Monday, September 18, 2006

Down the Rabbit-hole.

It's been a while since I posted; things other than tango have taken my time (what is that, I ask you? Outrage!) and I am only now settling back in to a routine.

Highlights of the past three weeks are below, more or less in the order they happened. Lowlights of the past three weeks are sort of a dark chesnutty color on the lower layer, just to give the hair some depth.


I'm sitting at a table at a milonga, near the dance floor and therefore Vasquez the DJ, who has warmed to me enough that she criticizes my posture directly instead of ignoring me. My partners are constantly complimenting how balanced I've become, however, so it's clearly worth it.

"Excuse me," I hear, and look up. It's an unassuming, slightly scraggly man who was in the beginner class. I'm too advanced for him (it looked like his first lesson, and at this point I have to play politics to maneuver for good partners), so I smile politely and prepare to refuse him.

"I like your shoes," he says, and gestures.

I like my shoes, too - they're blue and sparkly and four inches high. "Thanks," I say, and smile. Nothing unusual so far; the style and condition of one's shoes is an indicator of one's seriousness about the dance, and wear four-inch heels means you're in it to win it. (Wearing dance sneakers means you're either tired and dancing with friends only, or you're such a badass that you can wear whatever you want and you're still more awesome than anyone in the world.)

He grins and reaches down as if to touch them. "Beautiful," he says, and now he has the distinctive Voix de Pervert.

I slide my feet under the chair and say in a distinctly cooler tone, "Thanks."

"No," he says, "really," and bends over as if he is going to crawl under the chair and forcibly remove them.

I stand up like Iv'e been shot and am just about to prtoest on my own behalf when the man is assaulted, and it takes me a second to realize that Vasquez has left the DJ station to drag the guy off the dance floor for a very vibrant discussion in the corner. There's a lot of hand waving, and twice she points a finger in his face and he recoils.

He wanders away a minute later, a broken man, and as Vasquez walks back to the DJ booth she says to me, "It's not polite."

I sort of wish Emily Post worked that way, too.

"At a dinner party, it's polite for gentlemen to stand when a lady leaves the table. If they do not stand, beat them severely so they have a real reason to stay seated due to busted kneecaps. "


A legendary tango couple comes to town, and weirdly there are not enough men to go around. I end up leading.

Women leaders can sometimes be an annoyance to traditional milongueros, as roles in Buenos Aires are more conservative and tango lessons are taught as man and woman, not leader and follower. However, people are so generally execrable at this particular lesson that their hands are full, and I'm free to practice leading the basic step with proper dissociation, posture, and purpose.

Towards the end of the class I'm walking my follower in the line of dance - on the beat, dissociation, strong steps, giving her space and time - and the teacher says to me, "Es so."

I win at life.


Four days later I'm at a milonga, and the legends are there as guest performers. She watches my technique as I go by, and I decide I'm going to have the best technique of my life.

He leads an ocho cortado, and I slice my four-inch heel across my toes in the process.

I keep tango face and make it to the end of the song, but there's a bright white line across my toes that turns increasingly red as I watch it, and I hobble back to my seat to change my shoes.

I wonder what that guy thought he was going to do with four-inch heels. I'm armed in these things, dude. I can take out an eye.

Probably my own eye, but whatever.

1 comment:

Debirah Holland said...

I LOVE your blog. You crack me up!!!