Friday, April 8, 2011

Diana Howell in Buenos Aires 2

Hola mis amigos y amigas,

Time for some quiz questions:

What is the 3rd most important thing to the Argentinian man (we already established that his ego was numero uno, y his madre was number two)?
His favorite soccer team! Yes ladies, sad, but true, it is not you. I met a guy last year, who after establishing conversation, quickly whipped out his wallet photos for me to view, and he showed me a picture of his favorite soccer team, BEFORE his family pictures.

How do you know when an Argentinian man is lying? Answer: His mouth has opened! Yes, another sad fact, most are mentirosos (liars) when it comes to the opposite sex (madre excluded, but no need to lie to her, since he is her prince anyways). Truly though, Argentinian guys are not that bad, once you accept their m.o. They are extremely charming, very flirty, and never stop trying if they are interested in romanza. Sometimes it is like they think you are a bird that they can hypnotize with those magnetic dark eyes, ¨Yo tengo novio¨ (I have a boyfriend), gets you a pause of about 10 seconds, but you can be clever enough to keep them at bay just enough to maintain interest in dancing with you, and then, the best thing is when leave alone in a taxi, after impassioned pleas to ¨drive you home.¨

Time is flying in Tangolandia, and I really donẗ do much but look for the best cafe for a cappuchino, visit museums, galleries, etc., and then it is time to get ready to tango. So many great cafes, to just hang in, and a lot of great art. I generally only get a little news in the morning at the hotel, and I love the casualness of the people towards their government,lots of time on the news, they talk about ¨Christina¨ who is actually the president of the country-Christina Kirschner. Christina this, Christina that, so I don remember news media in the US talking about ¨Barack says,¨ ¨George made an appearance,¨ or ¨Bill¨ was seen at the---.
Much healthier attitude I think, afterall, who are these guys anyways, but our supposed servants? Also, every other day, there is a large protest somewhere in the downtown area about something. Great!

People dress mostly casually for the milongas here, unless it is really a special one, guys in sport pants, serious dancers wear short sleeved shirts or pullovers a lot, longer for winter, and the pros can often be seen in a fashionable suit. Middle aged plus guys seem to favor the wad of keys hanging off the right back belt loop, good to keep out of the close-embrace side, I guess, but they look pretty decorative to me.
As Amy Lincoln (Santiago and Amy) put it, ¨women are put together nicely¨), not that they are wearing expensive jewelry, because they aren¨t, but they pay a lot of attention to the items being worn, how they are put together, accessories (important), and of course full make-up and hair in place.
Ive only seen fishnets once, they are pretty passe, except for stage work, and most ladies favor the uncovered leg. Yes, and last night I had a real fright, I was dancing with this wonderful dancer in a very elegant and expensive dark suit, really, he was the picture of elegance, and fabulous dancer. During our milonguero style tanda, he did several leg rubs on my inner leg, (I think long ago, they must have picked this up from mating civets or hedgehogs, or something), and then my brain hit the red alert button! The tanda finished, and I tried to look as discreetly as possible at his lower leg, oh Dios Mios!! I decided to use leg make-up (spray on) that night, but my Tango santa was looking after me, not a smudge on his rubby-dubby leg, what a testimonial to the product!

My Danish friend and I hooked up with Cesar, a folkloric/tango teacher, and he was kind enough to take us, plus pick up his other Columbian friend, Anna, to go to Gricel, after we left El Arranque. Of course, it was great for his image, two foreign ladies, and a georgeous Columbian in his car, he got a ¨special¨ private space right in front of the club, and strutted us in. Gricel is great place, full of atmosphere, tango oil paintings (old) on the walls, a neon (pink) sign ¨Gricel¨ over the bar at the far end of the room. We often hear the song ¨Gricel¨ at our Monterey Bay milongas, and I have the lyrics (in Spanish) if anyone is interested. It is about 10 times House of Four Winds, and Monday night is THE night to be there. Lots of the great teachers were there, non-engaged Taxi dancers, Argentinians, and a fair amount of non-Argentians, great loud music, and some really good dancers.

So the conversations at the ladieś table is the same as at home, mostly, ¨oh look, Luis is here,¨ ¨that pig Enrique just arrived,¨ ¨I want to dance with that guy in the green shirt, why wont he look this way!¨, ¨Whatś wrong with all of these guys, I want to dance, why are they sitting?¨

What I learned about arriving is this: you arrive, change shoes, order your beverage, and watch people dance, pick out the ones you would dance with, and carefully memorize the shirts of the ones that you absolutely dont like the way they dance. Try to dance your first tanda with a good dancer, so he can ¨show people that you can dance,¨ this is very important for foreigners, since you are an unknown quantity, and men shy away from this, except at the really touristy places, where they are intrigued by the foreign ladies, and some are also hoping for more than a tanda. Dont be too flattered if a guy gives you his card, he is probably a Taxi dancer hoping for some business. Argentinian women use taxi dancers too, and of course, there are female taxi dancers.

I was wondering why so many guys drink champagne at the table, in the bucket and all, until I found out that it is actually beer, and that they like it kept cold on the table and this is how they do it. You rarely see women drinking anything other than soda or mineral water, probably because falling off of 3" heels doesnt qualify as a fun experience.

Ideal was a great place in November to ¨warm-up¨ at an early milonga and then jet over to a later one, but it was really dreary yesterday, no good dancers at all, so I left and went over to Al Arranque, another early one, and then off to Gricel with the friends.

Sunday, we were at Boedo, a funny but elegantly tango place. Funny, because of the L-shaped dance floor with a 1 foot cemement barrier separating the floor, which could be a real problem if you wern familiar with the floor. The walls were all painted dark red, and there were black & white photos of the Tango greats in music, (my Fioretntino, Troillo, etc.) on the walls. It felt like a hollywood style place for that reason.
I think next week there is a live band there, so I will definitely go there. The dancers were good, and there was a French-Canadian guy from Paris, who was a very good dancer, and did a fantastico accordian performance during the cortina of some Parisian waltz music, which we all danced to. A few Argentinian guys managed to play cards in a side room.

Iḿ coming closer to finding my family here, the Columbian woman is helping me, so that is exciting for me. This week, I will go to the museum of immigration.

Hasta Luego tangueros y tangueras, time to think about getting ready to dance.
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