Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Guide to Invitations, by a Traumatized Dancer.

Ways Guys Should Maybe Not Ask for Dances, with Commentary Entirely in Punctuation:

"Hey, you're a lot thinner than the last time I saw you!" (!)

"Have you worked on your volcadas any? We could try them out." (??)

"Hey, for a second I thought you were Jake! New haircut?" (...)

"Let me just rub your shoulders." (!!)

Now look, I am as sensitive to anyone else as to the horrors of making conversation with people from whom you want something. It's why I am a terrible salesperson, because my mindset is: why the hell should I make people buy something I'm not enthusiastic about myself?

However, hearing all of these things within 24 hours of each other really makes me despair as to the level of conversation people can expect at milongas. Two of these are embarrassing, one is sort of hilariously challenging, and one is just creepy. When you walk up behind someone and rub their shoulders, you had better be a blood relative or a romantic partner of that person, you guys. Seriously. I should not have to spell this out for anyone.

(Can you tell I got the fourth guy? Still shuddering. No touching without express permission, people; it's common courtesy.)

Best part? He was surprised - nay, hurt and confused! - when I declined the dance.

Gentlemen! When asking for a dance, maybe something a little more innocuous? When in doubt, please feel free to print out and refer to this handy guide.


Weight loss, weight gain, visible cleavage, extreme youth, extreme age, skirt length, our inevitable mortality, your desire to rub her shoulders, body odor (hers or someone else's), how much better you are than her chosen partner, this great new move you learned in class and wish to try out, your desire to rub her shoulders, politics, your cousin Bob who's doing 3 to 5 for car theft, this weird rash you have on your knee, your desire to rub her shoulders.


Shoes, the weather, the music, the crowd, puppies, personalities of recent guest teachers, anticipation of upcoming guest teachers, ice cream, YouTube tango videos, and economics.


Name the unacceptable topic in the following invitations.

a) "I love this orchestra! Would you like to dance?"

b) "I'm on my way to dance at the moment, but I would love to have a vals tanda with you later, if you'd like to?"

c) "This lighting is really flattering to you! Would you like to dance?"

d) "Nice to see you! Would you like to dance?"


Danzarin said...

Totally agree. Once I was ancing with a guy, and in the middle of the tanda, in one of those cortinas I ask him how he is, and he says that he is recovering from pneumonia...Then he says "no worries I am almost recovered." Then he coughs... Well thanks a lot for asking me to dance! MY GOD! I should have left him then and there but I was so shocked and stunned I finished the tanda worrying about my health... Needless to say that was his last tanda with me... with or wihtout viruses...

La Tanguera said...

Planch, I've also had a similar experience with shoulder rubbers... I shook them off, but I was always amazed at how quickly they would extend their hands towards me...

The other thing I've experienced are a lot of "nice top!" comments... particularly in the ocassions in which I chose to show more cleavage...

one2tango said...

This is hilarious:) yet deeply true. Remarks on one´s looks, for one thing (unless they come from close friends or else are very, very sophisticated), are particularly unfortunate if they precede a dance invitation - they tend to be either sinister, or just dull.
Like, I know this guy who will always say ´You look good in red´, apparently thinking he´s paying you a really smart compliment. Well, it is kind of clever, I suppose, it can be recycled forever, and at every milonga there will always be a woman in red - but it takes all my good breeding to keep myself from rolling my eyes...
BTW I don´t look that good in red:)

Nancy said...

I am always thrilled to hear, "I am totally exhausted but let's dance this before I leave." What am I? The clean-up crew?

Elizabeth said...

O.K. How about guys who ask you at the end of the Tanda, halfway through the last piece of music? What for, so that they can get a little test drive before committing to actualy dance with me? Or because their mom runs the milonga and told him to dance with all the ladies whether he wants to or not?