Saturday, September 8, 2012

When the Guest Does Not Dance

Always at a dance, formal or informal, there are guests who do not dance. Usually they are men, for there is rarely a woman who does not know the steps of the latest dances—that is, if she ever does accept invitations at all. But "the guest who does not dance" is one of the unfortunate things the hostess has to put up with at every one of her dances.

And there is rarely ever an excuse for it. Every man who mingles in society at all, who enjoys the company of brilliant women and attractive young ladies, who accepts the invitations of hostesses, is failing in his duty when he offers as an excuse the fact that he doesn't know how to dance—for there are sufficient schools of dancing in every city and town where the latest steps can be learned quickly.

If for any reason, a gentleman does not know how to dance, and does not want to learn, he may make up for it by entertaining the chaperons while their charges are dancing,—conversing with them, walking about with them and escorting them to the refreshment table, and altogether show by his kind attentiveness that he realizes his deficiency and wishes to make up for it. To lounge in the dressing-room, smoking and chatting with other gentlemen is both unfair to the hostess and essentially rude in the matter of ballroom etiquette. The true gentleman would rather decline an invitation than be unfair to his hostess and her guests in this respect.