Thursday, March 6, 2008

Why Are Women Obsessed With Tango Shoes?

There's a lot that I don't understand in this world, but over time I'm usually able to figure most things out and the rest I just find a way to live with. In tango, though, I've attempted for a year and a half to decipher that greatest question of all, that most puzzling of puzzles, that indecipherable code, that riddle known only to women. I'm talking, of course, about that wonderful mystery:

Why are women obsessed with tango shoes?!?

Well, I give up. I'm raising the white flag, I admit I have failed, I will never solve this conundrum, I'm not smarter than a 5th grader because I cannot figure it out.

Women are fascinated by not just their own tango shoes (and mine), but especially by other women's. I can't tell you how many times I've been sitting at a table with a female friend as a woman walks by. I'll look at the women's face to see if I know her and my female friend will look at the women's tango shoes (sometimes it's at her dress, but that's a different post for a different night).

I had a conversation with a friend recently at a milonga and it went something like this:
My friend: "Wow, you have really nice shoes, Mark!"
Me: "Uh, thanks?"
My friend: "Do they have a touch of purple in them?"
Me: "Umm, I don't think so--they're black."
My friend: "Do you have any other tango shoes?"
Me: "Yeah, I've got another black pair" (I'm proud to say I anticipated that she'd want to know the color, so I told her black in advance. I have no idea why the color would matter, but I was starting to sense it did)
My friend: "Were they made in Buenos Aires? "
Me: "Geez, I'm not really sure."

My friend ran out of shoe questions at this point. I'm not sure if I passed the exam. I think she was serious with those questions--she had a sincere expression like she really cared about the color of my other tango shoes. I'm very confused.

And now she's looking at me expectantly. I thought this part of the conversation was done, but now it seems like it's not closed. But why? There's a long pause and I sense that she's waiting for me to say something. But what? I feel like I'm trying to tango my way out of a huge pitch-black room that only has one small exit and I can't find my way out. Ok, think, think. She probably doesn't want to talk about the awesome news that the Patriots signed Randy Moss today. So, what else is there? She doesn't want me to ask her about her shoes, does she? No, I start laughing to myself--that can't be it. But I can't think of anything else, so I take a stab in the dark.

Me: "Umm, you have really nice shoes, too?"
My friend (her face lighting up): "Oh, no, these are really worn think so?"
Me (getting the hang of it): "Do you get your shoes from Buenos Aires?"
My friend: "Mostly, every time I go there I go to the shoe district..."

She tells me more about shoe buying in Bs As, shoe color, fit, height, comfort etc. and this time it feels like we've found resolution. I have no idea what that resolution is, but, like I said, I've learned to live with things in life that I'll never understand.


Sappho Kuzan said...

Mark, I'll give you the answer to your question, in male terms so that you will understand, after I take a poll with the ladies. You will be enlightened.

Mark Andersen said...

Thank you, Sappho, because I'm utterly lost in the tango forest on this question. My sister gave me her reason yesterday & I think I might actually be getting a clue. If you're going to give me the answer in male terms then I'm hoping you're going to use sports metaphors & you're not going to ask me to share my feelings.

Dr. Tango said...

Because shoes are loyal and easier to change than men!

Mark Andersen said...

Yes, Dr. Tango--I've gotten that feeling from some women I've talked to about this!