Standing out or blending in as a foreigner


There is one man in the front row of six who is not Argentine.  He doesn’t stand out as a foreigner, but blends in well among the portenos.  He dresses like portenos.  He respects the milonga codes and customs.

Last week I attended Nuevo Chique in Casa de Galicia on Thursday.  A man on the other side of the floor looked my way.  I’d never seen him before at a milonga.  I decided to continue my gaze and wait for him to invite me with a nod.  He did and then approached.  I felt comfortable in his embrace, and he danced the music.  After our first dance, he said: I don’t speak Spanish.  He surprised me, since I thought I was dancing with a porteno.  This was the first time in all my years in the milongas that I had mistaken a foreigner for a porteno.


He didn’t stand out as a foreigner.  He age, his clothing and shoes, and relaxed manner indicated porteno to me.  Only his language gave away his secret.

Charles was born in Belgium and lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  He is at the end of his first visit to Buenos Aires after dancing for 15 years.  We got together on his last day and danced one tango.  I put on Cachirulo by Anibal Troilo.  He has the embrace and feeling of a porteno.


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