further discuss the topic. And your feedback was very interesting! There are very insightful comments below so make sure to read them - thank you for taking the time to write them. And remember you can always write more on the comment section at the end of the post, I would be happy to hear your thoughts and I’m sure all the readers too!

“I prefer the guy (leader) asks the girl (follower)”

A collection of some of the reasons why you voted for “I prefer the guy (leader) asks the girl (follower)”:

Why ladies / followers prefer the guy asks

Usually there is less leaders than followers, so i don’t like situations where followers are queuing to the leaders and don't give them chance to ask who they like.

In an ideal world [I prefer the guy (leader) asks the girl (follower)] but if you wait for a guy to ask you could wait all night! Unfortunately the girls totally outnumber the number of men on the scene!!

I've noticed that guys (leaders) who ask ladies (followers) are more confident dancers.

I am not a very good dancer.

Why gents / leaders prefer to be the one to ask

A man should remain a gentleman, but a Lady always has the right to ask to be asked to dance! 


"No preference”

A collection of some of the reasons why you voted for “no preference”:

Gender roles vs. dance roles

For me dancing is not a sex related thing. I hope everyone can do as they want. Also I see more options (eg. guys being followers and girls being leaders or something in between). - girl (follower).

Depends which role i am dancing :D - girl (follower).

Maybe even the traditional guy-girl-roles should be questioned in this time of gender equality? Meaning that girls can lead as well and guys can follow. I've been a leader more than once while dancing with another girl, why couldn't boys dance together too? - girl (follower).

Living in the 21st century

In today’s society, the rules and accepted norms are much more relaxed than they used to be so it's perfectly fine for a girl to ask a guy for a dance which in my experience encourages a happier dance community. - guy (leader).

Are we living the year 2015 or not? It is absolutely fine for anyone to ask anyone for dance if they like. - girl (follower).

Don’t be shy - just ask!

If we're aiming for gender equality it shouldn't matter. Whilst it is nice for guys to ask girls. Girls if you want to dance with a guy just ask him. And there are plenty of people who are too shy to ask for a dance both guy and girl so just ask there is no harm in doing that. After all that's why we come to a dance party. - guy (leader).

Guys are shy sometimes and it takes too long to wait for them :-) and why shouldn't the girls be able to pick / choose as well?!! - girl (follower).

I like to ask and I like to be asked. I wish people said "no" directly and without hesitation, and also took it neutrally and without any hurt. - girl (follower).

Level of dance

I think the question is not about which role/gender should be the one to invite for a dance, but that of the more experienced dancer being the one to invite. If there is no difference in the 'level' of the dancers, it makes no difference who invites. - girl (follower).

Zouk The World award for the most comprehensive reply

Two reasons. First: it should not really matter in our day and age. There are roles in dancing which are commonly associated with gender, but there is some freedom in this too. Many girls learn to lead and are good at it. Also some guys (including me) learn to follow, and some of them (not including me) become good at it. Second: Guys can be shy as well, and having a day when they want to dance but don't feel like asking. Girls might prefer to get a guy to dance rather than wait to be asked. In the end people will get more dances, when everyone feels free to ask for it no matter what gender or role in dancing they have. - guy (leader).


Missed out on the poll?

Who you prefer asks for a dance?
Or how do you feel this is in your dance community?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments! 


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