Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Please Don't Disturb The Tango Fish"


Last Friday night I took most of my best non-tango friends (4 women & 1 guy) to the ODC milonga. Because I walked in last, I expected to see them inside the milonga, but, instead, they were sitting outside the dance room looking with wonder through the big glass windows. They were pointing at their favorite dancers that floated by and they practically had their faces pressed up against the glass, so much so that they looked like they were at an aquarium admiring exotic fish. Everyone was having so much fun we started tapping on the window with excitement pointing out great moves, at which point I expected a guard to come up to us and say "Please don't disturb the tango fish. These creatures are very sensitive."

But we were on the outside looking in & I wanted to tango. I asked my friends why they weren't inside & they all sang out in unison "because we don't have to worry about being asked to dance here!" My friends settled happily into their tank viewing perch, which is a play area during the day for kids (ODC makes it clear that parents have to stay with their kids with a sign on the wall that says "unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy").

Over the next couple of hours I tangoed and then I'd come back to listen to my friends' observations, which reminded me of how different tango looks to people seeing it for the first time.

What did my friends notice that made me want to blog about that night? Well, the intellectual, philosophical, sophisticated conversation one of my female friends and I had went something like this:

My friend: "So, is like every couple dancing married or hooking up?"
Me: "No, a few are married or dating, but most are single. Why?"

My friend: "Well, everyone is dancing so closely together"
Me: "That's true--that's why they call it a close embrace"

My friend: "But some of the women are even dancing with their eyes closed"
Me: "That's quite common--it helps women connect more with their partners"

My friend: "But that woman has her mouth so close to his ear--and they've been whispering into each other's ears the whole song"
Me: "Well, they're probably hooking up"

Even though my friends were newbies, they quickly picked out the best dancers. It only took one tango before we all agreed that one of the best male dancers was a senior who's about 70, so we admired his dancing. It was inspirational watching this senior who was proving you can be a great tanguero at any age.

So, at your next milonga sit out a tanda, relax and admire the exotic creatures in the aquarium.

Just don't disturb the tango fish.

6 comments:

Johanna said...

What a marvelous image, tango fish in an aquarium. Of course, inside the aquarium, our domain is internal and limitless :-)

Mark's Sister said...

I love the fish analogy! If I had been there I would have happily planted myself behind the glass as well. I love your friends' observations...with that innocent wit I think I know exactly who it is. I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for the smile Mark!

tangobaby said...

I love the tango fish. I will have to remember to keep my fingerprints off the glass!

Next, I see someone writing a post like What Kind of Tango Fish Are You?

I would be a guppy.

Mark Andersen said...

So true, Johanna. I was back at the aquarium last Friday & fascinated by how one of the best couples looked to be swimming in their own intimate ocean. There were countless couples on the floor, but they didn't see anyone else until the tango ended.

Mark Andersen said...

Thank you, dear Sister. Next time you're in town I'll take you to the best aquarium in the world.

Mark Andersen said...

Yes, TangoBaby, the crowds are so big now at the windows that I carry Windex with me know to wipe off the fingerprints between tandas.

A guppy, huh? A very smooth one at that.

I aspire to be a Penguin fish: "A peaceful fish that makes a great addition to any community aquarium."