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December 18, 2006

Why I Don't Ask You To Dance

A short essay in the new issue of El Tangauta.

El Tangauta


("...come to dance with me; I want to talk to you away from your friends. .." (1))

by Rene
It is not that I am playing hard to please, I beg you to believe me. It goes deeper than that… how can I explain it... One of your big problems is coordination. I am not referring to the fine motor kind, you have invested good bucks in both doubtful and prestigious teachers. I am talking about the coordination of our much-postponed encounter. It seems to me, my dear, that you cannot really understand how the game is played, and that comes close to being a sin.

I am going to play my part, man that I am, no doubt about it. You will see me with my back straight and my neck stretched, a slightly worried expression on my brow and that manly look that I have practiced so much during long morning shaves. I will zero in on your eyes and then yes, a light nod and a certain and feline subtlety in my movements will invite you to dance. It is an ode to courage, my darling, because both my marvelous ego and I will be risking a negative answer. My legitimate pride exposed in the middle of the floor; years spent grooming my indomitable image of heartthrob gambled heads or tails in that coded message inviting you to dance.

This is no small thing. That it is why I am asking you not to make it even more difficult for me.

I mean: if you know that I do not like very fast and rhythmic orchestras, when they play them give me a break. Don't force me into milonguero astigmatism, into "I look at you but I do not see you". Find a cool tanda, sort of middle of the road, something that will allow us to have a peaceful evening. I ask of you please, do not even dream of a milonga, let's proceed with caution.

So don't seek me at peak hours. Can't you see that the dance floor is crowded like Bristol beach in Mar del Plata? What inane reason would make me invite you to dance under those conditions? I would prefer that you have a good memory of me and not a run in your nylons or somebody stomping right on your bunion (remember that nature imitates art). We better wait until the dance floor is a little bit emptier.

Besides, I have been observing you and there are certain behaviors that you should urgently change.

If there are fans in the room, tie your hair; and if there aren't any, tie it anyway, your tresses get in my nose and I get allergies. And be a bit more selective as to who you dance with. Or didn't you know that that guy was going to give you more kicks in one set than you would get from a defense player of El Porvenir soccer team in an entire championship? And you expect me to ask you to dance after that? No sweetie, that's not how it works...

Don't hold the back of my neck, please, I beg you: it makes me neurotic and besides, it invites gossip. And on top of everything, you want me to dance with you dressed like that? Why? So that the guys become dehydrated and the women cross me off? Not even if I were crazy, doll; what is in it for me there? You need to wake up immediately...

Forget glitter forever. You leave the guys as if they were coming from being branded and, let's agree, you look almost as elegant as those who combine tango shoes with little short socks.

And get rid of that bad habit of fixing your bra between tangos, so that in order to keep my eyes from wondering, I have to breathe like the Tibetan masters and recite to myself the stanzas of Pobre mi madre querida (My poor dear mother).

And if you are going to sigh in my ear, don't pretend to be like Lady Di afterwards, because it makes me wild, I don't know if you understand what I mean. And with me...

- Hey, did you ever dance with that one?

- No, the opportunity never came up...

(1) N.T. ( "...ven a bailar que quiero hablarte, aparte de tus amigas..." ) from Sollozo de Bandoneon, Tanturi Cadicamo

Posted by joegrohens at December 18, 2006 08:51 PM


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