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Say Anything

Someone once compared tango to a knife fight. And it does have that constant circling challenge in it, or at least it should—and if it doesn't, I get bored and leave. Dash, thrust, parry, flick, stab. That, eh? Oh yeah? Well, how about...this? I'll meet your that and raise you a those!

The more we've been hurt and the more tired we are of being hurt, the more we love our own company. And the more we love our own company, the more authentic we are as partners. Because we've been there. We've done that. We are through trying to “be someone” just so we can get or hang on to someone else, even if they are so wonderful we're just kicking ourselves that they want to be with us. When we stop caring what other people think—even very wonderful people—we can be the tangueros we owe to everyone else: we can be ourselves.

When we dance as ourselves, we put personal honesty first. This is my step. If you don't like it, you can leave. This is how you make me feel. If that scares you, fine, good-bye. This is what I'm giving you, yes, even this.

I'm always saying that to truly belong to ourselves we need to let ourselves belong to other people. The reverse is also true. How this can play out in real life can feel like a real knife fight, constant challenges, as we reveal part after part of ourself that we know is not designed to lure potential mates. You still loved that? Well, what about this? Really, you're still around? How about this? Truth after truth, slowly building a portrait of a whole person, and not just one coquettish little flick of the heel.

The great benefit of having a tired adult heart is that we skip the exhausting nonsense of youth. If we have to play games to be with someone, we don't want to be with them. If we have to make something work, it's not going to work. If we have to put on a persona to dance with someone, or if we have to make an effort to dance the way they like us to dance, then it's not us they want to be with anyway, it's someone else, and it won't work. By now, we are fine with sitting out tandas. We come for the party. There's no point to a tanda with three people in it: you, the other person, and the person you're trying to be to make them happy.

So go with your core. Lead your motion with the crux of what makes you you. Anything false is a waste of time and an offence to the other person. And when they are equally straight with you...what wonderful conversations you can have....