You say goodbye, I say hello . . .


You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello


More milonga observations . . . "You say goodbye, I say hello... "

When I first started going to milongas, I would enter as quietly as possibly, skirt the edge of the room and sit at the back. If someone waved or said "hi", I'd manage a little wave back. I wanted to avoid drawing attention to myself at all costs. That, and it's a bit of habit. In my family, we tend to arrive at and leave gatherings quietly - not wanting to interrupt anyone. Of course milongas are filled with strangers (at least in the beginning when I first started going), not family and friends, so there's an added stress. Not sure of the customs and habits of other dancers, I kept to myself initially. Then I met La Milonguera. Or rather she came over to meet me. La Milonguera seeks out new faces and makes them feel welcome. She greets them, asks where they're from, and introduces them around if there's opportunity. Once La Milonguera welcomed me, I felt instantly more relaxed - and that feeling stayed with me. Just taking time to greet people makes them (and me) feel more comfortable.

Now that I know more people, I can start recognizing the people who are new, or at least new to a particular milonga, and if I see them sitting by themselves or looking for a friendly face, I go over and welcome them. If I can, I introduce them around. And when I enter a milonga, I look for people I know and greet them almost as soon as I arrive (if they're not already dancing or immersed in conversation). I still can't make myself interrupt anyone.

However, come the end of the evening, I still usually try to slip out quietly. I have a tendency to not say goodbye and I'm not especially surprised to look up and see that someone else has slipped away and gone home. In particular, if I'm leaving because I'm hurting, I tend not to tell anyone - which is the exact time that I should be letting someone know what's up. I'm working on that. It also goes back to the not wanting to draw attention, I suppose - and the way I was brought up to not interrupt anyone. But not everyone was brought up that way. For lots of people goodbyes, I've recently learned, are very important - sometimes even more important than saying hello. So not saying goodbye can hurt feelings. I truly had no idea. The answer? Take time to do both if possible.

So in your family and your gatherings, are hellos and initial greetings more important - or goodbyes at the end of the night? Both?

7 comments:

Mark said...

The boy who never wanted to leave grandma's when his mother came, finally was persuaded when Grandma said, "Well, if we don't say goodbye, then how can we say hello later?" One or the other ending is not an option (even in parenthetical statements). Both are quite nice and maybe even necessary.

londontango said...

I always make a point of saying hello also, but there are times you can't always say goodbye. If I have danced with everyone that I know I am going to dance with, and I am tired, I just leave. Most times, the people that I want to say goodbye to are dancing. I'm not one to hang around. I can't do everything. I get your point, but it isn't always possible.

James Elrod said...

I know exactly how you feel. I still have some butterflies every time I walk into a milonga, class, or practica: will I still be able to dance; will I bore my partners; have I the confidence to ask new people to dance...and so on. Thanks for voicing these thoughts.
JME

Margo Romero said...

Both... because in Chile one kisses on the cheek for goodbyes and hellos. Not kissing someone is considered a bit rude, a group hello or goodbye is a bit rude as well...

So you're pretty much forced to go up to the person you are saying hello to and kiss them. A nice habit, however pretty disagreeable when you really dislike someone.

jantango said...

You are ready to enter the milongas in Buenos Aires. You are greeted at the door by the organizer or host and escorted to your table. A milonga is for the purpose of dancing, not socializing. I can share a table for four hours with a woman and not exchange more than a few words with her, including "hola" and "chau." Our attention is focus on the men.

Your local "milonguera" is following local ballroom behavior, but not necessarily what most will encounter in Buenos Aires. One leaves the details of their life at the door in BsAs.

The increasing number of foreigners in Buenos Aires milongas has changed the atmosphere. Of course there are men who are interested in knowing where a foreign woman is from, etc. for personal reasons. One doesn't have to answer. I've written about this on my blog.

Alex said...

Let's do like they do at high school basketball games...everyone line up in two lines facing each other but going in opposite directions...at the beginning of the milonga and again after La Cumparsita...that way everyone can say hello and goodbye to everyone...

Sorry, I'm being flip...I've acquired a habit that my friend Rigoberto Ermenigildo de Jesus de Curbelo was a pro at...the "disappearing act"...he'd be there dancing one moment, and the next "poof" he was gone...we would all say "Where did Rigoberto Ermenigildo de Jesus de Curbelo go?...but no one knew...

Granted, the US has different customs from the Latin countries, but I think most people understand when people have to leave...some of us have a long drive out into the hill country to get home...if I tried to say goodbye to even four or five people, it would become logistically difficult with conversations and tandas and ...

You get the gist of my drift...

While the milonga is a social thing...hopefully people won't take it personally, or think me rude for not saying goodbye every time...

?

Mari said...

@Mark - I would tend to agree in our community at least.

@londontango - that's pretty much my routine.

@James - thank you for your thoughts - looking forward to dancing with you again soon!

@Margo - I'm so happy to hear from you and saw on your blog that you and your family are safe. Thank you for posting your comment - I need to go catch up on your blog!

@Jantango - Thank you for you comment. As always I should clarify that my descriptions of the "norm" refer only to my local milongas. As far as La Milonguera's behavior - it's not a ballroom behavior (to my knowledge she has never been a ballroom dancer) but a *Texas* behavior. It's simply how people behave in groups in Texas, whether it's a party, a convention, or a milonga. After all, we're the "friendly state" - despite the damage George W. did to that reputation (and even though "friendly" is occasionally a euphamism for "in your business".)

@Alex - I think the "ducking out" crowd is numerous enough that few people are offended by the behavior, but until someone told me, I wasn't aware that *anyone* was offended. *shrug* We can do what we can, when we can, and no more.