Monday, 8 December 2008

Behold! This happened.

My new friend who shall be known as Ruby, came to the milonga and brought with her a friend, who is, though a woman of adult years, a delighted child at tango.

And behold also, there was a certain man, of comely appearance and neat presentation, and a bit of silver jewellery and a ponytail, who was standing by the drinks table contemplating the dancefloor, and seeing that his own lady was absent for the final dance.

There was also a hedgehog, a short distance away, wondering whether, considering all the circumstances, and the shortage of time for indirect means, and the lady's likely intent to return, and the man's unknown preference about being directly asked, and his recent return from an exhausting tour, and his possible preference for an evening relatively free of importunate and presumptuous strangers, but on the other hand their previous conversation that same evening involving ducks, it might, or might not, be right to Ask, and if so, how. She hesitated. But never mind her.

For behold, the Friend of Ruby saw a nice man standing there, walked up to him and asked. Which was the Right Thing To Happen. She had a broken fastening on her shoe, for which she apologised in advance. I can't help suspecting she may thereby have hit the Competitive Streak, but I don't know.

And four or five minutes later she stepped off the dance floor with a little pair of tango angel wings fluttering above her head, and another in her eyes, making her open them very wide, and blink.

They were soft, they were fluffy, they were golden ... and they were also quite a lot like the wings of the kind of Seraph you see in the British Museum from before people decided angels shouldn't grow beards or bonk. Go past the Rosetta Stone and turn left at the bathing Venus.

Apparently she hasn't stopped talking about it yet.


Anonymous said...

You are hilarious! I saw the same ponytailed Angel and just went for it. Divine. Didn't know who he actually was until the next morning. So next time you want to do something, just go for it girl! The worst they could say is 'No, thank you', and we women say that all the time!

Elizabeth Brinton said...

Ha! We thinkst we knowest the fair pontailed and catlike Nike.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story, Ms. H. Lest ye feel ye hath missed the boat, however, please remember that from time to time we are meant to witness what we look like when enveloped in Eau de Tango Bliss.

msHedgehog said...

People who use pretentiously archaising, King-James'-codpiece language for humorous effect in a blog post deserve to get ungrammatical comments, so I'll just apologise to any foreigners trying to make sense of it all.

@Elizabeth: You're not wrong.

I don't really have a problem with what I did any more than I do what she did. I have reasons for being the way I am, but I know there's a downside. It evolves over time.

Anonymous said...

I'm still puzzling this through, but at heart I feel that tango transcends logic. The dances where I get angels fluttering in my eyes afterwards are invariably the ones after I've given up trying to get a dance with someone specific.

There's something magical about a dance that just happens naturally from beginning to end. But as in the dance, I have to get out of my own way to let this process occur.

Red Shoes said...

Thank you for reminding me about the angels at the BM. I so loved that bathing Venus.

msHedgehog said...

@ghost, If I was leading my approach would be quite different, in fact it would probably be more or less the same as yours. My preferences and my perception of what works well would change. Of course that would introduce some fascinating problems if I wanted to dance both roles socially. My strategy and attitude in the matter of asking are certainly not optimal in all conditions, but they're close enough when considered over time that I don't mind a few mistakes.

Anonymous said...

"Of course that would introduce some fascinating problems if I wanted to dance both roles socially."

Indeed for me too. How would I go about dancing socially as a follower without asking people I know?

Maybe some kind of badge with "Follower" on it?

Seriously I have no clue how I'd set about doing this.

I did once sit out 90% of a Practica before being asked to dance, at which point I realised what was bothering me was that I simply wasn't in the mood to lead; I wanted to follow. By the end of that Practica I had little angels in my eyes :o) I doubt I'd want to sit out for 90% of social dancing on a regular basis though.

Hmmm - how much would you be willing to sit out if it meant you'd only have angel dances that night?

Game Cat said...

Re asking men for a dance - personally I can only offer encouragement. If for no other reason than it breaks up the "normal" routine.

Re Ghost's question about willingness to sit out dances waiting for good ones....I think that's entirely legitimate. As a leader, I would judge the evening's success on the average quality of my dances more than quantity...and I guess this is true for followers? (Of course, given a minimum no. of dances.)

On average, I think my "time on the floor" is only 1 out of 3 hours total at a milonga - roughly I like only 1/2 of the tango and milonga music enough to dance, but no vals. If I dance only 1 tanda with a different follower each time, that implies <=6 different followers per milonga. Therefore I try to be very selective. 2 out of the 6 are "fantastic"...I consider that a very good night. Other leaders I guess may have different preferences.

That said, I have a general rule that at each milonga I have to dance with at least one person I've never danced with before.

I've never thought about it so explicitly before this post came along. How do you judge you've had a good time at a milonga? Would that make you sit out more?

msHedgehog said...

@gamecat, it's changed over time. The principles have stayed the same but the possibilities and the results have altered. That probably deserves a post to itself. @ghost, some people talk as though there were a tradeoff between how much you dance and how well the dances go. That's not the way it works in my experience; as far as I can tell both are mainly determined by my own skill level.

Anonymous said...

Going back to Gamecats's recent musings on how different people gravitate to different styles, my current thinking is it's not so much the amount of time you spend dancing as who's available to dance with and the style in which they dance, much akin to what Gamecat's said above. So if I'm at a Milonga filled with followers who "gel" with me then I'll most likely have a wonderful night of constant dancing. If there are fewer followers who "gel", then statistics start to work against me and I might be better off sitting out a tanda and wait for one of them to become available.