In a recent post, I was discussing how skewed is the view that people have about Tango before they start discovering it. Most people think of Tango in stereotypes and believe it is a place to either hook up or do crazy acrobatics. For people who are into Tango and started discovering what it offers, they realize it has nothing to do with all that.
A common misconception as already mentioned is that people who dance Tango, do so because they are trying to find a love partner. Even worse some men might think it’s a nice opportunity to hook up with lots of women and spice up their sex life. I already wrote that these misconceptions often lead to getting disappointed and quitting. In worse cases, they end up with men misbehaving in milongas thinking this is the right context for sexually harassing or attacking women.
The question that started it all
In her latest tango banter podcast, Yelizaveta invited me to banter together. One of the questions she asked me was if I would advise a 20-year-old man to come to Tango to find access to girls. My answer was that if you look for something temporary and ephemeral then you can get easier access if you go to a bar. I also added that Tango can give you so much more than just access to girls. Tango can help you transform into a better man for any relationship, inside or outside of Tango so it is very unfair to look at it only from the shallow view of access to women and sex.
The question seemed to trigger a new quest in my mind. How exactly is Tango helping men become better partners in life? What does it do to them and why? What is this “so much more” that Tango has to offer you? A few hours after our discussion Yelizaveta sent me a short video from Trevor Noah discussing how men in today’s society lack intimacy and this is often portrayed wrongly as men lacking sex. What he says is that men in today’s society are afraid to appear vulnerable, express openly and honestly what they feel, and ask for help and affection when they need it. Today’s stereotypes force them to ignore and hide their need for intimacy and emotional connection with other people and even more so with women.
Sex workers and the Tango embrace
In the same video, Trevor brings up as an example that many sex workers have reported men hiring them just to have a conversation. They pay them just for sitting down and having a chat with a person. This shows the need for men to open up and express their emotions to someone without being afraid to be judged, mocked, etc. It is a need that we all have as human beings but since women are considered often more sensitive can do that much easier without facing the same judgement and criticism.
I believe that Tango dancing can offer men a unique opportunity to find an outlet for this need. Tango can act as our way of releasing all this tension we have and finding this intimacy we are looking for. Why? Because of the embrace. The embrace of a woman on a man who is opening up and expressing his emotions can have the same effect that talking to sex workers has. The embrace can tell him, that it’s ok to be hurt, it’s ok to feel bad, betrayed, weak, etc. It is providing this same safe space for this intimacy that we all need.
Come to Tango to trust the embrace
A few weeks ago, I wrote that it is difficult to find our own Tango because we need to rediscover and embrace our dark emotions…. the ones we learn to hide. I believe the embrace as a gesture in general has this magic ability to relieve us. It somehow tells you… “It’s ok… Here you are safe… You can be you without being afraid of getting hurt”. When you find such an embrace in your life you don’t want to let it go away. But this trust in the embrace and in the person who embraces you doesn’t come easily. Men can find it difficult to open up even when they find such an embrace. That is where Tango comes in. It can teach us to trust such embraces and not be afraid to show our own whole selves.
I was lucky to have found my own comforting affectionate embrace before I got into Tango. I was already beginning to trust the power of the embrace. Tango just made me see it even more clearly. So coming back to the initial question. Would I advise someone to come to Tango to find girls and ephemeral relationships? No! I would tell them to come to Tango to discover the power of the embrace. Come to Tango to learn how to open up under an embrace. Come to Tango to prepare yourself so that you can open up more easily when you finally find this one embrace that cares for you.
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango
I think Tonight’s Goodnight Tango is the best description of the whole post in a song. It demonstrates exactly the effect that a loving embrace can have on men. The title is translated as “My life in your hands” and it is about a man who found the hands that embraced him and healed his wounds.
So how about you? Do you feel safe and free to open up in your partner’s hands? Have you found the loving and caring embrace that can heal your wounds? Is your embrace accepting the opening up of other people? Is it a safe place for your partners? Let me know with a comment below, an email, or a PM on Facebook… oh… and if you liked it… don’t forget to share it with your friends.