Tag Archives: Juan

Near and far

Firstly let me apologise for the lateness of this post. I had eight days off and decided to spend Easter in Christchurch near Bournemouth. We like the area a lot, but also it was a chance to meet up with our daughter who lives down there.

We intended to travel down Friday, but I hate to waste a journey, and so we traveled on Thursday night first to Shrewsbury for the Tango.  Instead of the usual class we had a practica that was overseen by Ricardo and Sue. We have met them previously at one of the classes we attended here, and are always glad to have new talent  here.

The practica was broken up in the middle with a short class on moving to the music, but in general they let us get on with it, helping out whenever it was needed. Of course it gave me a chance to dance with most of the women there, but unfortunately this time I did not dance with Sue.

Ricardo an Sue announced that they have a festival in early May, it would have been nice to attend but we are in Buenos Aires. I do not have the details, as they had run out of fliers. If anyone would like to send me details, I will post them on the May events list.

We finished the evening off with the usual non alcoholic shandy in The Coracle. As usual there was lots of tango talk with thoughts of future events, so much planning happens over a pint. Eventually the landlord had to throw us out, and we were then off on the road for an all night drive.

Not  a lot seems to happen over Easter, but we did manage to find a Milonga very close to where we were camping. So Saturday night we arrived un fashionably early at The Beaufort Community Centre. We met the meastro before the start, Eduardo Bozzo and by coincidence, one of his first pupils was Juan, our friend in Buenos Aires.

The levels of the dancers was very mixed, so I am afraid we kept to ourselves throughout the dance, but there was plenty of room to move, so we could dance to our hearts content. Work commitments mean I will not get to any local Tango events until next Thursday, so to keep everyone happy here are a few photos of Saturday night.

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Salon Dandi

Getting a comment from New Zealand, has prompted me to comment further on one of my photos. In moments of boredom I may well tell the story of all of them, but for now just the one.

It was our third visit to BsAs, and by now feeling that we knew the place, we were not averse to giving others the benefit of our knowledge. I had also come with a pocket full of money, in the vain belief that I could buy a place here.

During our second week Luba went into panic “I have double booked” she said ” I have two people coming, Keet and Ann, and I only have a single room left” All things work out well in the end, Luba went to her sisters and let the Colombian girl stay in her room, leaving the two singles free.

In due course Ann and Kieth arrived (forever now to be called Keet), they came together but not as a couple. Kieth said “I am just a body guard”. Both English but now living in New Zealand, the only other common denominator is the dance classes they attend in NZ.

Ann and Keet

Ann and Keet

They took Tango lessons with Juan, did touristy things all day, and at night we showed them the milongas.
Salon Dandi (us in the foreground)
Salon Dandi (us in the foreground)

So this is how we ended up together at Salon Dandi. I have precious few photos of us dancing together, so I am grateful to Ann for taking some of us, one of which I have used on our business cards. Ann went on to see more of the world while Keet flew back to NZ.

Ann spent some time in the UK and came to visit us, unfortunately I had to work all the time but, hey that’s what pays for me to go to BsAs.
My search for property had gone completely wrong, and with only three days left in Argentina I had all but given up hope. It was Ann who set me off again on what was to become an ultimately successful quest. She pointed  out an advert in The Buenos Aires Herald for Pericles James (see link) without whos help and guidance I do not think that I would ever have succeeded.
Incidentally, how many spotted Roger and Mirta, also in the photo?

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El Beso

El beso or the kiss, is one of the most difficult Argentine customs for the straight laced English.

I find as the years go by men more often kiss women acquaintances goodbye, but rarely hello and never ever other men. Is this a result of  a society that has repressed homosexuality for so long, or perhaps the macho society that has for so many centuries conquered the world.

Whatever the reason, contact between men has been frowned apon to the point that when we shake hands with someone we have known for years or even a relative, we stand at least eighteen inches apart.

My first experience of El Beso was when I met my Argentine dance teacher Juan. We had been introduced, organised classes for the next two weeks, and chatted for about an hour, when it was time to go he stood up and moved towards me, I of course stuck my hand out and shook his. I could see a look of suprise on his face.

When he had left Luba explained to me about the kiss, I never kissed my parents let alone strangers.

It took some time for me to get over my reserve and actually kiss another man, now I do it all the time, it just seems natural and in no way sexual. I even kiss men at home although I must admit it is more for the shock effect.

Is contact such a bad thing? When I dance as a follower I can feel that the men are uncomfortable being so close to a man, and in the most part are glad to get away. Next time you shake hands grab the guy with whom you are exchanging greetings and give him a slap on the back. I guarantee that after the suprise he will smile. From the back slapping it is only a small step to a full hug and your heads are side by side. Even if you cannot bring youself to actually kiss, this embrace would be enough for most of our Latin friends.

We are naturally tactile animals and our fear of sexuality and repressed upbringing drives away this desire to touch. If it all sounds just a bit gay, then look at it this way. Since I have learned to kiss men I find contact with women much easier and think nothing of taking a women into a full embrace on our first meeting. I see couples dancing and you could get another couple between them, not strangers, old married couples. I dance with their wives and take them in a full close embrace, although at first uncomfortable they soon learn to like it. Kissing is just a natural extension to the embrace.

The world will be a better place, and we will all be a lot happier when we can all just kiss and hug. Forget Fathers day, and Mothers day giving an insicere present and a handshake Let’s have a national Hug and Kiss day. Who knows you may like it.

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