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.

Friday, November 09, 2007

El Negro y La Novia

That's what we're often called in the milongas, and everybody knows who we are.

In Argentina people are called by what they look like: el chino, la vikinga, el flaco, el gordo, la rubia, el pibe, la turca...and it's affectionate, not derogatory.

Ruben is also sometimes el tuco, because he was born in Tucuman, a northern province of Argentina. In Tucuman, there are many people of "Arabic" descent; whether their ancestors were from Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, or Turkey, nobody seems to know, and it's all the same in Argentina--Turco.

Ruben has the coloring of many people from Tucuman, and also a last name, Aybar, that is Arabic. Many of his amigos call him negro, as he also, smiling warmly, calls his dark-skinned friends.

I told him that wouldn't fly in the States where it's rude to notice someone's appearance. But here I am very happy to be la novia del negro.


Tanguillo said...

So he is from Tucuman! Me too! nice to know a fellow citizen :)
Probably you know the story of the "turco" nick name that we give to all people of Arabic type: Actually, here in Argentina, there are very few "real" turcos. But a lot of Arabs came when Syria was invaded by turkey, so they nationality in paper was Turkey. But actually they don't get along very well with turcos (right know there is a lot of controversy about the Armenian massacre). Anyway, we tend to simplify too much nationalities: all people from spain are "gallegos", all from USA "yanquis", all from Italia "tanos", so all from Syria became "Turcos", of course.

BTW It will el "tucu", not el "tuco" (That is what we put to the spaghettis! :-o )

tangocherie said...

Thanks, tanguillo, for the correction of "tucu." I actually knew that but made a typo because of "turco."

So do you have Arabic blood, like Ruben? Do you have the same coloring? I've met other Tucus, and they look like brothers.

I love it that we have conversations like this one.

Besos back atcha!

Anonymous said...

Funny thing, my dad sometimes calls me El Negro, because my name, Blake, means black, and if you say it in Spanish, como "blah-ke," it sounds a bit black-ish. He has a dark-skinned daughter daughter whom he sometimes refers to affectionately as La Negrita, which he says is okay in Costa Rica, where they live. He and I are vaguely Arab-looking gringos... :)

I love your post with your diary entry. As the only guy in my community who dances close-embrace, I wonder if there is a way to bring that way to North America. It seems they have it, at least, in Colorado, from what I can see in most of the youtube videos of events there. So it is possible. If tango were only an open-embrace affair, I don't reckon I'd be overly interested.