Sunday, January 14, 2007

Je ne sais quois.

Before you think this title makes me hopelessly pretentious, let me explain. I once got a birthday card that read, "You have that certain 'je ne sais quoi'." Then you opened the card, and inside it read, "That's French for 'card with no money in it'."

I know you think it's lame - I can see you rolling your eyes! - and that's okay. What matters is that there is never a moment in my life that card is not funny, because I'm a literalist.

So, currently, my tango has that certain 'je ne sais quoi', which is French for 'time-sucking void of back ochos'.

I'm trying to balance writing and tango, which is proving nearly impossible because my pride forbids me to progress any slower than I'm currently progressing (read: nearly a standstill) and whenever I sit down at the computer to write, even to write the blog, I end up grabbing a pair of stilettos and making a break for the nearest milonga so I can find one of 'my guys' and get in a few tandas.

My guys are the group of guys I enjoy dancing with, and whom I feel comfortable approaching with the intent of getting a dance invite. This used to be an Austenesque comedy of manners until I eventually figured out I wasted half a tanda on small talk. Now it's mostly, "Hi! Dance?"

I love my guys because we are close enough that I can ask them to dance rather than waiting for them to intuit that I like the tanda and want to give it a go. Plus, it gives me a chance to dance early in the evening and get rid of the jitters, so that when I get asked by a guy I don't know as well, my inner monologue is a little muted.

(Hint: My inner monologue is usually something like, "Don't fall don't fall DON'T FALL am I on my instep I should really pay more attention to that OMG DON'T FALL.")

I think that, as I try to balance writing and tango, my guys will end up being very important as a way to get the most of every milonga, and I won't end up feeling guilty for neglecting my writing.

No, seriously. Out of the last 14 nights? 9 milongas. It's a disease.

ps. Recently, I've noticed that the "thanks, but no thanks" attitude is one of many things that men can get away with in tango and women generally can't. If a man doesn't ask a woman to dance, everyone agrees that's his prerogative without questioning his reasons. Women, on the other hand, are expected to either dance with a guy when he asks, or decline with the world's most generous excuse.

"Oh, I'd love to, but I don't dance to De Angelis since...uh...the war."

A woman, while she technically has the prerogative to choose, has to sweat it out every time she declines, because some guy she actually wants to dance with might see her turning someone down and decide not to ask her himself. This leads to chronic, often fatal, Horrified Followeritis. You've seen their faces in every milonga, pale and dreading, hoping the guy is leading a back ocho and not a volcada. They need your support now. Please, think of the followers.

I don't know where I'm going with this except that my friends are way more polite than I am, and now one of them has Chronic Horrified Followeritis (CHF), and has expressed the hope that one day one of the real dancers will notice her kindness and ask her for a tanda. I hope she's right, but je ne sais quois.


Seven Beauties said...

As a man/lead, it is fascinating to learn more and more about the internal processes of followers. At least followers who blog about tango. :)

miss tango in her eyes said...

This my dear, is exactly why the cabaceco is that women do not have to make up long excuses, just need to avoid eye contact.

La Planchadora said...

miss tango - I could not agree with you more that the cabaceo is the most civilized way to get a dance. Unfortunately, the men in my city seem never to have heard of it, and often if a woman is avoiding eye contact will go up to her and try to duck into her field of vision in order to ask. I have no idea why they think this will serve them well, but they don't seem to be deterred.