My guest Gigi and I decided to go out together. Well actually we didn't. She wanted to go to Dandi and I wanted to go to Gricel. I did not have high hopes for either place, but it is Wednesday and a dancing day for me.
Patricio and Adriana have moved their milonga from Palermo SoHo to Gricel. The restaurant where the milonga has been held was closed down. Like a good trooper, I always follow them to their new venues. I feel bad for them. All of their marketing materials are for Gricel on Mondays and Palermo SoHo on Wednesday. Now they have moved. They are in the milongas passing out flyers. I feel strongly about supporting them. I have known Patricio for years.
At the last minute Gigi and I share a taxi. I figure we can drop me first at Gricel and then she can go on to Dandi. At the last minute I tell the driver to change and go to Dandi first. I tell Gigi that way I can peek in the door and see what is happening. "You´re going to just leave me?" she ask. I shake my head yes. "I don't want to pay 13 pesos to enter when there is absolutely no one for me to dance with. I love Gloria, but not that much."
When we enter I see Gloria. She is sitting with Carlos. She has a big smile on her face. I go to greet them both. The place is not very full at all. The ratio of women is like 5 to 1. I see almost no one that I know. I can't back out now that Gloria has seen me. Gigi goes to sit with some of her friends. I go to sit with Gloria and Carlito.
Carlos amuses himself by playing "Name that Tango" with me. I amuse me by pretending I don't know the names of any of them. It drives him crazy. "Nena," he says to me, "How can you dance like an angel and know nothing of the music." I always just smile at him and tell him I always forget when he quizzes me. It always gives him an opportunity to tell me all about the music - the orchestra, the singer, the words.
He tells me that "my friend" went to Colombia. I tell him I know. He is on a fact finding mission. I am not sure who is playing with who. Cat and mouse.... I tell him I am bored, I want to go to Gricel. He says to me to wait, and we can go together. "Tell your pretty friend." I tell Gigi we are going to Gricel. "Her eyes shoot open wide "Don't leave me!" I tell her not to worry, Carlos has invited her too. She comes to sit at the table with us.
Now I am not sure who is amusing who. Carlos says to me "I know you don't have a boyfriend. You are too difficult. How about her?" I start to say no when Gigi looks him in the eye and goes, "Yes, I have 5." It was so funny and so unlike her. He tells me "You should learn from her." Gigi and I laugh.
We get in the taxi and go to Gricel. I tell her not to worry. Carlos is a sweetheart when he wants to be. He has invited us. All the way there the 3 of us talk. I know Carlos thinks we are both crazy. He does not usually get exposed to foreign women.
We get to Gricel and I can see by the lack of cars out front that it probably is not very crowded inside. We go in. Patricio, Adriana, are thrilled to see us. I peek around the curtain. There are maybe 20 people. The only difference between here and Dandi is these are locals.
It doesn't matter what table we sit at. Carlos tells the waitress to bring us whatever we want. Then he starts on me. "What is this song?" he asks me. I know it is La Pavadita. I tell him I don't know. This gets him going "How can you dance when you do not know the music?" I say to him "Well, you know the music. How come you don't dance?" He hits me on the head.
I look at the floor. Gigi is dancing. I tell her who to dance with. I know everyone here. She is in heaven. Carlos asks me why I am not dancing. I tell him "I don't want to." He tells me to dance with this guy that I do not think dances very well. I tell him He tells me I am crazy, the guy is a teacher. "Big deal." I tell him. "They are all teachers."
He stares at me. "You do not like to dance with anyone." "Not true," I say to him. "I like to dance with your friend." He doesn't say anything. He just stares at me. "He can dance." I say to him. "He's just an asshole" is what I want to really say, but don't. Instead I just smile. Cat and mouse...
Carlos insists I dance with that guy I don't want to dance with. OK. What can I do. The guy is shocked. He knows I would not dance with him under any other circumstance. I do my best. I know he is nervous. Pata dura, mano dura, and no sense of the music. No surprise there. He thanks me for the dance. I go back to my table.
"Y?" Carlos says. "Y que?" I answer. "Pata dura, mano dura, no sentido por la musica." Carlos tells me I am crazy. "Do you like to dance with anyone?" he asks. I just look at him. "Do you have to ask that question?" I answer. Cat and mouse...
It is not even 1:00 am and the place is starting to empty. It is sad. What is happening to our milongas? Eduardo invites me to dance. He asks me why I came so late. I tell him how we went to Dandi first. He asks me how it was. I tell him, like here, but without good dancers and locals.
He thinks for a moment. "You know, the organizers don't get it." I know what he is going to say. "For us it is a 50 peso night. The taxi, the entrance, something to drink. Who can do this more than a couple of times a week?" I agree with him. I tell him that I am lucky I can split the taxi with friends or the people staying with me.
"I don't know what will happen to our tango." he says to me. "Before I could go out 5 nights a week. When milongas were less." I agree with him. "Here is 20 people who paid $13 pesos to get in. If they charged $10 pesos, maybe they would get 50." He thinks about it. He looks sad.
I go back to the table. Carlos asks me if I liked that dance. "Eduardo is my friend." I tell him. I like to dance with him. Carlos looks around. The club is almost empty. There are maybe 5 of us left. It is only 1:00 am. "Where is everyone?" he asks me. "I guess it is time to go."