A former tango place has re-opened tonight. We all thought it was lost forever after the owners raised the rent. After all this time it’s not exactly the same. Different paintings on the walls, not South-America-related as before, a different host. And a different teacher for the pre-milonga class, one whom I did not know. That’s why I came by the way. Not much to say about the class, usual sequence with pauses here and double times there, usual shortage of followers.
Being there I attended the beginning of the milonga too, watching a group of old (aren’t they all) argentine guys. One of them had brought his Geraldine-alike grand-daughter or niece and they were taking turns to dance with her. Then they made a pause and the girl came back to the table where she had left her drink. My table.
“You don’t dance?”
Now that’s a silly question. What are my options? No, I don’t. or alternatively, yes, you’re right, I don’t dance. It’s a dead end already. We won’t share a tanda.
“I am watching.”
“But practice is necessary too”, she insisted, “Watching is not enough, don’t you want and try the sequence that you learned in the class?”
And here again, what can I answer? Oh yes I want, accepting a verbal invitation, trying an unfamiliar sequence with an unknown partner during a milonga, and with half of the small audience being argentines… Not likely. Yet instead of something like “Are you asking me to break all the rules of the milonga in one shot?” I came up with a more diplomatical
“Precisely I am not doing too well with this sequence. But why not waiting until next week, maybe I will have mastered it.”
Here a reasonable, no-harm-done conclusion would have been, ok, see you, good luck with the sequence. Instead:
“But next week there will be much more dancers here, everybody will know it is open again. Come on, let’s dance.”
Well, time for explicit lyrics then.
“No. Thank you.”
Strange, really, this you-don’t-dance approach. Perhaps it works well with argentine males though. Kindda making them feel that their abilities are being challenged.