A letter about me?

IMGP7329 Buenos Aires boasts several great tango ‘revistas’: La Tangauta, B.A. Tango, La Milonga. I love to pick these up free at the Milongas and I devour the content each new month. I can use them to find out what’s going on in the tango scene, put names to faces, learn more about the people I rub shoulders with by night. I even had my photograph in the June edition of La Milonga!


The headline articles are interesting but, it’s the more personal entries that always catch my eye. In the July edition of B.A. Tango a letter was published in Spanish with an English translation, and I loved it. Perhaps something is lost in the English but it still had the power to touch me. As I reached the end tears of recognition welled up in my eyes. Was this man writing about me? You decide.

From the milonga, you can also see the stars:

To the touristango women:

Beaten, controversial, admired, tango is an inexhaustible source of pleasures. Each of us has an idea of it according to our feeling and to our search in the milonga. Frustrations, passions, love affairs, friendship, affections and loneliness make a carousel of life experiences.

Since the revival of the dance, foreign female tourists have come to Buenos Aires to examine in its habitat that melancholic music and its sensual dance which Argentines passionately dance. But they come ‘with advice’ and they are suspicious of men.

There are a lot of claims about the male dancers’ hounding behaviour. Women feel men’s approach as something frivolous and repeated. They come from countries where dates are scheduled and arranged like business commitments and where flattering remarks mean sexual harassment, and is severely punished by the law. When they arrive at the milonga and find the warm embrace, sweet promises of eternal love, an arm that surrounds their back and is laid in their waist, a warm hand that ‘talks’ to theirs, the invitation to have the usual coffee after the dance, at first they feel invaded, and I say at first, because after a while, that attitude becomes a need.

The hounding issue is true. Maybe dancers sometimes go too far and with no signal at all we jump with no protection net, but dear touristango friend who disbelieves the milonguero world, I’d like to tell you: milongueros are neither crooks nor liars, we are men who belong to a different society from yours, who go to work, who have a family, friends, and many professionals from several areas, like you, who go to the milonga to channel their emotions, to share a life taste, to change the stuffy atmosphere of the daily rush; these are the men who hound you without taking into account your customs.

Dear touristango lady, very nice things that are a caress for the soul are born in the milonga. Couples, friendship, courtship, marriages arise from such a beaten environment and these are the nice face of the milonga. The trivialities of gossip, envy or rudeness are part of the same old inept ones.

Finally, the woman’s soul is universal and I do not know any who does not like being wanted. From my table I have the answer. I can see on the dance floor all the touristango ladies embraced and dreaming on the shoulder of that dancer with no face who transports them to the fantasy world. I can also see many touristango ladies with their porteno partner and with the pleasure of having found their place in the world.

Dear touristango lady, you know what? From the milonga, you can also see the stars.

Yours truly, VICTOR RAIK.


4 Responses

  1. Yeah, decent men are decent men the world over too. Few and far between. The perverse and filthy have day jobs and families too.

    Dear touristango lady, see stars and gutter in one glance. It’s no different from every other evening out. Watch out for the creeps and avoid them.

  2. Don’t worry, I have pretty sharp cat’s eyes well practiced at finding the ‘stars’ – and believe me there are many here in Buenos Aires. Maybe it ain’t the same the world over. SC

  3. What a lovely story. I think I will have write something about that my next term paper when I start tango classes again at City College of San Francisco.

    I can only hope I will one of those “stars” to be dancing with you, Dearling. You shall be my “moon.” 😉

    Smiles and hugs, “Sly” 🙂

  4. Could be about you Sally, could well be. The author of the letter appears to understand the milonga, and women, very well.

    I believe that surrender, connection and trust are essential to this wonderful tango that we dance. Without these things there is no colour or depth, bright stars remain veiled. Too many men that I have come accross either don’t or cannot understand this. Maybe the Tango was born of the Argentine because the Argentine understands this the best?

    The things highlighted above are risky and to reach these stars one must possess courage and search for understanding. Just as in Tango, one must surrender to, connect with and trust life. It seems to me that this is what the author of the letter is getting at. I know this, the author of the letter knows this and evidently, you know this too.

    Happy star gazing Sally. xx

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