Find the ladies’ room first

I don’t know why, but there are always women who get undressed at the table in a milonga and think no one notices.  The men notice, and they’d rather not see what we’re doing.  The milonga once was like going to the theater; today it’s more like a locker room. Women notice as well. There is no graceful way of changing into dance shoes, so it’s best to find the ladies’ room first.  That’s the place to check your hair and makeup, spray perfume, change clothes and shoes, and even use the toilet.  Then wash your hands before entering the salon to dance.

La Gordita arrived at the milonga and got the chair next to mine.  She came with a huge purse and proceeded to get herself ready for dancing at the edge of the floor of the milonga.  There was no table in front of us, so everything she did was in full view of everybody.  She apparently thought nothing about it, but I did as I watched the production.  She unzipped her high leather boots exposing her bare (smelly) feet.  She thought nothing about positioning a foot on her knee to put on her shoe.  I restrained myself from asking if she could use the ladies’ room.  I noticed her perfectly manicured fingernails and hands adorned with rings on every finger.  Was she going to wash her hands after touching her feet?  After the shoes, she fixed her hair and makeup.  It was like no one was watching, but she was in full view. Who could not help see this production as they danced by?  She got up and started walking towards the entrance.  I had to see if she was going to the ladies’ room.  No.  It was social time.  She conveniently positioned herself at the end of the room.  When the tanda began, she was dancing with a man nearby.  All night long she was fidgety, always talking to a friend when she wasn’t dancing.  I’ve never experienced anything like it in all my years in the milongas.  When the organizer asked if I enjoyed myself, I said, yes and no.  Then I explained.  He said he couldn’t do anything about this kind of situation.  It’s simple.  As women enter, suggest they change their shoes in the ladies’ room before entering the milonga.  They will get the hint.  They don’t get to dance any sooner by changing at the table.

At another milonga I attended, the male host directed me to the ladies’ room to change my shoes.  I had planned to do so, and thought it was a good idea that he mention this to the women as they arrived.  He handled the situation well so women didn’t change shoes in the salon.  It’s so uncouth.  Then I saw the female host of the same milonga change her shoes at a table (before and after) when she went to dance.

A woman who attends Lo de Celia regularly has probably never set foot in the ladies’ room.  She makes a grand entrance, crosses the floor during a tanda to get to her front row table and then proceeds to remove her coat, etc. and change her shoes, as if no one notices.  The same thing happens at the end of the night.  She stands practically on the dance floor while she puts on her coat.  Then chats with women at the table and crosses the floor to leave without any consideration for those dancing.  She does the same when she leaves to smoke a cigarette outside.

It’s winter, and the cold weather has arrived in Buenos Aires.  Bare legs are common in the milongas during the summer months, but I’m surprised to see them during winter. Those who prefer the bare-legged look remove their hosiery in the ladies’ room (thank heaven!) and put them on before going home.  I shiver just watching these bare legs on the dance floor.

The lack of respect for others is not only on the dance floor of the milongas.  And the situation is getting worse.

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2 Responses to “Find the ladies’ room first”

  1. lina Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. there is so little mystery left in this world. I want my transformation into a milongera to be a delight and surprise. and to wash my hands after changing my shoes. I wouldn’t want to dance with a man with unwashed hands. yuk. I guess good manners just don’t apply to all.

  2. Dan Says:

    Por favor! aflojale un poco! desde cuando una mujer cambiandose los zapatos en publico significa una falta de respeto o una falta de modales! Muchas veces la gente se preocupa mas por los codigos que por aprender a bailar. Vivir y dejar vivir.
    Para lina. El tango es como el sexo….la gente que mas se lava es generalmente la que menos disfruta….(just kidding) Abrazos.

    Please! relax a bit! Since when does a woman changing shoes in public show a lack of respect or lack of manners. Many times people worry more about rules than learning to dance. Live and let live.
    Lina: tango is like sex….people who wash more generally enjoy it less….(just kidding) Hugs.

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