The one who leads


I used to have an allergic reaction to those traditional dances which determine and distinguish strongly the gender role between men and women. Crossing out those traditional dances led me only to electronic music parties where I could dance without thinking of others. I just needed my space, with my eye closed, to enjoy fully what was possessing onto me. The beats and scratching tunes used to bring me to the scenes where my memories could reproduce myself being there. Those moments used to escape out from my memories, since there was no else way than having photos as an evidence to look back. This has become how I enjoyed listening music.

I went to La Catedral Club, first of all to demonstrate one of my favourite places in Buenos Aires to my newly arrived housemates, and secondly to revisit the place as a mean of finalising my station in Buenos Aires before moving to Paris. And there, I happened to take a tango lesson. It wasn’t my first tango class after all, but it became as if it were, because this time it wasn’t about just memorising the steps but about the very philosophy of stepping. This philosophy teaching began with walking with eyes closed guided by the partner. It was a walking being hugged, putting both hand on the shoulder or on the chest of the partner, and by doing so one should assimilate the other.

At the same time, this meant that the one who leads should decide firmly and demonstrate to which direction he or she wants to move; forward, side or backward. I realised that I was so bad at deciding to which direction I wanted to move afterward, so I ended up tangling steps. All I gave was misdirection with a bashful smile. Tango is such an improvising dance that there is no fixed steps that one must follow. So this was on my call to decide where to move when I was the one who led the move. By making this lead, I realised that I have been like this; not clearly demonstrating to which direction I wanted to move in this relationship. Being hugged or hugging, I should have been decisive and demonstrative firmly so that my partner could understand and follow my lead. I also was eager to get validation that it’d be good where I was leading to.

In online dating application it exemplifies simply. I no more have an account on those application (maybe later I might reinstall to online date), but surely recall that the conversation was basically about asking what I was looking for there. I prepared a repertory saying ‘I’m looking for respectful people who evince their experience and empathy.’ Maybe I should have prepared a more concrete answer. Or maybe I was avoiding to say out loud what I want. Or maybe I was afraid of making mistakes in relationship before it even started. Yes, again this tango lesson that we all saw in 90s gave me another life lecture: “No mistakes in tango, not like in life; simple, that’s what makes tango so great. You make mistake. You’d get tangled up, then you just tango on.”

The next time, either in tango or in relationship, either I’d be the one who leads or who’d be led, I might feel more comfortable on moving my steps and push forward or backward, whichever direction I decide to. Again, it needs practices, just as in any other dance lessons.

What a beautiful gift that Buenos Aires offered me before my departure.

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