Feeling invisible

I know that everyone at one time or another has felt invisible.  It’s common for foreigners to feel invisible when they go to any milonga in Buenos Aires for the first time.  I could relate to that feeling a few days ago.  I went to El Arranque on Saturday where I’m not a familiar face in the crowd.  The salon was full when I arrived, and a foreigner invited me to her table in the back corner.  I was content to listen to the music for two hours.  I had time to see if there was anyone with whom I wanted to dance.

One man in particular caught my attention.  I had never noticed him before in any milonga.  He was well-dressed in a suit and tie.   I couldn’t see much of his dancing, but what I observed gave me a good indication.  I singled him out as the one for whom I would wait patiently.  He sat without speaking to anyone.  His cabeceo showed years of practice.  He made eye contact with a woman and nodded.  He was there to dance well. 

I noticed that he didn’t look to his right or left to invite someone to dance.  I sat behind his range of vision and knew that he wouldn’t turn around.  When a table in closer range was available, I moved.   I accepted an invitation from another man so that he could see me dancing. 

During the last hour of the milonga, he turned to look in my direction.  I was about four feet away from him, and I felt invisible.  I knew there was no one behind me.  He looked right at me for several seconds.  This may have been his way of giving me a message: I don’t know you, and we are not going to dance. 

Later I thought about what had happened and came to the conclusion that he is as selective as I am about dance partners.



3 Responses to “Feeling invisible”

  1. b Says:

    Hi — one thing you leave out of your story is what you did while he was looking right at you. You don’t say whether you did anything to indicate you wanted to dance with him.

    Out of context of the rest of the story it sounds as if he were looking at you for some indication you wanted to dance, and you sat stone-faced and he thought, “I guess not.” 😉

  2. jantango Says:

    Good point. The thought crossed my mind — shall I move my head or smile? And the answer was clear: No! I don’t initiate the invitation. The fact I maintained eye contact long enough should be clear to any man that I want to dance with him. He chose not to initiate an invitation. It wasn’t the end of the world.

    I sit behind a woman in Lo de Celia Tango Club who isn’t shy about initiating the invitation to dance. She has danced only four years and doesn’t know or respect the codigos. Her goal is to dance, and it doesn’t matter who dances with her. She will do what ever is necessary to get someone’s attention. She doesn’t seem to realize there are men who don’t respond to a woman initiating the invitation.

  3. Nancy Says:

    I have found that many men are all but blind so it is not until you are very close to them on the floor with another partner that they realize they do know you and have danced with you. Sometimes they remember, but do not remember what they remember – is she good or bad?

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