Monday, January 10, 2011

Nice

I've written about the Hokey Pokey guy before.  He's the crazy leader who makes you want to lock up all your women so that they won't get manhandled by him on the dance floor!

Most women refuse him.  But there are those who still say yes.  Now, there's no denying that some followers relish the sensation being jerked and thrown around dangerously on the dance floor by a guy who can't stop spinning round and round, shrugging his shoulders and flapping his arms while bobbing up and down, up and down........


Looks athletic and almost graceful from a distance... but I assure you, it is terrifying if it's your partner!

But some of those followers are perfectly sane.  What makes them accept the invitation to dance from a person who is completely off their rocker (or who has possibly learned to dance Tango from an Ostrich)?

One reply we heard: "Well, you've got to be nice sometimes."

"How (and Why) you should be Nice in Tango (and elsewhere)" is a topic that deserves it's own dissertation.  And why shouldn't everyone be nice?   It's the cornerstone of modern civilization. It's a community-builder. It's the enabler for the existence of the "Happy Jolly Tango!! Association".  If you are really, truly, nice and you will dance with the Hokey Pokey Ostrich and all his ilk, more power to you!  But what if you don't want to be nice?

"Yeah, Irene, you've got to be nice more often!" says Man Yung at least once every two months.  As you see, despite all that martial arts training and whoop-ass ability, Man Yung is actually very, very nice - and he is dismayed when I don't join the party.

I spend all the rest of my waking life trying to be a "Nice". Do I have to be "Nice" in Tango too? Look at all the milongueras in any of the local milongas in Buenos Aires.  They aren't going to dance with anyone they don't want to dance with just to be "Nice". They paid to get in just like everybody else, and by golly they are going to be picky about who they are going to embrace in the Tango.  That's why they invented the cabeceo.  Because buddy, if I ain't looking at you - I ain't wanting to dance with you.

Just look at all the dance invitations I've accepted since my Tango infancy, just to be "Nice" (Someone should compile a video montage):

The leaders who stepped on my feet.

The leaders who insisted on planting big, slimy, stinky kisses on my face after each dance and complimenting me lasciviously on my "sexy" outfit (Ewwwwwww! And there were MORE THAN ONE!).

The leader who smelled like a garlic factory in Republic of Garlic.

The leader who pleaded for a dance "because he was a beginner leader and experienced followers should be nice to beginners" - and then didn't even say hello the next time we bumped into him.

The leaders who started teaching when they couldn't lead.

The leaders who sweated so much I felt like I stepped into the shower before I had stepped into the shower.

The leader who used me as a human shield and drove me intrepidly backward into the writhing masses, holding it at bay while he executed thrilling and complex figures in his own little bubble of safety.

The leaders who were just plain, soul-suckingly, boring.  

And last but not least, Mr. Hokey Pokey himself.

Every Birthday, Christmas, and New Year's, right on the stroke of midnight, I hold in my heart only one wish.  Happiness.  That everyone I know and care about would be happy.  Happy just about covers it all - whether it's health or wealth, or the brand new Macbook Air (hint hint, Man Yung!) if it makes you happy, I hope you got it. 

However, wishing that you could dance with all the people you want to dance with is a little bit on the greedy side.  So I offer something just a bit more modest, but no less happiness-inducing.

My wish is this:  That nobody (including and especially me) will have to dance with anybody they don't want to dance with! 

It's a little late, but Happy 2011 to everyone!

13 comments:

Tango Salon said...

Well said, Irene!

I believe that dancing with someone just to be "nice" can be quite counter-productive to that person. By that I mean that they won't need to stop and reflect on why people don't want to dance with them. By being "nice", one is reinforcing the behaviour (something I just wrote about in my latest blog "Respect"). As a result they won't progress to the next stage and realise that they need to do something about their social skills, dietary habits, dancing skills, etc.

This may sound harsh, but I think that in the long term, you could actually be doing such people a great favour by not dancing with them.

Patricia
Tango Salon Adelaide

Preen&Ogle said...

