We don't think this cute little doggie washed his hands or his feet after doing his business. But then, it's probably ok - he isn't going to dance Tango afterwards.
Was asked this recently by a curious non-dancing onlooker at a milonga:
"Tango music is beautiful and I enjoy watching people dance Tango. I would love to learn to dance... but is there a kind of Tango in which, you know, you don't have to dance so close?"
Unfortunately, we were actually able to recommend a few places in Toronto where she could learn Tango but safely within her criteria of 'not too much embrace, please'. At some of these schools, people can also learn to dance 'not at all to the music', 'without any connection to their partner' and 'not caring whether they are kicking other people in the shins with their reckless exuberance'. Isn't it nice that people who don't really want to learn what we consider to be the Tango can still go 'Tango' in our town?
Some people don't like to hug and wince upon being touched. A few are terrified of stepping on someone's foot or being stepped on. Others are mortified about looking awkward in public. Maybe Tango shouldn't be their thing.
But thinking about it, maybe our inquisitive onlooker is on to something.
Tango is not for everyone. Especially Germaphobes.
A Tango connection is a virus and bacteria-laden connection. The average person has like a gazillion microscopic creepy crawlies in, on and around them at any given time, ready to make the leap to the next unsuspecting host.
As if this was not frightening enough! We always have our hand sanitizer ready at the milonga - and we use it liberally all the time, after we dance we anyone, after we shake hands with people, even after we dance with each other. It's not that the lovely people we dance with/say hi to are dirty, but there's a big chance that they may have come into contact with someone who is not exactly hygienic. Once you dance with one person, you have danced with every single person in the room.
Many years ago, we took a lonely friend to a Tango Club so she could meet some new people and try Tango out. She found Tango fun, but we made the mistake of telling her to use hand sanitizer.
"Why?" she asked innocently.
"Oh, the gentleman you were dancing with DIDN'T WASH HIS HANDS AFTER USING THE LOO." said Man Yung.
Our friend had already tried so hard to enjoy Tango despite being quite shy. That particular piece of information made her run for the hills and not come back.
"And not only do they skip washing their hands - I just saw one pee and NOT FLUSH!" Man Yung said last night to one of our Tanguera friends. We had been shuddering in horror since Man Yung observed this in the men's washroom at the Saturday night milonga and couldn't wait to warn all our lady friends. Was it sheer coincidence that the non-flusher was one of the premier dancers of the Tango Club we brought our unlucky friend to all those years ago?
Our friend had a very wise reaction.
"DON'T TELL ME, PLEASE DON'T TELL ME!!!" said our Tanguera friend, waving her hands and shaking her head in dismay. "I would like to enjoy dancing Tango tonight!"*
* Yep, we admit that this post is probably just way too much information for most Tango dancers who want to continue to dance without being completely put off by the amount of "Dirty Dancing" going on. **
** Conversely, Irene has observed that all Toronto Tangueras very considerately wash their hands after using the bathroom. ***
*** And on the other end of the spectrum, there is an exceptionally hygienic Tango Tanguero who makes sure he is clean and fresh for all ladies, so much so that he gives himself an extensive sponge bath using tissues and paper towels while in the bathroom. Unfortunately, he is only considerate of the ladies and not considerate of the janitor. After he is finished, the whole sink and the floor around the sink is covered with dirty water and sopping wet, used tissues - he thinks of cleaning himself but doesn't think of cleaning after himself. Disgusting! ****
**** When some people learn to dance Tango, they think it is most important to learn more steps, dance better, get dances with better dancers, attain a skill level most likely to inspire admiration from others etc. etc. - but how can all this be more important than being a civilized, considerate human being with at least a basic knowledge of personal hygiene? *****
***** Man Yung has a whole list of names on the "Dirty Dancing" list. But don't worry, he has learned his lesson and will not disclose to the general Toronto Tango public, for fear of creating wide-spread Toronto Tango panic. Only lucky Irene will get to know. Maybe it is a ploy to get her to dance only with Man Yung and nobody else!