I recognize that my limitations in tango are mainly self-imposed.
Because milonguero style is by far not the preferred style in My Hometown, but I love it and am generally just not very interested in dancing open-embrace/nuevo style, or dancing tango to non-tango music.
Because I'm picky about who I will dance with and when. If we have had Bad Dances before, and I do not observe improvement in your dancing with others, no, I will probably not dance with you. Even partners that I like to dance, say, tango with, I may not care to dance milonga or vals with, if I've had unsuccessful dances with them to this music before. New partners, I would prefer to start with a tango until I see whether they can handle more. All because, having been fortunate enough to have seen what really wonderful tango can be, I am not often willing to suffer through a Bad Dance if I can help it.
Maybe this attitude is uncharitable of me, and maybe it's the opposite of the lessons I should be taking from the wonderful tango experiences I've had with, generally, apparently very generous-spirited partners. Maybe it shows an area where I should work on trying to grow. But it is the fact of where I am right now.
But Hometown is not Buenos Aires--it is not even Big Nearby City or Other, Less-Big Nearby City. These attitudes sometimes limit me considerably.
And so, with a scarcity of good close-embrace partners tonight, even more than usual, and the music not working in my favor, I sat out a lot. When the last tanda proved to be some non-tango junk, I knew that I was unlikely to get another dance, but still I waited til the opening chords of "La Cumparsita" before taking my shoes off and heading home; everyone who was left to dance with had stuck with their partners from the previous tanda.
In all, I had danced five times in three and a half hours. Three of those dances weren't even whole tandas. (Thank you so much, DJ, for turning a traditional milonga tanda into an alternative set halfway through.)
I mean, most of them were perfectly nice dances. One, especially, was even very nice. But five dances? Was that worth the hurt and frustration of feeling so invisible? I can manage that, with less effort, more physical comfort, and less emotional pain, at home in my pajamas with a movie and a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Or I could have spent the evening with friends.
My restrictions, as I said, are primarily self-imposed, and I realize this, but I reserve the right to feel frustrated anyway. In spite of my internal rules, it does not always work out so badly. The measures I take to try to ensure an enjoyable evening for myself often work exactly as intended, instead of backfiring. It is not always like this.
Maybe I should have turned right around before paying admission, when I saw that only one of my regular partners was there. But I'd had hopes of the visitors from out of town, and you never know--maybe other good partners might have shown up.
I began to wonder whether I was an optimist or a masochist, for staying so long. It gets very difficult to tell the difference, sometimes.
But I thought of my one very nice dance and knew that I'd risk it again next time.
And, yes, I would probably shave my legs.
Mario Calarota - March 16, 1936 — Last night I decided to start calling the milongueros again on their birthdays as I had done for so many years. Today I called Mario. F...
4 days ago