Salsa Takes Two.

10 May

The following references are from:

by Patrizia Chen ».

A society woman leaves her sexless marriage in New York and finds passion in Buenos Aires, in the arms of a tango gigolo.

Chapter Boleo (A Whip), Page 28:
“… The detached look I had seen on Luis’s face earlier has vanished. He dances gloriously.
I can’t keep my eyes off them. I envy the way her body answers his requests — like a conversation in which he controls the dialogue but she has the privilege of responding.
I’m watching an incredible exchange. Is it sexual? Certainly it’s almost disturbingly sensual. Slowly, a longing begins to creep in, grabbing me, knotting my stomach. I’ve never experienced such a reaction to a social dance. Salsa, swing, waltz: I ticked off the various dances I know. But nothing has ever involved me at this powerful, intimate level. …”

Chapter Boleo (A Whip), Page 28

One of the few mentions of salsa in this book. Control, privilege, sexual, sensual. Salsa is like this, at least the way I like it, and I seek out salseras who give me the privilege of dancing it like this. Dancing with relationship salsera, though, can change one’s perspective. It makes a salsa gigolo question what he wants, or even needs, from other salseras.

Chapter Sacada (A Displacement), Pages 74-75:
“… “Tell me, does this happen to a lot of women when they come here? Is this a place for love affairs?”
“Well, a lot of single women often come to Argentina to enjoy a fling, a flirt with fantasy. There are people who never experience such freedom. They live their tidy lives in their own countries with their neighbors, families, social ties. When they land here they are freed of all that baggage and they suddenly open themselves to new experiences. I see it happening all the time.” …”

Chapter Sacada (A Displacement), Pages 74-75

I’ve previously mused that a salsa gigolo’s journey of learning salsa, is a journey of learning to become a man, but perhaps more accurately, it is a journey of learning to become a new man. A salsera too, when she is learning to dance, is learning to become a new woman.

With familiarity, salsa can become a tidy part of one’s life, reliable, predictable. Change from one’s routine can be disruptive, but also exciting, refreshing. Salsa has a way of reminding one that life is like a carnival », sometimes messy.

Chapter Barrida (A Sweep), Pages 84-85:
“… At first I made an effort to use all that I’ve been learning — steps, posture, embellishments — but then I remembered what Luis had said: listen to your partner, feel him, follow his lead, don’t anticipate; the single most useful secrets of tango. It’s interesting how an independent woman can be conquered by the quite medieval idea of being silent and obedient to a man’s will. I’m surprised to realize that I enjoy it. It makes me feel frail, vulnerable, feminine. El abrazo, the close embrace. That’s what it’s called, and it feels just right. I took refuge in Roberto’s arms, as if he belonged to me and I belonged to him. I nestled against his chest, closed my eyes, and listened to his heartbeat, his body. My cheeks against his, the slight rasping of his growing beard, his lips brushing my hair. …”

Chapter Barrida (A Sweep), Pages 84-85

Conquered, silent, obedient, frail, vulnerable, feminine. It is interesting when a salsera enjoys her submission to me. It is more interesting to consider why she enjoys her submission, and why I enjoy my dominance. So much of what happens on the dancefloor is transferable to off the dancefloor, and those qualities that make one desireable on the dancefloor also make one desireable off the dancefloor. I should learn more about D&s ».

Chapter Llevada (A Lift), Page 156:
“… Luis had experienced his fair share of women. After all, it was what was expected from him at home and in the tango community.
“You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve been asked to do
charity fucking. Well, I won’t do it anymore,” Luis frowns, biting his hands. “Those days are over.” His eyes stare into the distance. …”

Chapter Llevada (A Lift), Page 156

“Those days are over.” I wonder if I’ll ever say those words, as a salsa gigolo. An anonymous salsera, who sometimes reads this blog, once asked me, “I have a question for you – do you think it’s ever possible for you to have a stable relationship and be a salsa gigolo? Or would you always need to have lots at the same time?” My response at the time was, “For me, yes. In a stable relationship, I would want to dance all my dances with my partner, and if she didn’t want to dance, I would quit salsa, altogether. But then again, I’ve never been in a stable relationship — too much fun having lots at the same time :).” Maybe, those days have changed.

About the book: Overall, this book seems to just scratch the surface of tango culture, like an outsider looking in. There is a very subtle theme of dominance, submission and control in this book, almost too subtle to notice. I wish the author had developed her characters and story more around this theme. This book is ok as a light read, but I’m still waiting for my tango reading bliss, a tango equivalent to Mambo Peligroso ».
Salsa Gigolometer 120

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