Last August, in a popular BsAs milonga I was advised by the lady organiser (who speaks fluent English) to look and choose carefully before I cabaceod a follower. "Well", said I, wearing my English 'nice hat' "How bad can it be if I don't and she is not such a great dancer? After all it's only 10 minutes of my life!". "Very, very bad indeed", was the shocked reply."She will make you look bad and you won't get accepted by the good followers". She was right of course. Sad it is such a cruel old world.
Terry

Preen&Ogle said...

In London Hokey Pokey man is known as the Matador.

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Patricia and Terry,

1. Tango Life is, indeed, cruel.

2. But looking on the bright side, if people won't dance with sucky dancers, the said sucky dancers will have motivation to become better! As Patricia said oh so rightly, the people who refuse to dance with the said sucky dancer are actually doing them a favour.

3. Unfortunately, in some areas of Toronto, we have become deluged with bad dancers. As there are numerous levels of horrendousness, those who think they are less horrendous actually believe they can become performers, instructors, all around "Tango Professionals"! Not only do they attempt to teach (not only on the dance floor, but in "classes" as well), they go around asking followers to dance in such an arrogant way, it has the psychological effect of making the inexperienced follower think that they really got the goods. The two proceed to hijack the dance floor with their hijinks. And then the whole milonga (indeed the whole tango community) erupts in a mad frenzy as everyone tries to outdo each other in tango ridiculousness. We have documented this phenomenon here:

http://ireneandmanyung.blogspot.com/2008/11/tallest-of-seven-dwarves.html

4. Terry: Matador? Hee! Check out this post we wrote for even more inspiration:

http://ireneandmanyung.blogspot.com/2008/05/no-its-not-cool-to-be-called-el-nabo.html

Thanks for your comments, and your tango community will thank you for saying no!

Irene and Man Yung

Irene and Man Yung said...

P.S.

Dear Patricia,

We saw on the news about the floods in Australia last night - we immediately thought about you. It appears from the news that the major flooding isn't around Adelaide, but in any case, we hope that you, your loved ones and any who are affected by the disaster are safe, and that everything will be resolved quickly and safely for all.

All the best,

Irene and Man Yung

Damian said...

Heya Patricia, nice to see you here :-) ?? :-)

Irene, I have to agree with Patricia - "being nice sometimes" is not really nice... It's destructive for the other dancers if they don't improve. I certainly do do my fair share of "Charity Dancing", but only with students that want to improve.

I don't dance with dancers that think they are great and have never done a lesson... Nope... that is just plain rude of them to think I should dance with them. Sorry, but my efforts in learning to dance, and now teaching are for those that take it more than just as a passing or long lasting phase without learning about it.

Bit like, would you get into a aircraft with a self taught pilot.... Me... Only with a parachute and only if I can sit near the door watching them....

The more women empower themselves and say no, sooner or later, they either go away, or they ask why in which case you should tell them or maybe and hopefully, they realise that they are not good enough and take lessons.

Enjoy tango! ;-)
Damian

Damian said...

Heya Patricia, nice to see you here :-) ?? :-)

Irene, I have to agree with Patricia - "being nice sometimes" is not really nice... It's destructive for the other dancers if they don't improve. I certainly do do my fair share of "Charity Dancing", but only with students that want to improve.

I don't dance with dancers that think they are great and have never done a lesson... Nope... that is just plain rude of them to think I should dance with them. Sorry, but my efforts in learning to dance, and now teaching are for those that take it more than just as a passing or long lasting phase without learning about it.

Bit like, would you get into a aircraft with a self taught pilot.... Me... Only with a parachute and only if I can sit near the door watching them....

The more women empower themselves and say no, sooner or later, they either go away, or they ask why in which case you should tell them or maybe and hopefully, they realise that they are not good enough and take lessons.

Enjoy tango! ;-)
Damian

Tango Salon said...

Sadly, the floods in Queensland are continuing to wreak havoc to the affected communities. Thanks for your thoughts, Irene and Man. In contrast, we usually suffer severe droughts here in our part of the country.

Further thoughts on the topic of being "nice":
A view commonly voiced by "nice" ladies is that they can't afford to refuse an invitation to dance, otherwise they won't be invited again.
My response, in addition to my earlier comment: I prefer quality rather than quantity. Terry's experience in Buenos Aires milongas is so true. Everyone sees everything. So in BsAs, in particular, I avoid potential partners who make me look other than competent and elegant.

