Our maestra Coca doesn't like to be too risqué... but she can't resist pretty feminine dresses. So whenever she wears any skirt or dress with floating, transparent gossamer layers of tulle, she asks us in a loud whisper:
"Is it too see-thru? Is it too see-thru?"
And we reply:
"Yes, we can see everything! Whooo-hoooo, how very sexy!"
And Coca will give us the evil eye.
Paulina once told us a story about a horrible milonga she went to. "Everyone was doing high kicks on the dance floor and didn't care a jot that people were around them. Alberto got kicked in the back and the perpetrator didn't even apologize!"
She paused dramatically and then described the most horrible thing of all. "One couple was dancing dangerous stage tango movements right in the middle of the crowded floor and all of a sudden, he flipped her upside down and her skirt flopped over her head - AND THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT TO THE IMAGINATION!!!!"
I think the last thing most milongueras would want is to have her bombacha showing. It's just not classy. When we are in the company of our milonguera friends in a Buenos Aires milonga watching a performance by the next up-and-coming tango couple and some gratuitous underwear exposure comes up - they always turn to us secretively and give us a solemn "look" of disapproval.
We share their distress. But not for the reasons you think!
"Like many gentlemen, I like looking at nice lady's underwear now and then - but no, not your granny panties, Irene!" said Man Yung. "However, in traditional Chinese culture, lady's knickers have a devastating mysterious power that should not be underestimated or misused."
"What do you mean, Man Yung?"
"I'll give you an example. Irene, you have seen many Chinese sword and sorcery movies. You always get this scene the dueling Chinese wizards are so evenly matched, they are stuck in a stalemate and neither can win. Of course, the good wizard's assistant saves the day by throwing a pair of (used) lady's knickers at the bad wizard which makes his magic backfire and implode. The side of good wins the day, thanks to knickers!"
"I remember now - you are absolutely right!"
"Knickers have also been used throughout Chinese history to counter bewitchment and ward off evil spirits."
"If what you are saying is true, then any tango performance that results in a lot of panty-flashing is very beneficial for the audience. We should try to go and see as many such performances as possible for our health, wealth and good fortune!"
How lucky we are to get to see everything
"Not so fast, Irene. Seeing the underwear is not lucky - it is in fact very UNLUCKY. If you are a gambler having a lucky streak at the casino, any hint of the sight of knickers will make you lose IMMEDIATELY. Any person who wants to play mahjong, go to a card game, or even buy a lottery ticket after watching your standard furious foot flapping, jumping, spinning, flipping, kicking AND knicker flaunting tango show is doomed to LOSE."*
* I think the theory behind this ancient Chinese wisdom is that attracting luck for gambling purposes is a type of enchantment which would be instantly broken at the sight of the knickers. This is why Irene is always considerate at the milonga. Whenever she is wearing anything that is somewhat short, or somewhat transparent, you can be sure that she will be wearing some sturdy bike shorts underneath. Don't worry, Paulina - no one can see anything, even if you turn Irene upside down! Of course, you can do like the Nuevo Tangoistas and just wear a pair of pants under your skirt - but maybe, just maybe, this is overkill.**
** Ladies, if you have to flash someone in Tango, is there a way to do it that is not so bad? For example, is black underwear somehow better than wearing white underwear or vice versa? Are knickers that are the same colour as your dress less offensive? Or does wearing knickers matching your skin colour "magically" make the whole knicker exposure issue disappear because you aren't supposed to see it anymore? ***
*** Unfortunately, "Nude" knickers are not really visible or invisible ... don't know what to say except when we saw this recently, our Milonguera friend sitting next to us covered her eyes and screamed, "I've gone blind! I've gone blind!"