We women often carry more than we really need in our purses for those times when something might come in handy. I recall a friend who carried a large, heavy purse around all the time that looked like a small suitcase on her shoulder. She had trouble walking due to the weight and probably had a sore shoulder at the end of the day. Minimalists get rid of the excess in their lives and focus on the essentials.
It’s best to take only what you need to the milongas in Buenos Aires and leave the rest in your room where it’s safe. These are the items in my purse. I carry my dance shoes in a draw-string bag.
Pesos — take enough to pay the entrada, for drinks, food, coat check and tips for the waiter and ladies’ room attendant. These days you’ll need at least 100 pesos; another hundred if you travel by taxi to and from a milonga.
SUBE card — this is what you use to pay for rides on buses and the Subte. If you don’t have the card, you have to pay more for a bus ride with coins.
Photo identification — a copy of your passport photo page, not your passport.
Tissues — for wiping your brow between tandas and/or a folding fan
Eyeglasses — if you need to see who is inviting you to dance from the other side of the room
Personal cards — to share your email or social network address with new friends.
Hand gel — to use between tandas
Breath mints — for obvious reasons
Earplugs — to cut city noise or when the music is too loud.
Pen — for when you want to make note of a tango you never heard before, etc.
Comb, lipstick, perfume — for touchups in the ladies’ room.
Apartment keys — the most important item you carry so you can rest well after dancing.
That’s my minimalist checklist for the milongas. I recommend keeping your purse on top of the table where it’s in full view. There are some milongas in Buenos Aires where it’s best to check your purse — Confiteria Ideal and El Beso; it’s not as convenient when you need it, but it’s safer that way.