"One of the ladies over there just said something very interesting," Nina said, gesturing to the ladies section at the other side of the room. "She told me that she really admired Man Yung's dancing. In fact, she said she is willing to PAY to dance with Man Yung..." Nina paused dramatically - "IN DOLLARS!"
We thought it was pretty funny to find a woman willing to pay to dance with Man Yung. Usually, it would be the other way around - you know, women willing to pay not to dance with Man Yung [Just joking, honey!] Naturally, the prospect of earning dollars for Tango is completely and utterly irresistible - how else can we justify the droves of qualified and unqualified tango professionals invading all corners of the globe? Unfortunately, Man Yung hadn't incorporated his own taxi dancing company yet to take advantage of all his tax deductions for tango shoes, trips to Buenos Aires, etc. He just went over to dance with the lucky lady, free of charge!
Thrilled with the opportunity of turning Man Yung into a Tango Taxi Dancer Cash Cow, we asked our teachers for an opinion of Man Yung's Fair Market Value.
Cash Cow: It does everything except dance Tango
When we told Alberto about what the lady said, he immediately frowned. "No, no, no, Man Yung!" he said, wagging his finger, horrified by the idea.
"But isn't it a good idea to make some money to cover our tango expenses?" we pleaded. "How much do you think Man Yung could charge? Twenty dollars? Forty Dollars?"
Alberto thought for a moment, and then laughed out loud. "Man Yung should charge no less than ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS per hour! If they won't pay - he must say no way!"
Darn. Is he joking? Much younger and handsomer taxi dancers with better fitting suits and impressive teaching credentials are charging only twenty dollars an hour! Surely a rate of ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS would price Man Yung out of the market. We needed a second opinion.
When we asked Osvaldo and Coca , Coca started giggling and Osvaldo raised his eyebrows so high they disappeared to the back of his head. "No, no, no, Man Yung!" they said. Wagging fingers and horrified looks ensued.
Nevertheless, we pushed them to tell us a figure. All our future tango budgeting (and the number of pairs of shoes I was going to get at Comme Il Faut this trip) depended on their advice.
Osvaldo smacked the table with his hand. "Tell the ladies that you will not accept anything less than ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS."
Double darn. Not even Fabio is charging anything near that! How could we possibly compete in the wild wasteland of the Tango Taxi Dancing Marketplace?
As a last resort, we asked Martha and Manolo.
Martha smiled when she heard our question. Manolo wasn't listening to us (it takes too much effort to keep up with our silly jokes, so he just zones out). Only when we were finished with our gabbing, did Manolo turn sedately to Martha and ask her, "What the hell were they talking about?"
Martha explained to him. We waited patiently for a few seconds while Manolo digested our query.
Mini explosion. "Nah, don't be ridiculous!" Manolo said.
Maybe the vision of having Man Yung doing his best Tasmanian Devil impression on the dance floors of Buenos Aires - for money or no - was a little too much to bear.
"But surely, after seven years of dancing, Man Yung's dancing skill must be worth something. Five dollars? Ten dollars?" we offered, hopefully. We're crossing our fingers here.
Manolo shook his head. "You have got it all wrong. There is no dollar amount to be set for the privilege of dancing with Man Yung. No tiene precio - it's priceless!"*
* Oh, so that's what all our teachers were talking about when they set all those exorbitant prices!
** We bumped the Dollar Paying Lady (a Portena, in fact) again when we went to Maipu 444 with Alberto and Paulina. She actually exists! We didn't make it up! And Man Yung went to dance with her again - for free, grrrrrrrrr....
*** We also bumped into the Elbow Dancer when we went to Salon Canning with Osvaldo and Coca. This proves: 1) Tango = Small World, and 2) None of this was imaginary, we have witnesses.