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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Making an Honest Woman

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then. ~ Katherine Hepburn


At a recent milonga, I danced with someone that I see on rare occasion. Each time we dance, the only topic he consistently makes small talk about is the status of my boyfriend. How is he doing, is he still around, etc. Aside from my grandmother, who is the only other person I could regularly count on to inquire about my marital status (although she stopped that years ago), I am just not used to people wondering about when I'm going to get married.

I am going to chalk this strange fixation on discussing the well-being and intentions of my boyfriend as a slight difficulty in making casual conversation. The moments between songs can seem long and one might feel some pressure to make light banter. And since I am sure I have said plenty of lame things at dances and in life in general, I am not going to sweat it.

This time the guy commented on a ring I was wearing and asked if my boyfriend was going to make an "honest woman" out of me soon. Inside, I had to laugh.

Right now, if there's any one person who can rein me in, who can talk me down off the ledge, who can comfort and help me, it's The Boy, and having a ring wouldn't make a whit of difference.


I used to have a ring.

The truth is that I became an honest woman in the moment that I took that ring off my finger. Having put it on in the first place, although well-intentioned, was when I was dishonest.

I think some people are not cut out to be married. I happen to be one of those people.

Took me years to figure that one out.


I get the feeling from some dance partners that if I am not single, then I should be dancing with a regular partner or not at all. Or that if I was serious about tango, then I should be involved someone who dances. I've had some people tell me as much.

But since I don't equate tango with coupledom and/or conjugal bliss, this advice falls on deaf ears. And since the people who offer it to me unsolicited don't know the first thing about me and who I am off the dance floor, I have to ignore it.

There is so much more to having a true friend, a lover, a trusted companion than being compatible on the dance floor. I realize that more all the time.


The other night, The Boy and I got dressed up and went to see Herb Alpert at the beautiful jazz club, Yoshi's. Located in the Fillmore, the historic former home of jazz in San Francisco, we listened to a world-class trumpeter and his band play a polished and classy two hours of music.

Although known for his trumpet playing, back in the day Alpert sang a hit love song called "This Guy's In Love With You" (penned by Burt Bacharach). Alpert didn't sing this tune at the show, but The Boy belted it out in his smooth baritone on the way home in the car, and even though he didn't know all of the lyrics, it was the best part of the night.

To me, moments like this are worth a million diamond rings and make me the most honest woman in the world.


Red Shoes May 26, 2008 at 8:39 AM  

If I didn't know that gentleman (or perhaps expressly because I do) I'd say he's merely bumbling at expressing a hopeless sort of hope that you'll become single and fall in love with him.

Understandable...your Boy is a lucky fella.

It is absurd how those tango-obsessed souls we were chatting about yesterday extend their obsession to their off-the-floor partners as well. A shared passion in a relationship is a beautiful thing, but it needn't necessarily be tango. Multi-dimensional people are so much more interesting...

Anonymous May 26, 2008 at 9:32 AM  

Thank you for that TB. As someone in a long-term relationship with a "non-dancer", I get this all the time. "How is it even possible???" is the most common reaction. I've posted on this a couple of times :-)

And I sent the video to MY sweetie :-)

Vanessa May 26, 2008 at 10:11 AM  

Aww. I do so like that song! "When you smile I can tell we know each other very well..." (OK, much better actually sung than written down, I realize...) The trumpets, they make me weak.

Relyn Lawson May 26, 2008 at 10:17 AM  

I think Red Shoes is right. That was my first thought, too, when I read this. That he was checking out your singleness. Then, when he was disappointed again, he had to fumble around to cover it up.

What else can I say about The Boy? Lucky you! Lucky him!

Happy weekend.

ModernTanguera May 26, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

"There is so much more to having a true friend, a lover, a trusted companion than being compatible on the dance floor. I realize that more all the time."

