Monday, April 11, 2011


How to Avoid Dancing With People

If you've ever been a single lady at a club, you've had the experience of being dance-penetrated seven different ways by five different strangers over the course of a three-minute song. This is what happens in the club.

It's an awkward situation. But, unless you’re someone who likes to spend your evening all indignant and eye-roll-y, it can be handled with grace, and you can maintain both healthy boundaries and positive feelings between you and the dudes who would rub up on you.

1. Go with it.

Just for 15-30 seconds. I know you’re a delicate flower and the guy in the fedora is probably icky and all, but think about it: You've already accepted a number of indignities by entering a club in the first place. If you waited in line, paid a cover, then can't handle 15-30 seconds of rhythmic humping, you may be a little bit stuck up or at least working from a strange set of expectations.

There are, of course, different levels of dance predator:

Front groper: wiggles up to your face, usually with arms raised. The front groper approaches with a clear agenda, and should be treated with some respect. And I’d say at least feigned consideration.

Sandwich gropers: rare double teams, usually found in discotheques. Averted with a simple electric-slide style sidestep that will leave them face to face.

Back groper: the worst. Grabs your hips from behind, leans back, rams his pelvis into your delicate areas. Even at a gross venue, these guys push the boundaries of taste. Feel free to do an about face and move onto step 2.

2. Find a male with no moves.

This is key. Don’t latch onto your gay friend who toured with Ke$ha, and don’t dive into the arms of your girlfriend. Dancing with a girl may stir his loins, and dancing with a better-dancing guy will stir his competitive instincts and may result a potentially explosive dance-off situation.

Instead, bring a guy with no moves, or find him. Then sort of gesture at him and look put-upon, like, I would love to dance with you but I’m saddled with THIS GUY. If hopeless no-move guy is close to you, mime leaning in and whispering to him, Honey may I dance with danger? Then come back and shake your head — no. I may not. My guy has no moves and is driven mad with jealousy by our superior dance chemistry. Shrug. What a drag. Most front gropers will feel sorry for you and move on.

3. If it gets really intense, leave the area and get a drink.

But be warned that this will not deter the determined. A friend of mine tried this and her unwanted dance partner followed her off the floor like they were a two-person conga line. Then, while she tried to order, he kept dancing up on her, gyrating and moving his arms over his head like a rodeo cowboy. He didn't even offer to buy my friend her beer, which is pretty typical for a back groper. You can try it, but I say the situation started on the dance floor and that’s where you’ve got to end it.

4. Twirl a lot, or jump up and down.

Not only is this really unattractive, it conveys that you're clueless, immature, and not at all down to get down. Like, this girl came to the club where the whole point is to GET LOW and now she’s treating the dance floor like a Kangoo class at Crunch. It is also hard to get a skeeve-hold on a bouncing female. You won’t even have to worry about it, though, because it will convince most guys in the place that you're mentally deficient, and therefore a subpar candidate for dance floor procreation.

5. After the blow-off, soften your exit.

From about an arm's length, thank your partner for this shared moment of dance. Just a pat on the shoulder or back, or an approving nod will do. If you don't put a nice cap on the encounter, he'll return to try some new move. Dance predators are persistent. They truly believe that that superior demonstrations of male dance = female acquiescence.

It's also because, especially in the case of a front groper — ah, Christ. He's just a guy who took a chance.

Paige Ferrari just wants to dance with nobody.

59 Comments / Post A Comment

Heather Weaver@twitter

Baha, very good tips.


Cure for back-gropers (I use this frequently, but I suppose the non-violent thing to do would be to wait til he's actually put his hands on your hips/nestled his tragic dick up against your ass) but anyway. Take a step to your right, and jab your left elbow up and back, into his sternum. Move away without looking back.

This is only for the guys who come up out of nowhere and touch you without so much as talking to you or making eye contact, but it works quite well.


LOL'ing at "tragic dick"!!!




I fart on them.


I second the elbow method. Stepping on a foot accidentally/on purpose is a good backup.

Ella Quint

@heb Beautiful!


Ugh this is essentially why I lost interest in going the club. I haven't been in like 10 years! I just hate when you are dancing and enjoying yourself and then all of a sudden some creeper you can't even see is touching your ass with his peen. If this happened on public transit I would be whipping out my mace!


