I rarely ever go to two milongas anymore. The milongas are too expensive for me to do that now. I remember the days I would go to 2 - 3 milongas. Now only one, and definitely not every day.
I have two guests staying me. I ask them "Where do you guys want to go dance tonight?" I give them the options; El Beso, Gricel, or Niño Bien. One wants to go to El Beso and maybe Niño Bien. The other wants to go to Niño Bien. It is her first day here. She is new to tango. I recommend she take the class with Daniel Lapadula. He speaks English and is good with beginners.
I think to myself 14 pesos to enter El Beso, 15 pesos to enter Niño Bien. Something to drink in both places. I don't want to think about the taxi. I am hoping my guests will be generous and pay for the taxi. I call Daniel to let him know I am sending him a student. He is happy to hear from me. I have known him for maybe 9 - 10 years. He asks me if I am going to come tonight. I tell him yes. He says that he will arrange for me to be "invitada" and to tell them at the door I am his guest. I am thrilled. I thank him for being generous.
I arrange for Jose to pick Yuko up and take her to Niño Bien. I will be gone by the time she needs to leave for Niño Bien. I can trust Jose to get her there and to charge her properly. Not only that he will give her a running commentary and history lesson on the way. Fortunately she understands enough Spanish to be able to enjoy it.
Then my other guest informs me she is too tired to go to out. She is going to stay in. I think I am going to kill her. Instead I decide to just go. It has been a long time since I have gone to this milonga. I take a taxi to El Beso. Normally I take the bus but I am late.
When I enter the guard greets me. "Twice in one week" she says to me. I smile as I enter. I kiss Stella hello. "Tanto tiempo" she remarks to me. At the top of the stairs is Oscar. He gives me a big hug. I have not seen him in awhile either. It seems nobody is dancing as much as they used to.
I am not happy about the table I am given. I made a reservation. Business as usual. I finally accept a table against the mirror but not happily. I look around the room. Lots of familiar faces, lots of good dancers.
I dance two nice tandas. Both with men I know. I see Oscar looking at me. Within minutes I am moved to a front row table. A much better vista. There are men looking at me. I am not sure I want to dance with someone who I do not know. I am wearing new shoes. They are much higher than all my others. Since the accident I have had to wear a lower heel. I am afraid a bad dancer will knock me on my butt. How embarrassing would that be?
Two women are seated at my table. I listen to them. One is clearly American. The other is a Latina but not from Argentina. I say nothing. They are older, probably my age. It is interesting to hear their perspective on the milonga. They are being asked to dance by all the opportunists. They are so so dancers. They do not realize they are being asked for reasons other than their dancing. I sit. I know I will not dance until the floor clears.
The Latina in baggy fish nets says to me "Hablas Español?" I tell her yes. She then says to me that I must be new to the milonga. The way she says it is so condescending. I laugh at her "Are you serious? I am well known." I say to her. "Well you are not dancing and I feel sorry for you. I figure it is because you are new." More condescending attitude. What does she care? She then goes on to tell me the reason she is dancing so much (I would hardly call it much) is because the men know her. (What the hell is wrong with these women? Why does everything have to be a competition?)
I ask her if she is from Buenos Aires or is she on vacation. She acknowledges that she is on vacation. I tell her that is why she is dancing. Of course she does not agree. She is still insisting I do not know anyone. I tell her, "Look in the milonga we have codes." Before I can finish my sentence she interrupts me "I know the codes, I have been here 13 times." Funny I have never seen her here before.
I continue "The men dance only 2 tandas with a woman. They prefer to wait to dance with their favorite dancers until the floor is clear and they can enjoy it." "I know, I know." She says to me. I continue "And there are two type who do not dance that much - those that can and those that cannot." She clearly believes I am in the last group, with her baggy fishnets, scuffed shoes and all. (I suppose I could add and her June Cleaver hair, but then that would be really ...meow...)
Now I am pissed. I get up and walk across the room to wear Alito and Osvaldo are seated. "Hola Hermosa" they greet me. I kiss them both. Osvaldo pulls up a chair for me. I sit down. I ask Alito if he enjoyed his birthday lunch with Janis. He beams. I tell Osvaldo I am mad at him because he never dances with me anymore. He laughs at me "You are always dancing. What do you need an old man like me for?" I give him my pouty look. The men around the table laugh. Osvaldo takes me to dance. Baggy fishnets is watching.
I thank Osvaldo for the dance and tell him he is the dream I always remember. He beams with pleasure. I work my way around the room - Ricardo, Cachito, Fernando, Roberto, greeting, talking, and playing with all of them. Each in turn invites me to dance. Funny, baggy fishnets and her friend are still sitting.
When I turn the corner to go to the bathroom a man stops me "I like your blog Deby." I stop to look at him. It is Michael from San Francisco. He finally made it here. We started dancing at the same time. I tell him I will give him my card. Next week is a holiday weekend and my birthday. The amigas are planing.
As I go back to my table Cachito reaches out to me "Hermosa" he takes my hand and sits me down. "When are we going to get married?" he asks me. I laugh "Where do you live?" Now he laughs. "I have a big house outside of the city." Then he is serious, "Why don't you have a boyfriend?" He asks me. I hate this question. What am I supposed to answer? "It is a little complicated." I tell him. "You don't like men?" I cannot believe I get asked this. I roll my eyes.... "I love men" I tell him. This conversation is getting a little too serious for me. Cachito takes my hand "You have to trust." he tells me. I kiss him on the cheek.
I get up to go back to my table. It is time for me to go to Niño Bien. Baggy fishnets and her friend are still sitting. I know I proved my juvenile point. I smile at her as I collect my things. "You are still sitting," I say to her. "Que lastima."