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Trevor Stone's Journal
Those who can, do. The rest hyperlink.
It Takes One To Write About Tango 
19th-Oct-2003 12:46 am
tell tale heart
I ache for the touch of your lips, Dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, Dear.
You can raise welts like nobody else,
As we dance to the Masochism Tango.

Let our love be a flame, not an ember,
Say it's me that you want to dismember.
Blacken my eye, set fire to my tie,
As we dance to the Masochism Tango.

At your command, before you here I stand,
My heart is in my hand. Ecch!
It's here that I must be.
My heart entreats,
Just hear those savage beats,
And go put on your cleats
And come and trample me.
Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany,
That's why I'm in such exquisite agony.

My soul is on fire,
It's aflame with desire,
Which is why I perspire
When we tango.

You caught my nose
In your left castanet, Love,
I can feel the pain yet, Love,
Every time I hear drums.
And I envy the rose
That you held in your teeth, Love,
With the thorns underneath, Love,
Sticking into your gums.

Your eyes cast a spell that bewitches.
The last time I needed twenty stitches
To sew up the gash that you made with your lash,
As we danced to the Masochism Tango.

Bash in my brain,
And make me scream with pain,
Then kick me once again,
And say we'll never part.
I know too well I'm underneath your spell,
So, Darling, if you smell
Something burning, it's my heart.
Excuse me!

Take your cigarette from its holder,
And burn your initials in my shoulder.
Fracture my spine, and swear that you're mine,
As we dance to the Masochism Tango.

-- Tom Lehrer, "The Masochism Tango"
yukimi 44%
katzchen 39%
glurble 39%
shara 38%
akkhima 27%
whiskeydick 17%
darkisawa 14%
dilemma 7%
haikazu 4%
alacrity 4%
hattrickflyer 3%
How sexually compatible with me are you?
Take the NEW sexual compatibility quiz at LJMatch!

And for some reason, that doesn't include mirumototsubasa, even though she took the test before me and appears on my general compatibility test. For the record, it's 37%, I think.

This offers me an opportunity to talk about Tango. The CU Tango Club meets on Friday nights; I've been to most of them. It's been an interesting experience.

Tango is a walk. If you can walk, you can Tango. If you can walk close to someone without tripping, you can Tango acceptably. If you can walk on a beat, you can Tango well.

There are two parts in Tango. (The dance. There are more than two parts in the music, which is also Tango. One can also tango to a Waltz, among other things.)

One part is the Leader. He, for this is the Masculine part, gets to walk forward. He gets to decide which feet will move when and how far. Through subtle movements in His Masculine Chest, he indicates when and how much to turn. He also gets to keep his eyes open and make sure he doesn't run his dance partner into another person... or the wall.

The other part is the Follower. She, for this is the Feminine part, gets to walk backward. She gets to use Her Feminine Presence pick up on His Chest's subtle signals and move accordingly, so that His legs don't trip over Hers. With a good Partner, She gets to close her eyes and enter a trance; She moves without conscious thought, in a Zen-like state of pure reaction.

As a Taoist, a Pagan, and a Computer Scientist, I love symbolic dualism. I love the Cosmic Dance; I love the balance of Yin and Yang, God and Goddess, 1 and 0. But as a proper liberal 21st-Century student, I also support Gender Rights and all that. I'm anything but the Stereotypical Guy. I'm more submissive than dominant; my chest is impressive for its hairiness, but is not particularly muscular; I don't wear skirts because they're inconvenient for thinks like bicycling, not because Guys Aren't Supposed To Wear Skirts. So what am I doing learning a dance that plays on sexual stereotypes?

First, there's nothing in Tango in the U.S. in the 21st Century that says guys can't be Followers and girls can't be Leaders. And we've done a few exercises where we played both roles. But pretty much all the time, the Guys are the Leaders and the Girls are the Followers. (Our meetings have been remarkably gender balanced; at most two extra of one gender... in a group of up to 70.) And since we play that role all the time, switching is tough, because we don't have practice. (I did play Leader with a guy last night. He said something like "This is tough. My homophobia is kicking in." It was kind of cute.)

