One bad apple spoils the whole barrel

I saw a couple of bad apples yesterday at the milonga.  They were right in my area, so I couldn’t miss them.

A married couple attends the milonga regularly and sit together in at their reserved table in the back.  During the course of the evening,  the man left his wife to dance with another and then grabbed the hand of the woman seated directly in front of me.  He didn’t even take a moment to invite her to dance.  He pulled her by the hand to the dance floor.  She obliged, but that’s not the way she is used to being invited.

Those of you in other countries must see this happen all the time at dances.  That is not the case in Buenos Aires where there is a code of respect, or was in recent years.  First a man shows respect to his partner at a table by dancing exclusively with her, and secondly, a man shows respect to all women at the milonga where a head movement is the means for inviting.  I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Public display of affection between a couple is inappropriate at a milonga.  A man who considers himself an excellent dancer has never learned the codes.  It’s common to see him on the edge of the dance floor, bending over to hold a woman’s head in his hand and then plant a big kiss on her check or neck for all to see.

The woman seated with me yesterday was the recipient of his affection.  He approached from behind, grabbed her head, kissed her on the neck, and then headed off to grab the hand of a woman at the end of the row for the next tanda.  The saddest part about his aggressive public display of affection is that women allow this behavior to continue by saying nothing to him.  In what situation does a man have the right to kiss a woman without her consent?  This man is taking advantage of the women at the milongas and getting away with disrespectful behavior for years.

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2 Responses to “One bad apple spoils the whole barrel”

  1. Michael Says:

    Janis:
    What you described is no different from giving a drink to a drunk who is trying to remain sober. Women enable this terrible behavior by continuing to dance with these men.

    I remember talking to a woman at a New York milonga. A man asked her to dance while we were talking. She accepted his invitation and told me he was a lousy dancer.

    Until women find their voice and speak up, this situation won’t improve.

    Though some women are so desperate to dance, they don’t care about the man’s manners.

  2. Janet Rieck Says:

    Happens a lot. So why don’t the women just pull away or refuse the invitation? There are no more codes in the milongas. The behavior is appalling even for foreigners. If you want to feel assaulted, go to the milongas here. A friendly little kiss and hello is not what this is about. The behavior is almost laughable if it weren’t so offensive. And the women here also are guilty of breaking the codes of behavior as well…not just the men. Somehow the milongas now have nothing to do with dancing tango well,..but a game of assaults on your dignity.

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