Same! I get the appeal of The Club, but I just couldn't get past all the locale-sanctioned grabbery.


I like to use the "move away and make disgusted looks and/or visibly heavy sigh" method.


#2 available for your club-going assistance anytime ladies.


i usually dance away while laughing with my friends as we glance back at the poor fellow. on the rare occasion it's an epic dance attack, i'll say (er, yell) "nooope" and walk away, usually into the middle of my dancing girl circle that i always bring with me to the club.


Not to be Kathy Killjoy, but I'm not on board with #1. While gropers are quite prolific, I've danced with plenty of dudes who know how to ask or signal someone to dance without their penis, so it's not a necessity to act like a wounded antelope in that environment. Hell, five seconds of that shit is too long.

However, I'm a big fan of #4. I usually flail or pull a Shuffle off to Buffalo move, and it works.


you're probably right. wounded antelope is sort of my default, though... now, where do you meet these guys?


On the dance floor, you should be like a cute antelope who is secretly trained in krav maga. I feel like if you let one guy do it, others will scavenge and pick at you until you're weak (like hyenas, to continue the savannah analogy).
I find that nice guys who don't grab are usually found in the clubs that don't charge half your paycheck to get in. I also find that even if you are somewhere terrible with $25 watered-down drinks, others are more likely to stay out of your way or ask nicely once you elbow the shit out of the first attempted creeper.


I registered just to say that I AM trained in krav maga! Gropers of any form are likely to get kicked.


I'm a big, big fan of this lady's advice:

Though I agree with applestoapples, nice guys usually know how to ask/signal that they'd like to dance with you and it doesn't involve their junk being all up on you.

I've been lucky enough to have 100% success with just walking away and usually I'm dancing like a total retard to begin with and that helps as well!

Creature Cheeseman

Last time I went out, a friend told me about this video and I've been spreading the word ever since. It's perfect!!


I'm trying to figure out this girl's accent and it's driving me nuts. I am also going to try this, though.


yep - default dancing like a fool is a good way to get guys to keep their distance. luckily for me it comes naturally! (seriously though, i never, never ever get hit on)


Paige Ferrari! Tell us stories of how lame-ass dudes try to hit on you with your own name! I know it's happened to you. Come on.


I think it's pretty much a matter of public record


Haha dammit, my due diligence had not been done. Apologies!


These are good tips to add to the repertoire! So far, stopping dead still, feet planted shoulder-width apart, and an exagerrated "WTF???" scowl/shrug combo have worked pretty well for front or back hunchers.

Hot mayonnaise

If you try the "going to the bar" exit and the dancing dude follows, start making-out with the first guy you see sitting at the bar (that's where I'll be).


OR: look for the guy who was dragged there by friends, and who is sitting at the bar looking at the dance floor with an expression of academic fascination on his face. He's thinking "What are these people doing? I should take notes and publish this in an anthropology journal."


lol Thats usually me until I get pulled onto the floor by a female dance predator who wants to test my dancing ability...




I always called the persistent back-gropers "butt barnacles".

Where are you guys going that are so plagued by gropers? I don't think I've been groped while out dancing in New York since an extremely ill-advised trip to Lotus in like 2004.


For DC, I actually refuse to go to a lot of these places anymore, but there's an area just south of Dupont Circle that I refer to as The Douchebag Triangle. Most of those places, but most of all, motherfucking Lucky Bar.

Also, Wonderland Ballroom a week ago!


OMG Lucky Bar is the worst. (Then again I think you could say the same thing about all bars on Connecticut or 18th Below Dupont.) I once saw a guy grope dancing some poor girl during the Euro 2004 Tournament. Who does that during a soccer game at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday?


Who does that? The skeeves who go to Lucky Bar.

Ugh. This post is pulling up all sorts of repressed gross-place-going memories from 2006-2008. ugh ugh ugh.


I thought I would regale you with a tale of my 22-year-old innocence. Yes, I was still dance-club innocent at 22. I will throw down in the pit at a punk show but I do not do "dance floor." I made an exception for my bachelorette party, when my friends all wanted to go to a club. We picked a kistchy 80's theme club and I was decked out in bride attire, bride t-shirt, veil headband, thinking that this would keep interlopers at bay - this girl is not available! Move on boys!

