Let me ask you something...
Do you ogle good-looking strangers across the room while on a date? Do you take over conversations with stories of how great and talented you are? Or do you strike up conversations with strangers using "Are you single?" as the opening line?
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, read section four of my ebook No Thumbs. The Salsa Dancer's Guide To Leading So Great She'll Ask You To Dance. It's all about creepy guys (or girls) and how not to be one.
If you wouldn't do it in a conversation, don't do it on the dance floor. All too often, basic social skills - such as listening and being considerate - disappear the moment the dance shoes are on. Scouring the dance floor for better dancers while dancing with someone else is rude. Leading fancy moves to show off your skills, with no regard as to whether your partner can follow them, is rude. And asking insensitive questions is, you guessed it, rude.
Which brings me to the one question - composed of three little words - you should never ask when dancing with someone of any skill level. And just to be safe, don't say these words right before asking someone to dance either. Let's just make it a rule: Don't say these three words unless your goal is to be perceived as an arrogant oaf. Yes, an oaf.
What are these three little words that can wreak big havoc on your dance floor reputation?
"Are you new?"
The moment these words leave your mouth, you transform from nice to narcissistic in 0.3 seconds flat. At least in the eyes of the other person. Either your partner will assume you dislike dancing with newbies and are asking to make sure she's not. Or she'll assume you think she's not very good at dancing. Which may be true. But either way, there's no happy ending.
The only exception to this rule is if your partner brings up her skill level first. Then it becomes a safe topic. Otherwise, just keep your pretty mouth shut and do your best to enjoy the dance.
Here's to not ridding the dance floor of douche bags.
P.S. This applies just as much to the ladies.