A Little Advice, Honey

This is not C, but the picture captures the mood. Courtesy of morguefile.com.


I had the conversation below outside of a milonga at Esquina tango, about 3 months after I started my tango journey.

C was visiting from out of town and was staying only that night, then she was off again to Chicago. About two hours ago, C. emailed me just to say, "What I told you two years ago is a hundred times more true in Buenos Aires. Have fun, dear!" (and to give me permission to publish this.)


Esquina Tango, 2009


C. waved me over with her cigarette like she had something very urgent to tell me.

C: I like your blog, honey - you write great. But I think you are way too naive about tango.

Me: *scowling*  How so?

C: Look, in tango, you're gonna be attracted to men, you understand? Very attracted to a lot of men. Okay? (She said this with such a grave tone that I thought she was going to follow it with 'and it's going to ruin your life', or 'give you leprosy', or 'turn you into a communist!' Something serious, anyway. )

C: It's natural. You're a woman - you're not dead. They're not dead either. And this is tango. (She shrugged like this was completely obvious to everyone but me.)

I nodded agreeably and wondered if this conversation was going anywhere in particular.

C: . . . and you will be shocked by the men that attract you (squinting one eye and jabbing her cigarette into the air for emphasis) Shocked!

C: You will dance with some old man with 3 teeth, an old suit and no hair, with great cologne, but bad breath who stumbled into the milonga with a walker! (I couldn't help thinking that was awfully specific.)  This little man, he will dance you to the rafters and back.  Then, then (she repeated, pointing to me, both eyes squinting at me this time), when the music stops and you part for the cortina, you will look at him and think to yourself, "My God, what a man this is!" she shouted, clutching her heart dramatically.

(She leaned in close, the same way you lean in over a campfire, talking low, when you're telling ghost stories and the bit about the man with the hook for a hand is coming up. )

C: Don't you think for a single moment, (lowering her voice even more, and jabbing the air again with her nearly extinguished cigarette) that he (jab) doesn't (jab) know it! (jab). 

(C. leaned back, winked and smiled knowingly, satisfied with her proclamation.)

Me: (I'm sure my eyes were wide, wondering over the deep significance of this revelation.) So what do you do?

C: Dance! You dance! Dancing tango is for saying things you can't say, doing things you can't do. All the stuff you didn't do and should have - and things you did that you shouldn't have. All of it!

Let him know in the dance. Then there is no harm. If he is listening, he will know. If he is not listening (and by the tone of her voice I would not want to be one of the men who didn't listen), he is not worth the message.

(I nodding again because that's all I could think to do.)

C. crushed her cigarette out in the pavement, picked up her bag and started toward the steps into the milonga. With her hand on the door handle, she looked over her shoulder and laughing, added "and for God sake don't write about it in your blog!"

Which is why for two years I never blogged this conversation. With my last email exchange, I got her permission to share this, in honor of planning to visit Buenos Aires.

I'll be looking for a little guy with a walker and 3 teeth . . .  If you see him, send him my way.

9 comments:

Tango Therapist said...

I am on my way to Austin right now. But I am leaving my walker. They consider it extra baggage and I cannot afford extra fees after paying for the 2 new teeth. Now I have three.

Terpsichoral said...

I think the man with three teeth and the walker paid C to give you this advice. (I say this after 6 years in Buenos Aires, and counting....and I still have only felt sexual desire towards young, attractive men, funny that!)

Mark said...

There was a guy with a walker at La Glorieta the Sunday before last. Probably not the right guy since he wasn't that old, or little. I didn't count his teeth!

Anonymous said...

C. is absolutely right. Sad thing is, we can and DO melt for a toothless, balding and big-bellied guy (and sometimes, after the tanda, on the shared taxi) but the reverse is never true, no matter how seducing the dance may be! The only exception I know is a really thin 60+ woman who seems to regularly leave the milonga in interesting company.

Tangocommuter said...

How do I get to meet C? :-)

Frances R said...

She is right. Three teeth and the walker is an exaggeration, though. He is actually very handsome... just much, much older. :)

Pj Schott said...

Yes. We want more of C.

Mari Johnson said...

Finally back from the tango festival and already so far behind in answering comments and emails!!

Tango Therapist - for someone talking of bringing a walker, you certainly danced beautifully! :D

Terpsichoral - No comment lol.

Mark - So far I have heard from 6 different people who've seen this gentleman (or someone similar) at several different milongas. (I'm making a list of milongas to go to accordingly.) ;)

Anon - I've heard that quite a lot actually. I think it's not something limited to the tango scene. :(

Tangocommuter and Pj Schott - I have notified Ms. C. that guest posts are being requested. She does not approve of blogging (hence her advice to me two years ago), so I might not get my hopes up. I'll work on her. :)

Frances R - I've gotten a few sightings emailed to me with a similar description. I can hardly wait until May lol!

perri iezzoni said...
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