Private property

When a couple sits together in a milonga, the assumption is they are there to dance exclusively with each other.  There is a long-standing code which milongueros viejos respect.  There was a time when fights broke out when a man danced with another man’s woman.  Today most milongas have tables designated for couples only in one section or the back row of tables.  It’s one way of designating one’s partner as “private property.”

Foreign couples often sit together at milongas and expect to dance with others.  They find themselves at a disadvantage in that case.  They sit among other couples.  Those who respect the code do not look their way because they are a couple.

Foreign couples who arrive at the same time and sit separately usually dance the first tanda together.  That is confirmation to the regulars that they are a couple.  There is nothing that goes unnoticed at a milonga.  All are watching who is dancing with whom, which tandas, and how many tandas.

Women, who don’t want the label of “private property” in the milonga, sit in the women’s section to dance with others, including their partners.  It’s easy to tell who is with whom by the number of tandas they dance — three or four is a dead giveaway — that is, if one is paying attention.

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