Dusting off the tango shoes

My four-inch tango stilettos have gathered a fair bit of dust over the last several years. So, I was nervous last week when I strapped in for a night out on Portland’s notoriously rad tango scene.

I had no idea what to wear on the non-feet parts of my body. Pants? Skirt? Dress? How tight is too tight? My friend Angela helped me develop this easy guide: VPL (visible pubes lump) = too tight. Noted. Caftan it is!

Despite my nerves, I had a fantastic time. I eventually relaxed enough to focus on details like, for example, adequate oxygen intake. When I’m tense, I have a tendency to hold my breath, and then I end up doing this panicked, wheezy panting thing directly into my partner’s ear. Yes. Well. Tango IS the most sensual of the dances.

I’m trying to revisit and devote time to the things that have become part of my identity over the years. The hard part is finding a healthy balance with all of the other things that are important to me. Tango is only a part of my identity, after all. Please consult this handy chart for reference:

Quinn's Identity Pie ChartIn my early 20s, I was obsessed with tango. A night not spent dancing was a night wasted. I wanted to be the best. I pushed hard. I burned out. I wanted balance. So, I got married and stopped dancing entirely.

Riiiiiight. OK, so maybe that was a bit too far in the opposite direction. Moderation has never been my strong suit. She says, vigorously resisting slipping into a juice fast-induced coma.

I returned to tango in my mid 20s. However, I only made time to dance once — maybe twice — a week. This did not jibe with my simultaneous desire to be one of the ultimate-extreme-badass-stiletto-wearing-gazelle-type-dance-goddesses.

In my late 20s, I danced sporadically. My attitude was basically, if I’m not going to be the best, what’s the point? Add a relationship with a non-tango dancer, and it was pretty easy to let the whole thing slide. (Side note: Being in a relationship with a tango dancer doesn’t necessarily make things easier. It’s a different set of problems. Namely, being in a relationship with a dancer.)

Where does that leave me in terms of work/life/love/boogie balance? Some considerations:

The good: I spent one blissful New Year’s holiday in the Netherlands for a 36-hour tango marathon. I danced with folks from all over the world. It’s really a beautiful thing to  connect with another person without the benefit of a shared language. It may be the sleep-deprivation talking, but that experience was fucking primo. A highlight of both my tango and non-tango life.

The bad: I have actually had another human being’s sweat in my mouth. As I recall, my head was positioned under my partner’s chin, and he’d worked up an abundant man sheen. To my horror, I felt a juicy droplet fall on my forehead. It slowly rolled down between my eyes. I shook my head to fling it away from my face region. But it only rolled faster toward the tip of my nose. I curled my lips to blow some air upward, forcing the drop back. He probably wondered if I was having some sort of localized head seizure. And it was all for naught. That sweatball rolled right onto my curled lips and INTO. MY. MOUTH.

In between those two ends of the tango spectrum, there is great music, lively conversation, community, real connection and opportunities for self-expression. And I don’t need to be the best dancer on the block to enjoy those things.

18 thoughts on “Dusting off the tango shoes

  1. You know, I really don’t read enough supernatural erotic self help books myself. ;) I wish I was a dancer. I have to make do with flitting about the house fake ballet dancing to amuse the children. It’s clearly just not the same. Good on you for making the effort to go back to it.

    1. It felt good to be back, that’s for sure. But it hasn’t stopped my own flailing around my own home. :) And I’ll let you know if I come up with any good recommendations in the supernatural erotic self-help genre!

  2. Moderation and balance are hard to reach – good luck finding what works for you!

    Oh, and I want some throwing knives. Five percent whim… hope your loved ones are tuned into your moods :)

    1. I think my loved ones are very used to my changing moods. God bless them. And yes, it’s hard to find balance with many competing interests — I think it’s always a work in progress!

  3. The sweat in the mouth. Gross. Just completely gross. I’m not a creature of moderation either. I either have to do something all the time or practically never. It makes getting into any sort of exercise routine interesting. And often painful.

    1. Yeah, I was never quite the same after that. :) And I’m totally with you, moderation is not my jam. I’m trying to figure out right now why some things stick and other things don’t.

  4. I love pie charts. They give your blog the feel of data driven certainty. And when it comes to women’s clothing there’s really no such thing as too tight, unless you can’t breath. But what do I know? I’m a man and, by definition, a pig.

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