Tango tales

The most interesting conversations occur in the ladies’ room at Lo de Celia. Yesterday was no exception.  Silvia said that after ten years, she was finally beginning to learn about los codigos.  She doesn’t dance, but attends the ladies’ room.  Then another woman commented how she would rather not have to deal with los codigos.  Then she remarked how she didn’t understand why men wouldn’t invite her to dance after she had several tandas with the same man.  I told her that it’s about respect; when the men see a woman dancing mostly with one man, they do not invite her to dance.  We changed our shoes and entered the salon as the music began.  The word of the day was “frio.”

It didn’t take long for the atmosphere to warm up with excellent tandas.  The Di Sarli tanda got everyone up.  That was the quickest way for the temperature to change from frio to warm–a man’s embrace–and that’s why the women came to dance.

Roberto stopped as he passed by the way to his table.  I asked him about his health.  There was a time when he could only dance one tango before he was out of breath and had to return to his table.  He explained this to me the first time we danced a few months ago.  Years of smoking have taken a toll on his lungs.  Yesterday he said he has improved and can practically dance an entire tanda.  He walked over to my corner, and we danced.  I noticed an improvement in his breathing while we danced.  He wasn’t out of breath when he walked me to my corner table near the bar.  His embrace is as good as it gets.  We danced the Miguel Caló/Raul Beron tanda.  He said, “this tango is Tristezas…and I said, “de la Calle Corrientes. I know, I have the score.”  We had brief conversation between dances, but I made the mistake of asking his name.  I know that he sneaks out of the house as most of the men do and doesn’t tell his wife he’s going to the milonga.  Without waiting for me to look in his direction, he approached my table for another tanda, and then another and later another. Since I enjoy dancing with him, I accepted.  The other men who came over were not successful in their attempts.  I have this thing about dancing when and with whom I choose.  When Roberto had danced the last tanda with me, he said he would pass by my table as he was leaving.  I didn’t think a thing of it.  He said, well why don’t I come back next week so we can dance again, and then you can give me your phone number?  Then it registered with me.  I danced several tandas with him.  To him that means I may be interested in something more with him.  I blurted out something in response,  hoping I made it clear to him that I wasn’t interested in anything more than dancing with him. 

I saw that the woman seated at the table in front of me was so eager to dance, she walked onto the floor before a partner arrived at her table.  I offered my advice to look around the room to dance with others so she didn’t have to dance exclusively with the one who was interested in more than just dancing with her.  A man in the opposite corner of the room was coming across the floor to dance with the woman seated at the next table, but she managed to intercept him on the floor before he reached his intended partner.  The man accepted the tanda with her and signaled apologetically to the woman at the table.  This same incident occurred later with another man who was going to dance with yet another woman nearby.  When she returned to her table, we had a talk.  She was totally unaware that the men had invited other women to dance.  Her eagerness to dance with anyone who crossed the floor was obvious.  She told me the first man is too tall a partner for her and that she didn’t care for his style.  I suppose she wanted to avoid dancing anymore tandas with the man who would have enjoyed dancing all evening with her.  I am finding that it’s not only foreigners who are unaware of los codigos.  It’s too bad that Argentines can’t read what I’ve written about los codigos on this blog.  At least the women can help each other in the ladies’ room.



One Response to “Tango tales”

  1. GUILLERMO Says:


    Muy interesante narración de tema Códigos. Las anécdotas de cosas que ocurren en la milonga, en este caso Lo de Celia, son muy buenas.

    En la página http://www.diostango.com.ar figura “El Chamuyo no es compás” para quién quiera leer y atender. Hay organizadores que quieren poner impreso ese texto y mostrar al público.
    Los códigos de aplicación en una milonga, en un baile…. son los códigos de la vida, respeto, sentido común y observación de errores para no cometerlos.


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