Thursday, July 22, 2010

The most beautiful woman in the world


A friend of ours used to always wear pants. Tight, unflattering white pants (even after Labour Day) that made her bulge in strange places and had the bizarre optical effect of making her look short, even though she was in reality as tall as an Amazon.

When we asked her about her wardrobe she told us that all she had were pants (she wanted to hide her weird-looking legs, she said), and that all her clothes were either black or white. "I only have one single black dress. I wear that to weddings, funerals and company christmas parties. That's all you need, right?" She was an efficient minimalist.

Since she took up tango she must have chucked her pants into an incinerator because we never saw them again. The transformation was gradual at first. She started showing up at the milonga in pants but with a black bias cut skirt in her bag to change into. Initially she wore her skirt OVER her pants. "It's too short! It's too short!" she complained. Then it was summer, so it was too hot to wear both. Out went the pants - the skirt was victorious.

We discovered that our friend had legs longer than than Yonge Street.

Then came the colour. "I found this beautiful ankle-length violet halter dress in this little boutique store next to the subway - it's on sale! Should I get it? Should I get it?" she asked.

She debuted the dress at the next big tango event. All the heads turned - she was a goddess.

Our friend was thrifty so she only added to her new wardrobe bit by bit - but every piece was a stunner. The canary yellow sheath dress with the abstract pattern. The turquoise baby doll. The pink and black femme fatale. She invested in a new haircut, a new perfume. And then there were the shoes. Neotangos, Comme Il Fauts....

Don't be mistaken to think that she spent all her time obsessing about her makeup and what she wore. She still ate (Lay's and glosettes are some of her favourites - as well as japanese food and tremendous eggs and bacon breakfasts on Sundays), still laughed, still played tennis in the sun, still stayed out until 3 a.m. with her non-tango friends a couple of times a month playing poker and drinking beer. She danced lots of tango. And became - the most beautiful woman in the world.

"Absurd!" you say. "Surely Angelina Jolie (or perhaps Gisele Bunchen) is the most beautiful woman in the world! That's what People magazine said!"

Well, if you think the above is wacko, then prepared to be shocked by the following:

Look around you on any given night at the milonga. The most beautiful woman in the world is everywhere!* She's asking the DJ the name of the tango that is playing. She's chatting and joking with her friends at the table. She is nodding her acceptance of an invitation in the cabeceo. She's melting into a tanguero's embrace on the dance floor. It's the college girl with the glasses studying for her M.A. It's the yoga enthusiast and the long distance runner. It's the computer programmer who works through the night powered only on freshly brewed coffee. It's the cashier at the pharmacy. It's the police constable. It's the scientist. It's the doctor. It's the psychiatrist. It's the mother of four with the three hour commute to work. It's the crafter. It's the the writer. It's the dreamer. It's the grandmother with the red flower in her hair who babysits her grandkids - when she is in town and not traveling the world.

They all made it in their own, quiet way - just by dancing the tango and loving it so. No plastic surgery, trendy diet, extreme makeover, personal life coach or lottery jackpot winnings required.

If you are dancing Tango five nights a week, what time could you have left over to feel bad about the way you look and wallow in misery over what to wear?

* Irene has not quite made it to "The most beautiful woman in the world" status, but tango has reduced the time she needs to prepare for a night out by an astounding 243%!

1 comment:

Johanna said...

Wonderful post, Irene.

Alberto Dassieu

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