Ladies’ room survey

I was changing from my street shoes to my dance shoes in the ladies’ room of Lo de Celia.  Three other women entered to do the same, so I thought it was a good time for a quick survey:  Ladies, how do you feel about women changing their shoes at the table?  There was complete agreement from three Argentines that it should be done in the ladies’ room, not at the table.  One added that the least we can do is wash our hands after changing shoes.  We have time to fix our hair and refresh our makeup in private rather than in public.

Earlier this year I noticed a foreigner seated in front of me changing her shoes at the table.  Since we have talked in various milongas, I decided to ask her about it.  She replied that she has changed her shoes for nine years at the table and didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.  If only people took the time to observe local customs rather than using those they brought from home.


4 Responses to “Ladies’ room survey”

  1. Enrique Madris Says:

    Las buenas costumbres, aconsejan tal como lo has indicado, en el baño cambiarse los zapatos y lavarse las manos. Además, por estética.
    La mayoría de las veces, el cambio se realiza en el lugar del baile, al lado de la mesa. Si una mujer hace nueve años que ha adoptado una costumbre incorrecta, y porque está acostumbrada, supone que está bien, esta errada.
    Este tema, también es aplicable a los hombres, extranjeros, que también cambian de calzado, y lo hacen en el lugar público (no se les ocurre lavarse las manos, que luego, si bailan, formarán parte del abrazo)

    Translation by jantango:
    The good customs, as indicated, is to change shoes in the bathroom and wash hands. This is for cleanliness.
    Most of the time, changing occurs in a dance place at the table. If a woman has adopted an incorrect custom for nine years, because she is accustomed to it, and assumes it is okay, she is mistaken.
    This subject also applies to the men and foreigners who change footwear, and they do it in public (it doesn’t occur to them to wash their hands, and later if they dance, forms part of the embrace).

  2. tangopassionista Says:

    At all the milongas I’ve been to, I’ve only ever noticed one lady go to the bathroom to change her shoes and every time I noticed, I asked myself why she did it. Now I know and at milongas where there is no side room for shoe-changing, I will follow suit. It makes sense, and I never feel comfortable changing my shoes at the table anyway, although I do go and wash my hands afterwards. Trouble is, the bathrooms are generally so small that the only place big enough to allow you to sit or bend down to change your shoes is the toilet cubicle. I guess we have to suffer for our art.

  3. jantango Says:

    Tennis players don’t change shoes on the court, nor do golfers change shoes on the course–they take care of that behind the scenes in the locker room. A dance is a festive event where men don’t need or want to see us getting dressed, putting on makeup, etc. No matter how small the ladies’ room, there is room to change shoes, whether standing or sitting. While I was seated, the other three women changed shoes while standing. How often do we attend a concert or the theater and see women changing their shoes at their seats? There was a time when every woman arrived at a milonga ready to dance after being escorted to a table.

    A couple weeks ago, I watched an American woman at the table in front of me take 15 minutes preparing herself to dance. She fumbled around with her large bag while keeping an eye on the dancing. She has been living in Buenos Aires for several years and yet has never noticed that a minority of women (Argentine and foreign) change shoes at the table.

    The most unforgettable shoe changer I have seen was in Club Gricel. She was seated at the edge of the dance floor. She was putting powder on her feet before changing her shoes. She didn’t bother to go to the ladies’ room afterwards to wash her hands. Another woman in Salon Canning brushed off the bottom of her feet with her hands before changing her shoes and then immediately got up to dance.

    How much do we really miss by doing our final preparation in the ladies’ room? Not much, I believe. We can wash our hands, check our hair and makeup, and make our entrance to the room prepared to dance. The women who are escorted to their table wearing comfortable walking shoes are making their first impression. No one misses anything. Your conduct is noticed and scrutinized from the moment you enter a milonga in Buenos Aires. It’s a good idea to practice these things at your local milonga so you will be ready for the scene in BsAs.

  4. Mari Says:

    I’ve always been so self conscious about first impressions that my tango shoes are usually on before I even enter the venue (unless it’s raining – in which case I change in the rest room if I can). One woman I know has taken care of her shoe-changing issues by simply owning nothing but tango-appropriate shoes. A little extreme, but so tempting!

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