[Callers] mental health and dance calling

Amy Cann acann at putneyschool.org
Sat Jul 9 09:03:17 PDT 2011

It's funny, I'm listening to all of these stories and thinking about the
creepers I've run into over the years, and I'm thinking to myself:

"Well, it's really quite simple, isn't it? Ladies, if a gent is being
inappropriate, walk away!

Just wait until you're out at the top or bottom, turn to him and say 'I am
uncomfortable with what you are doing and am not going to finish this dance
with you' -- and then do it. Walk off. And if he's really offensive, don't
wait until the end, bail out right then and there. The world won't end if a
line of dancers has to cope with a hole. What's more important, ten more
minutes of perfect dancing for that line, at that dance, or a really good
behavior-modification moment that will actually improve the dance community
more in the long run?"

And yet it isn't that simple, is it? We don't do it. We have these halls
just filled with women who are about as uniformly
modern/educated/self-actuated/socially conscious/feminist as it gets, who
spend our days running businesses or doing high end IT/research --  or
teaching children or counseling teens or lobbying to pass laws on issues
just like this -- and not once in my experience have I ever known a woman to
say "Nope, enough, not going to let you do this."

Heck, I've marched eighth grade boys (and girls) off the playground for
inappropriate behavior without a flinch, but at a dance, when it's *me? *I've
been groped and dipped and clenched a few times over the years and the most
overt thing I've ever done is reached back, grabbed his hand, moved it up
about six inches to the small of my back, and said "works much better for me
if you keep your hand *there". *The other times, I've simply become ice
cold/distant and stopped making eye contact - which can be quite the putdown
if you really work it, smile and nod at all of your neighbors but shut down
completely every time you return to your partner. But have I truly called
them out on it? No. And neither have any of my peers.

Food for thought.

More information about the Callers mailing list