Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We have a sweet darling kitty called Mr. W.  One day we noticed that he liked to paw at the ground a couple of times around his kibble bowl after eating.  It was soooooooo cute.  So we decided to give him a compliment.

"OOOOOOOHHHH MYYYYY GAWWWWWWWD!!!!!!  SUUUUUUCH AAAAAA GOOOOOOOOOOOOD KIIIIIIIIITTY!" we said (and repeated) in unison, in the most saccharine, crazy-cat-people-way possible.

Mr. W stared at us and licked his nose anxiously - completely puzzled.  He was only doing something that was natural to him - cats like to cover up their poop and remnants of their meals to avoid alerting either predator or prey.  What was all the fuss?

But that didn't stop him from falling for our nefarious plot.  Every time he did the same thing, we would make a big, fake, evil-nice commotion and praise him to the skies.  Yes, this is what Irene and Man Yung does when they are not dancing tango - they punk their own cats.  But I digress.

Now Mr. W spends at least a WHOLE MINUTE after every meal, laboriously pawing at the floor around his bowl, while we crow and croon disgustingly over his efforts.  Don't worry, Mr. W is not in a least bit upset - he thinks he is the bee's knees.  But really.

Tango dancers aren't cats - but watch them fall for it too.  Tell a young tanguera that she has beautiful adornments.  The next time you see her, she will be flipping her feet left and right and tripping over her own ankles.  Whisper to another that you admire her groundedness.  Tomorrow, dancing with her will be like driving a truck with square wheels.  Don't think that tangueros are immune.  Clap when you see a wildly spinning helicopteresque tanguero - and watch him spin even faster!  Or conversely, adore a tanguero for knowing how to pause - and for evermore, his dancing will have the allure of watching paint dry.

Now, we may prank our cats with the power of positive reinforcement - but trust us, we do not compliment people wily-nily just for the purpose of turning them into complete caricatures of themselves.  We are like other people when we give compliments - what we say we admire is really and honestly what we admire. Or, in the very least, we are trying our best to say something encouraging and positive...instead of something perceptive, snarky and insanely hilarious (well, to us anyway).

Man Yung's mom always had words of wisdom for him - and one thing she liked to say was that "You have to live your life with your feet planted firmly on the ground."  Kind of hard to do, if a little compliment sends your head up to clouds.  Lucky for us, we haven't received ANY compliments so we are still wallowing around sea level (or perhaps even underground, say, in Tango Hell?) Never fear, there's lots of company in the stratosphere.  Nuevo Tango Innovators, so applauded for their innovation - have finally innovated themselves out of tango and into gymnastics.  Theatrical tango is always receptive to a few laughs - but haven't we all seen dancers take it overboard and into a full blown grotesque tango freak show?  Don't get us started on some of the official competitions of Tango Salon out there - we're fully convinced that more and more prizes are being awarded each year for SALONESQUE EXAGGERATION.

What is Tango?  Just a bit of walking (and not floating, or flying) to a little bit of music.  Lose sight of the ground when you walk, and you won't just risk falling flat on your face - you'll lose sight of Tango.

Ricardo Vidort and Myriam Pincen - step by step and feet always firmly on the floor!


Angelina Tanguera said...

I would like to compliment you on your posting on compliments! - I linked it to a current post on floorcraft. You write so well - and I love the analogy with Mr. W! (My 2 little Persians are always competing with each other - if you praise one you have to praise both!). Thank you.

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Angelina,

We never knew cats could be so jealous until we started having them as pets! If one gets a snack, all of them has to get a snack. If one gets a pat on the head, all of them has get a pat on the head. Otherwise we will have to watch out for dangerous kitty retribution - ranging from sulky stares to "I'm going to push everything off this table right now to get your attention!"

Thanks for mentioning us on your blog and we promise not to let your compliment go to our heads and start to write about nothing but cats and floorcraft (wait a moment, aren't we doing this already?)

Irene and Man Yung

Irene and Man Yung said...

Ooops - I mean "have". This shows that we are not getting enough compliments on our grammar!

Anonymous said...

I love this. (And love the late Ricardo Vidort, one of my favourite milonguero-style dancers). I recently had rather the opposite experience, where compliments were concerned, with a leader for whom giving and receiving compliments was an integral part of the dance.

If you're interested, you can read about it here:


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