After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
From the Milonga, You Can Also See the Stars
A letter from a milonguero
To the Touristango Woman:
Beaten, controversial, admired, tango is an inexhaustible source of pleasures. Each of us has an idea of it according to our feeling and to our search in the milonga. Frustrations, passions, love affairs, friendship, affections and loneliness make a carrousel of life experiences.
Since the revival of the dance, foreign female tourists have come to Buenos Aires to examine in its habitat that melancholic music, and its sensual dance which Argentines passionately dance. But they come "with advice" and they are suspicious of men.
There are a lot of claims about the male dancers' hounding behavior. Women feel men's approach as something frivolous and repeated. They come from countries where dates are scheduled and arranged like business commitments and where flattering remarks mean sexual harassment and is severely punished by the law. When they arrive at the milonga and they find the warm embrace, sweet promises of eternal love, an arm that surrounds their back and is laid in their waist, a warm hand that "talks" to theirs, the invitation to have the usual coffee after the dance, at first they feel invaded, and I say at first, because after a while, that attitude becomes a need.
The hounding issue is true. Maybe dancers sometimes go too far and with no signal at all we jump with no protection net, but, dear touristango friend who disbelieves the milonguero word, I'd like to tell you: milongueros are neither crooks nor liars, we are men who belong to a different society from yours, who work, who have a family, friends, and many professionals from several areas, like you, go to the milonga to channel their emotions, to share a life taste, to change the stuffy atmosphere of the daily rush; these are the men who hound you without taking into account your customs.
Dear touristango lady, very nice things that are a caress for the soul are born in the milonga. Couples, friendship, courtship, marriages arise from such a beaten environment and these are the nice face of the milonga. the trivialities of gossip, envy or rudeness are part of the same old inept ones.
Finally, the woman's soul is universal and I do not know any who does not like being wanted. From my table I have the answer. I can see on the dance floor all the touristango ladies embraced and dreaming on the shoulder of that dancer with no face who transports them to the fantasy world. I can also see many touristango ladies with their porteno partner and with the pleasure of having found their place in the world.
Dear touristango lady, you know what? From the milonga, you can also see the stars.
B.A.Tango, Julio 2007