One answer to the dilemma is that Tango is about playing gender stereotypes. Someone might normally be an Effeminate Follower most of the time, and he can play at being a Masculine Leader on the dance floor. In a similar way, the weakest and least coordinated geek on the planet can sit down at a table and pretend he's got an 18 Strength, 14 Dex, 16 Con, and a Sword of Demonslaying +3. (Of course, his Dwarf still has a 7 Charisma...)

There's another, more practical, reason why Men are the Leaders. They're usually taller, so they can see where they're going. And that's always a plus.

Playing the Strong, Firm-Chested, Leader Guy is a bit of a challenge for me, though it gives me a chance to wear a snazzy shirt and a top hat. Also a challenge is dancing with steps. Left to my own devices, I typically glide across the floor (or around the fire) in whatever direction seems natural, moving my body in ways that sometimes surprise even me. It's about spontaneously expressing my reaction to the music, not about being close to a girl or impressing anyone with my good footwork. One thing I like about Tango is its emphasis on improvisation. The dancers have a set of walking patterns at their disposal, and the Leader selects among them as the dance goes on.

As I've walked to the bus from the last few meetings, I've felt the flowing feeling I've described before. It's sort of a mix between in-love-with-the-world (or with Tao, perhaps) and in-love-with-a-person-but-nobody-in-particular. At the same time it's a wonderful and frustrating feeling. On the one hand, it's like walking in a trancy Tango glide across the sidewalk. On the other, it's a desire that I had someone with whom I could practice Tango regularly. With whom I could build a relationship where neither was always the Leader or Follower, but with a subtle sign we would switch; the Leader would shift and move backward, guided by the Follower. He becoming She and She becoming He; Two becoming One; the Tao flowing ever on.
19th-Oct-2003 01:28 pm (UTC) - interesting...
That test was fun. However, I apperantly have a 28% sexual compatability with myself. Now that explains some things....
19th-Oct-2003 05:23 pm (UTC)
During the swing craze at New Vista, I was always the Leader and danced with one of the girls, first of all because it gave me ample excuse to wear my fabulous pinstripe pants with suspenders, a men's tailored shirt and a fedora (ALWAYS a good reason to do anything, I feel) but also because while I could handily lift any of the girls over my head, swing them from hip to hip and rest them on my shoulder, none of the guys could do the same to me. (Amusingly, most of the guys couldn't seem to get the girls off the ground... Silly men.) So that settled that. And I had NO problem with it. It meant I got to wrap my arms around a whole bunch of ladies' waists AND dress snazzy while I was doing it. This didn't seem like a bad thing.

I felt kind of like Marlene Dietrich. Only bigger. ;) There is something very appealing, I think, to people taking on the opposite gender role. We have long known the attractive qualities of a woman in men's clothes (c.f. aforementioned Marlene) but I think to the openminded, there is something equally appealing to a man taking on a female role without doing so derogatorally. (c.f. Hedwig.) It is really attractive to me.

So the next time we head out and you aren't gonna be on your bike, I should loan you a Skirt Guys Shouldn't Wear. *grin*
19th-Oct-2003 09:14 pm (UTC) - you seem like one interesting kid...
trevor.... this is random, well mostly anyway. i just joined the PSA and i stole your LJ name off your e-mail. just thought i'd drop you a line to let you know that you have been randomly added to my friends list now.... you seem odd enough to fit in with the friends already there!
19th-Oct-2003 10:03 pm (UTC) - Re: you seem like one interesting kid...
Howdy. I know your name, but am failing to place your face.

I see you're from Elizabeth, eh? One of my circle mates is from there. Hernandez. Welcome to the friends page, source of insight, drama, and quizzes galore. (Well, one of three from me, anyway.)
8th-Nov-2003 10:00 am (UTC)
I enjoyed tango dancing, and you poetically expressed some of the finer points I experienced too.. I was unfortunatley sick and had some Fridays stolen from me, so I stopped going to the Tango class. Now I wish I hadn't. :/
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