Milongueros viejos have told me that sweating while dancing is not an option for them. Their concern is the woman’s comfort. On a hot summer evening, they wear a suit and tie and use a handkerchief. They prefer to sit out a tanda or two to cool down and wait for their favorite orquesta with the right partner.

My friend and I expected to dance in air-conditioned comfort last week at Casa de Galicia, but only the ceiling fans were working that day. During the milonga I noticed two men in particular wearing shirts soaked with perspiration. Women accepted their invitations. I thought they are desperate to dance. One man is a teacher and the other a taxi dancer. Both should know better and bring along an extra shirt or wear a jacket.

That day I danced only one tanda, with the only milonguero viejo wearing a jacket for his partners’ comfort. Neither his hand nor his face had a drop of perspiration, and we enjoyed the tanda. He told me he reads Tango Chamuyo.

I asked a friend how she can enjoy dancing with the taxi dancer with her chest and arm on his sweaty shirt. All she said was she likes how he dances. Women continue dancing with these men, so they don’t care.

I take the time to bathe, wash my hair, use deodorant and perfume, prepare my clothes and arrive at the milonga to dance with men who do the same. The milonga is not a gymnasium.


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