tango was never about love. in tango, you’ll see the one you love dance all night with other women — their eyes closed, enveloped in him. in tango, you’ll close your eyes to try and imagine: what if being held for twelve minutes by a kind stranger could be enough? in other social dances, we could dance for love, for joy, for pleasure - dance free and careless with wide smiles on our faces - after drinks, before bed. in tango, we dance for desire. for passion. for pain. we see dances we want; we plot and plan. in other social dances, this much intimacy could mean something, lead to something, as in, maybe, we could be something. in tango, intimacy is just our hobby.
we always knew this. this is why if we arrive at tango already in love, somewhere deep down we are afraid of tango interception. and if we come to tango looking for love, when we do find it we want to sit and guard it. we want to hold its hand, as if to say: let me show you how this love is greater than tango. let me prove it.
or not. or we let each other go like boomerangs, and wait. tango is not about love, but maybe love is about tango: a continual embracing and releasing; wanting, but not having; having, but not holding.
and when we go home you’ll tell me all about your night, and i’ll tell you about mine. tonight, i didn’t have a good time. but i watched a couple i’ve never seen before come in half an hour before close, walk onto the floor, and start to dance some other dance.
they looked drunk and careless, they looked only at each other, they looked like joy, they looked so in love. you were dancing and i was watching them, watching you, thinking: maybe this is ultimately all that we really want. to be seen, touched, danced with as though nothing else mattered, as though no one else existed. to be held in an embrace that said: you. i could dance with you all night.
thank you for indulging. if you enjoyed this piece, you might also like reading our tango addiction and tango theater. I’m an artist and writer spinning true stories about love, tango, and homesickness. art is my way of beauty and truth. you can explore my work here, or sign up for weekly artist letters below.