The Salsa Gigolo Boludohood.

29 Jun

The following references are from:

by John Treadwell Nichols ».

This book, set in the ’60s, is about a bunch of Argentine-Americans and a gringo, who like to hang out at an empanada stand in Greenwich Village.

Chapter 25: An Impromptu Diatribe, Page 88:
“”That empanada stand is a silly place,” Cathy said to me. “It’s a club for little boys to hang out in who don’t want to grow up. The men in my country are all like that. The fat man who owns the joint is a child. And that friend of yours, ‘Carlos the Artist,’ is a goofy numskull. Who does he think he is, Cantinflas? If you spend too much time there with those infants you’ll turn into an adolescent basket case yourself, a real boludo. You’ll even begin to look like an empanada. And one day you’ll just be standing on the sidewalk minding your own business when somebody will walk up behind you and shake half a bottle of Tabasco sauce onto your head.”” …

Chapter 25: An Impromptu Diatribe, Page 88

The empanada stand could be a metaphor for anything in a salsa gigolo’s life that consumes a lot of his time, so it’s pretty obvious what the main one is. In addition to this main empanada stand, a salsa gigolo often has other empanada stands on the side, and his day is spent hanging-out at these various empanada stands. That’s what a salsa gigolo lives for: empanadas. The quickest way to a salsa gigolo’s heart, is through empanadas. And boludos » of a feather, flock together.

Chapter 33: Duende, Page 113:
“Aurelio Porta told me that Cathy Escudero had duende. “It’s not something you can teach a person,” he whispered into my ear at the dance studio. “You have to be born with it. And this girl is brimming over with duende. She’s not conscious of it herself, she is so busy concentrating on the technical aspects of her craft. But the way she moves is like a gitana from Spain a thousand years old in her gypsy culture. She is like a ravishing murderess who loves to lick the blood off the knife afterwards. That is the magic of her art.” …

Chapter 33: Duende, Page 113

At the main empanada stand, salsa gigolos will sometimes talk about salseras. Who we danced with, who we haven’t danced with, who the other should dance with, and so on. Every now and then, I come across a salsera with duende », and sadly, I have learned not to be too quick to recommend her to my fellow salsa gigolos. If she sticks around long enough, her duende will slowly fade and perhaps extinguish. She will have forsaken what she came with, and will have learned to dance like everyone else. Her wildness will be tamed. Her natural resource, plundered. Duende may not be something you can teach a person, but it is certainly something that can be lost in a person. To all the salsa gigolos who love to teach on the dancefloor or elsewhere, I say, fine, go ahead, but leave a salsera’s duende alone.

Chapter 35: See You Later, Alligator, Pages 118-119:
… “The cook laughed. “When I was young I used to stay up all night with my pals playing billiards or chasing women at the milongas …””

Chapter 35: See You Later, Alligator, Pages 118-119

I should learn to heed my own advice, for I too, have felt myself draining the duende from a salsera, but in a different way. If, afterwards, a salsera continues to dance, I know I have not taken too much. If she stops dancing, I feel regret, for I have probably taken too much. Relationship salsera can be especially tricky, because in this case, a salsa gigolo necessarily needs to risk taking too much. Maybe this is why I like to dance with beginners so much. New salseras, bring new energy, new untapped reserves of duende to exploit. Mmmm, fresh duende. I am such a boludo.


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