||[Jul. 8th, 2008|05:09 pm]
Couples Like Us
Once I saw these figure skaters on television do a routine where they were both in drag, so the man in the dress was lifting this woman in a suit. When I walked into the room I did a classic double-take -- Whoa, is she really lifting him?! . . . . oh, that's a guy!|
That's what I thought of when my boyfriend and I decided to take a swing dance class. We intentionally went to an inclusive, gender-free dance studio, so they say "leader and follower" instead of "man and lady" or whatever. The class is a lot of fun. What makes it weird for me is that I'm learning the following part. Eventually, we want to be able to do ALL the crazy awesome flips they do in swing (yep, we're in this for the long haul) and we figured that would be more possible if I were the follower, because I'm smaller than him.
Part of me hates being the follower. I wonder what assumptions are being made about me. People have always assumed that I lead in dances. Yes, I'm female, but I'm usually taken for a boy in het spaces and a butch in queer spaces. So it's very odd for me to go to this class and present myself as the follower.
On the other hand, I'm finding that there are perks to following. Mostly it's that he is a better dancer than me: it's easier for him to learn dance moves, so it's more handy if he leads. Learning dance moves has often frustrated me, and part of that is because I've always learned lead. Following is easier! (If you're not wearing heels, anyway.)
I would also like to learn the lead part, though, so we can switch places mid-dance. Apparently swing is a great style for that.
Does anyone here dance? How does that affect your gender? Or does leading/following have nothing to do with gender for you? (Obviously being feminine doesn't mean being a follower, either.)