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!