Another view sometimes heard:
"Ladies should see it as a privilege to be invited to dance."
My view: That's utter rubbish. I'm not prepared to subject myself willingly to the behaviours described above for the benefit of a partner's ego, especially (as Damian said) if that partner is not prepared to work at learning better skills.

Anyway, that's my two cents.

Un abrazo tanguero para todos,
Patricia

Laurie said...

Too Funny Irene!
HokeyPokeyOstrich is very entertaining on a slow night.
And like Man Yung, a"nice" man -who would dance with me in the beginning. Now that I am more experienced, only your husband still invites me to dance. This is a very good thing (for me) and very instructive in the ways and motivations of leaders of the "showy" persuasion.
I arrived just after the gashing of Ms._'s shin Sunday before last. Her wound is still very painful looking, and led to the question of who is more dangerous: the leader or she of the flying stiletto. My dance partner insists it was the leader who should know better. You were there, What do you think?
Laurie

Damian said...

Laurie

In my experience and my 2 cents worth.

Both can be at fault.. the leader for leading and the follower for following. We as leaders cannot physically force a high, or 'flying' boleo/gancho. It is suggested with the music, the velocity in the change of direction etc, but there is still an onus on the follower to be aware as well - especially if they don't know the leader that well...

Sometimes I've lead soft, low floor boleos only to be shocked with a heel approaching my face....

So, unless you were there... in the partnership.. tis hard to say. Really the 2 dancing should both apologise in this situation....

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Laurie,

I didn't see what happened on the dance floor that night, but I think both leader and follower have a responsibility to keep the dance floor safe. The leader should learn how to navigate, and should not lead anything that would hit or threaten to hit others on the dance floor. Some leaders think that they are sufficiently skilled to lead the big dangerous movements and if they find an opening on the floor, they'll do it. They don't realize that they are interrupting the flow and being a nasty threat even if they don't actually "hit" anyone. All the sensible leaders have to be on their toes trying to avoid the crazy ones. The "crazies" eventually do hit someone - and then someone's hurt, an apology, no matter how sincere, for being such an ass**** (we have received quite a few from the Hokey Pokey Ostrich - we give him the evil eye) just won't do.

As for the ladies, they have a responsibility to refuse to dance with these maniacs, and a responsibility to keep their adornments and kicks down! The rabid adornistas and the careless kickers (especially with voleos of regular and linear variety) are the ones who usually end up spiking someone (or themselves) in the foot.

Who was it that got gashed? Could you tell me the next time we see you?

Thanks for your comment,

Irene

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Laurie,

I didn't see what happened on the dance floor that night, but I think both leader and follower have a responsibility to keep the dance floor safe. The leader should learn how to navigate, and should not lead anything that would hit or threaten to hit others on the dance floor. Some leaders think that they are sufficiently skilled to lead the big dangerous movements and if they find an opening on the floor, they'll do it. They don't realize that they are interrupting the flow and being a nasty threat even if they don't actually "hit" anyone. All the sensible leaders have to be on their toes trying to avoid the crazy ones. The "crazies" eventually do hit someone - and then someone's hurt, an apology, no matter how sincere, for being such an ass**** (we have received quite a few from the Hokey Pokey Ostrich - we give him the evil eye) just won't do.

As for the ladies, they have a responsibility to refuse to dance with these maniacs, and a responsibility to keep their adornments and kicks down! The rabid adornistas and the careless kickers (especially with voleos of regular and linear variety) are the ones who usually end up spiking someone (or themselves) in the foot.

Who was it that got gashed? Could you tell me the next time we see you?

Thanks for your comment,

Irene

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Damian,

You are absolutely right the follower is responsible for being reckless as well! As for apologies - we agree with you, both should apologize - however, they only go part way, we in Toronto have repeat offenders who think that saying sorry is ok and then they smash into someone 30 seconds later (and apologize again). It is not ok!

Thanks for your comments,

Irene and Man Yung

Alberto Dassieu

Loading...

Toronto Weather

Buenos Aires Weather

Twitter!