Sadly no. Apparently a bride-to-be is a much sought after target, despite any lack of dance floor prowess or interest whatsoever. I spent most of the night at the bar.

I probably should have broken out some of my moves from the mosh pit.


I must be something right to be getting such good grindback. Maybe it's the skintight red patent-leather jumpsuit?

Anna Marquardt

Everything is right about a skintight red patent-leather jumpsuit.


On the rare occasions when I went to The Club: I could usually avoid this by, as soon as some strange hips tried to touch mine, standing stick-stiff and glaring at them until they grinded off into the ether.


Maybe I'm just a (pre-Katie Roiphe) Old, but why be so sensitive about the feelings of someone who is trying to rub his ween against you without your consent?
And I don't buy the "trying to prevent a violent response" argument -- anyplace with dance-floor-gropers also has a number of big bouncers happy to show a handsy jerk the door.


Totally with you on this. The post is really funny, but I see no reason to be nice to someone who touches me without asking or receiving obvious encouragement. One time a guy started arguing with me about why I wouldn't dance with him because obviously I could out be going out dancing in order to pick up guys. He couldn't understand that I might have gone out dancing with friends because I freaking like to dance.

El Knid

@City_Dater Because otherwise you're being that obnoxious American tourist who smugly craps all over local mores. That velvet rope you went past where you had to show ID and get a stamp? That was you clearing customs. You're now in the Creep Republic, where they don't have concepts like "personal space" or "consent." Don't approve? Me neither. So don't support them with your tourism dollars.


@El Knid If only this kind of irritating behavior was limited to places with a cover and a velvet rope! Then it would never happen to me.

Ella Quint

@theharpoon - Word. Don't be dry-humpin' me unless I give you the verbal/non-verbal go ahead. And if we haven't even made eye contact and your buffing my ass with your groin? Prepare to face the wrath/mace/any object handy that I can beat you down with.

Realted but unrealted topic: I would simply die of delight if I could lay hands to a telescoping police baton. Seriously. My b-day is in August.


So, there is an up-side to getting old.


Positive outlook!


Holy shit, everything described above sounds awful. Why do you guys go to The Club?? (no judgment, serious question)


Drinking and dancing are tons of fun and plenty of men are fun to dance with and super sexy on the floor and it really isn't (always) as awkward or difficult to excuse yourself from unwanted dance partners as this article might make it sound


Heheh, you kinda reminded me of this Lily Allen song that also gives hitting the bar some sinister undertones to the point of serious comedy but I promise going out does not need to be a dramatic production


Or go to a lesbian bar! Everyone will be very friendly but way too scared to talk to you, ever.

J. Schmuck

@km1312: because sometimes, a lady sometimes has to get her dance on. And she should reserve the right to get her dance on without being accosted by unwanted gyration.


I have to say, this situation RARELY happens in clubs in England which is pretty awesome. Maybe because English boys can't dance and/or are polite, but I have to say I don't miss the dancebuttrape situation in American clubs. Luckily, I'm real good at my preferred dance move which I like to call "lots of elbows".


@cmcm: yes, was going to say that as a Brit I don't recognise much of this at all. OR, that maybe everyone here is a back-groper, but very rarely in an intense dick-to-arse way, and more in a "I'm going to casually put my hands on your back and dance behind you and you can back up into me if you like, no biggie, and if you turn around to check out how hot I am, I'll just stare off into space politely while you make your judgement" way. Has its pros and cons I suppose :/

El Knid

dancing with a better-dancing guy will stir his competitive instincts and may result a potentially explosive dance-off situation.

Um, how is this not, like, the best possible outcome?


@El Knid imagine being in between Will Farrel and Chris Katan in Night at the Roxbury....i could be wrong...but this is the image i get!!

Alexis Bartz

Honestly to avoid dancing with people, all you need to do is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wRXa971Xw0

Best advice I ever received.


If someone tries to dance with me and I'm not feelin' it, I simply stop moving. They tend to get bored and move on pretty quickly.

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