Queres tomar un café?

For those of you who need a translation of the above, it says: Do you want to have coffee?  This is a question in the milongas worth an explanation for those of you who haven’t yet visited Buenos Aires.

You have danced more than a couple tandas with the same man.  It is getting close to the end of the milonga.  You have been engaging in brief conversation between dances about the music, etc.  Since you understand the language somewhat, he decides to see if he can take things a bit further by inviting you for coffee.  You are flattered that a man who you just met for the first time wants to invite you for coffee.  You don’t have any plans after the milonga, so what’s the big deal?

You accept his invitation at the end of a tanda.  He tells you he will meet you outside on the street corner.  You feel that’s a strange way to meet him. Afterall, he seems interested in getting to know you, so why won’t he be a gentleman, wait for you to change your shoes in the ladies’ room, and then walk out with you?

Ladies, a man who invites you for coffee is inviting you for more than just coffee.  You need to learn about Argentine men and why they go to the milongas.  In a previous posting, I explained how three tandas with the same man to means you are together or at least interested.  If you continue dancing all night long with the same man, he is going to interpret that you are interested in something more. You shouldn’t be surprised when he invites you for coffee or dinner after the milonga.  It can start there and go as far as you want it to go.

When two people agree to leave the milonga together, they do so as discreetly as possible.  He returns to his table, pays his bill, and walks out of the milonga to wait for her around the corner, away from the entrance to the milonga.  She waits until he has left the premises so that they aren’t seen walking out together.  She goes to the designated meeting spot, which could be the corner to take a taxi or walk to another location.

My partner and I had a similar arrangement on Friday nights at the beginning of our relationship.  We arrived alone at the milonga.  We sat separately in the milonga.  We danced with others.  He sat at a table with other milongueros.  At the end of the night, we decided when we had danced enough.  He walked out of Club Gricel and waited for me to arrive at the corner before we went to his car.  Anyone who paid attention could see that we were leaving at the same time, but we didn’t walk out together.  After several weeks of seeing us dancing together, it was obvious that we were a couple.

If you find yourself interested in having coffee after a milonga, you know the rules.

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3 Responses to “Queres tomar un café?”

  1. Limerick Tango Says:

    In Hiberno-English I have heard the phrase “we were seeing each other but we weren’t walking out together”. I think perhaps the act of leaving an event together has meaning in many countries, it’s just interesting to see how different cultures decide to handle it.

  2. jantango Says:

    I had to look up Hiberno-English to know what it is.

    Perhaps it’s because there are so many encounters in the milongas that the custom of walking out alone and meeting outside is normal today in Buenos Aires after decades. If they are known to be a couple, it may reduce opportunities for tandas with others. I know women who never let it be known in the milongas when they are in a relationship.

  3. Arlene Says:

    Very interesting. I had a wonderful chat with one of our local Latin teachers and he told me that all Latin men want something more than a dance. It is just the way they are he said. 🙂

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