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Physical Ventriloquism

“I love it when they kiss you with their legs,” I said. Some people can throw their voice. A man who owns his dance can throw his kisses, and that's much more impressive. Some teeny little sacada that no one else in the whole milonga will notice can contain all the feelings that a brave man will admit to.

This is particularly convenient when, for whatever reason, anything noticeable is contraindicated. This is particularly irritating (or convenient) because no one can swear on a Bible that they definitely felt what they thought they felt. We've all danced tandas where we're suffering along wishing we could hold The Financial Times behind the other person's head or something, anything, and the other person is shining at us with gooey eyes and telling us we're magical beings. We try to stifle our yawns, because we know that if it's happening to us, we have probably caused the exact same reaction in other people at some point in the past (or present) and they're too polite to mention it. “I feel so bad for the professionals,” someone said to me. “They have to dance with us, and someone will be having an out-of-body experience and then you'll see the look on the professional's face and it's like, 'just shoot me now.'” So...is it really happening or is it all in your head? We'll never know, and that uncertainty is why dancing is flirtation. Even if you, gasp, put your hand on someone's neck—which you should really save only for extreme situations when it's impossible not to, and even then you should only do it a tiny fraction of the amount you may want to—it's still a dance, and a dance, like a meaningful look or a thrilling pause, means less than nothing in a court of law.

Still, once we've moved past the thrilling uncertainty of flirtation into the thrilling certainty of seduction, tango can be just as wonderful. More. Someone once said “tango can be like having sex with your whole body,” (ok, that someone was I). Consider that the next logical progression from throwing your kisses.

Physical ventriloquism also makes the expression of very intense things a little more manageable. Provided you're dancing with someone over the age of twelve, they bring all their emotional history to that teeny sacada (or whatever), and that probably includes heartbreak, universally considered to be just about the worst feeling you can possibly experience. I remember once waking up the day after someone had dumped me. “Hmm. I feel intense pain,” I thought, groggily. I marched off to the bathroom and took two Advil. Then I remembered what kind of pain I was feeling and realized that Advil wouldn't help.

Tango is a dance for people who have learned that Advil doesn't help. So that itty-bitty sacada (or whatever) takes great big huge courage. I love it. I love it even more than I love a big flashy leg wrap or other things that speak of the desire to ravish one another against the nearest hard surface. If you really want me to listen, whisper to me. It's the things we whisper that I love hearing the best.

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