This is not intended to be a contentious statement in the slightest. In fact, I rather think it is safe to say that being a jerk is really his raison d'être. In Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland, we meet Hamish at the start of the film dancing a quadrille with the movie's 19-year-old titular character and he wastes no time showing everyone what a jerk he really is, which makes it all the more horrifying when we find out that he is Alice’s fiancé-to-be. While dancing, he does a great job of demonstrating the exact opposite of what GOOD leads should do.
Learn from Hamish. Don't make the same mistakes he makes below. Don't be a jerk.
STRIKE 1: "I think you'll do best to keep your visions to yourself.”
At the start of the dance, Alice relays to Hamish a rather silly vision of seeing all of the ladies in trousers and the men in dresses. (Actually, that's not too far off from a couple of contra dances I've been to.) Hamish, however, is too wrapped up in his own ideas about how the dance should go and is completely uninterested in finding out what is important to his partner. Good leading is all about the dialog you have with your partner while dancing. As a lead, you need to understand what kind of energy your follow is bringing to the dance, and you need to be open to incorporating that energy into your leading. In this case, Alice is clearly feeling silly. If Hamish has any hope of Alice’s enjoying the dance, he’s going to need to at least try to meet her halfway in order to match her energy. If you don’t make this effort as a lead, you are likely to reach an impasse, and that may be the last time you have this follow as a partner.
STRIKE 2: "When in doubt, remain silent."
No. No no no. And oh yeah, by the way, NO. If you are dancing follow and are ever in doubt about a lead's behavior -- if the lead is hurting you, making you feel unsafe or ESPECIALLY if the lead is dancing with you in an inappropriate manner by your own standards -- speak up, squawk, shout, or yell. Make yourself heard. As a lead, LISTEN to your follow. They shouldn't ever have to repeat themselves.
STRIKE 3, (ALICE IS SO OUT OF THERE): "Pardon us... Miss Kingsleigh is distracted today."
This is the one that made me want to reach into the movie screen and slap Hamish. While promenading around the set in the quadrille, Alice bumps into a dancer from the next set over. After they pass, Hamish shouts this gem over his shoulder at the other couple. Do not EVER do this -- don’t blame your follow for your own lack of care. Accidents occur on the dance floor sometimes. If you’re leading, however, you need to be looking out for your partner. That means watching where both you and your partner are going during a promenade. Frankly, if your partner collides with another dancer, it’s your fault because you did not move your partner out of the way fast enough. Under normal circumstances, such an event would frequently be laughed off as a minor fumble. It is highly inappropriate, however, to blame the follow for the collision. It is inexcusable to do so in a loud voice so that everyone in your set and the next can hear you cast the blame. The only thing you will accomplish is to broadcast to all within earshot that you are a jerk.
Don’t be Hamish Ascot. Respect your partner. Include your partner (or neighbor...) in a shared experience. Social dance is a shared experience, not a lead-only show. You want your partners to dance with you again, not chase the nearest rabbit into the line furthest from you.