Due to popular demand (thank you, my friends for much needed clarity on the subject), I am reposting this. I should have trusted myself, and my readers, more.
It is beyond my ability at this time to express the thoughts any more clearly than I have. Truly, I regret that it upset a reader and a friend. However, it was a mistake for me to remove this post. In doing so, I questioned not only my ability to say what I needed to say, but my own right to say it. It won't happen again. For better or worse, my posts on this blog stand because they mark a place in my journey.
And right now, this is where I am.
Here is the original post.
Every so often I repost the link to Twists and Tango's "Tango Husbands, Boyfriends, and One Night Stands". My favorite part, the one I'm constantly reminded of, is this:
They are consistent, faithful, tried and true. Their lead never fails, their connection is always spot on. They know how to not only make you look good on the floor they know your weaknesses. Where your tango boyfriend is about the good time your tango husband knows that your left molinete is your weak side; that you prefer low boleos over high ones, he knows your favorite music and how you like to be embraced. Your Tango Husband is thoughtful and caring. He will work with you to improve your technique at practicas and dance with you for fun at a milonga. There is a downside to the Tango Husband. While you can have one Tango Husband.........he can have many wives......." (Though I've heard rumors of followers with a few tango husbands.)
I would add that the "their lead never fails" isn't quite the feeling I have for, or from, tango husbands. It's that whether the lead fails or succeeds doesn't matter. The issue is simply moot. Maybe someday I'll be able to explain that better, but for today, that's all I can manage. I do know that the attendance of a tango husband can get you out to a milonga when nothing else will. They can smoothly rebuild your confidence after a particularly rough tanda. (And you can rebuild theirs.) Recently the topic of tango husbands came up again and as I watched the dance floor, I couldn't help but wonder who was dancing with their tango spouse?
Can you see it in their faces? In their embrace? Looks can be deceiving, after all. Tonight, one couple catches my eye. (And there is always at least one couple.) Holding each other tightly as if braced against a storm only they can see. But tango is filled with cliches . . . There are a few knowing nods and raised eyebrows as they pass. 'There must be something going on.'
Yet so often it is because there's nothing going on that this dance can be what it is. Memories of past encounters, old flames, unrequited love, flights of fancy down paths not taken, worlds of 'what if', intimate and universal, all wrapped up into 10-12 minutes of music, dance and touch. Then gone like a dream you can almost remember upon waking, but not quite. Hard to explain, hard to describe - even to one's self. We walk away, hopefully, with a feeling that enriches everything else we see and do, on and off the pista.
well, I frankly don't know what the issue was that you felt you needed to remove the post. Glad you put it back. I read her post too and thought it was amusing with insights.
I just call them my trusty regulars. :-)
Mari... I think the analogy is problematic. I am not a prude. The connection I feel with a small group of women is intense, intimate, wonderful. But "husband/wife," "concubine," "lover," "friend," etc. do not help us to understand the beauty of tango relationships. Also husbands and friends will only have more to wonder about, to be jealous about. True tangueros, I think, know the importance of dancing in the community of dancers. They do not try to possess their friend / lover / husband like non-dancers do. Maybe we most need better words. I am making this up just now: "Mi tanguero" is someone you see as a regular, great dance partner. "Mi Milonguero" is a person who holds you like a woman should be held and you feel that he does not judge you, control you, wish to change you. He dances with an embrace that rarely loses its complete connection as if he cannot live without you. I wish you many Milongueros in your life, mi Milonguera! Así es la vida de tango: una esperanza que yo no sea el milonguero único que tengas.
@londontango - I think you've got the right idea, "trusty regulars" indeed. :)
@Tango Therapist - While I agree completely that the analogy has its limits and risks in that regard (and I've probably taken it further out of Pantina's original tongue-in-cheek context), the words "milonguera" and "milonguero" have their own limits (and for some people, their own baggage.)
After all milonguero/a was not always, and for some still is not, a complimentary term. It implies that one's life revolves around the milonga world and (traditionally) doesn't speak to how that person views their connection(s) to their partners - only to their connection to, and experience in, the milonga life. I would find no objection in the term because so much of my life, for better or worse, revolves around the milonga schedule. That's the place I got to feel renewed.
Perhaps it is simply too difficult a thing to put into words. You're right that for those who enjoy that connection to other dancers, it's an intensity and intimacy that comes without the need of possession or guarantees. It's in the moment and the moment is all it has to be, because we (hopefully) give everything we have to every moment - preferably in life, not just in tango.
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