This is so true. True for people with dancing partners as well as non-dancing partners. It's funny how many comments I get about "loaning him out" to other tangueras - as if I were (or wanted to be) in control of when and with whom he danced! Our relationship doesn't happen on the floor. :)

I, too, learned a lot about how to be honest and be myself when I took a ring off my finger. Here's to being honest women - and finding men who appreciate us for it!

studio wellspring May 27, 2008 at 9:26 AM  

yours is the most delightful & honorable honesty! you've made my foolish lonely heart want to believe in true love and knights on white horses all over again....

tangobaby May 27, 2008 at 2:33 PM  

Dear Red Shoes,

I don't think that's it, but thank you all the same.

However, I would think that if someone wanted me to fall in love with them, they wouldn't be bringing up in conversation the man that tucks me in at night.

And speaking of multi-dimensional...you just blow me away. You are so accomplished and talented AND a beautiful dancer. Wow. Mr. Red Shoes is very lucky, too.

Hi Johanna,

I know, and reading your blog about this very topic has made me feel like I wasn't the only one. Your writing really helped me a lot.

I'm glad you sent the video to your sweetie. Isn't it lovely? And you get the Carpenters, too.


Hi Vanessa,

I agree with you entirely about the song. And even the trumpet. I went to this show without any real feeling about trumpet players, and this guy is really the tops. If you can ever see him live, it's so worth it.

Hi Relyn,

Nah, I think it was one of those goofy moments. It would be different if it was someone who actually knew The Boy, but it just seems odd to ask someone about another person they've never met.

Dear moderntanguera,

I love your comment here. "Loaning him out" indeed! What is with that?

There's a flip side to "loaning people out." I used to have several nice dance partners that I danced with regularly. Eventually they all got girlfriends/partners and then none of them were "allowed" to dance with me (or others) anymore.

I have a real issue with being primarily identified through my relationships to whomeever is tucking me in to bed at night. I don't want to be the girl who tangos who has a boyfriend who doesn't. I just want to be me.

I also had a really hard time saying I was someone's wife. It just sounded like I wasn't myself.

Hi Ms. Wellspring,

I can't say I'm an expert on true love, but having someone who can read your mind once in a while, who can make you laugh and who is full of fun and intelligence is a damn good start. And probably all I need.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan May 27, 2008 at 7:19 PM  

"I think some people are not cut out to be married. I happen to be one of those people."
Your honesty is refreshing. It's amazing how people can think they know what's best for you without really knowing you.
I think you're right about the guy trying to find something to talk about in awkward moments.

FogBay May 27, 2008 at 9:50 PM  

Hey we were at Yoshi's on Saturday night too, celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday. We didn't go to the show but they pipe in the music into the restaurant so we heard it.

Afterwards we saw the of folks coming out of the show while we were waiting for the car at the valet stand, so if some stupid jerk blocked your exit from the club, that was probably me.

Anonymous May 27, 2008 at 11:45 PM  

Oh, you are wonderful! If only everyone could know themselves so well! x

tangobaby May 28, 2008 at 9:09 AM  

Hi TheElementary,

I agree. It's hard enough for me to cut out the fluff and distractions of the world around me to figure out what I really think about things, let alone have others assume for me what is best.

This honesty is hard-won, though. I would have liked to think that I would have done things differently years ago, but the truth is that I would not have realized some very important things about myself without doing exactly what I did. One can regret the sadness but not the lessons.

Hi FogBay!

I missed you. Welcome back. ;-)

I can't believe we were so close and yet so far! I could have been standing right next to you. I have to say it would have been awesome to meet you but I think the only way I would have recognized you is if you had brought your beautiful dog with you. But I don't think Yoshi's would like that.

I took some cool photos of the sushi bar from the stairwell the last time I was there (secretly). I'll send you a photo of the giant fish heads on ice. I hope your dinner was great...did you enjoy the music?

Hi Christie,

I think this is an ongoing process. Sometimes I backslide, sometimes I bury my head in the sand, but eventually I make some progress. I wish it was easier to know things just empirically rather than through the school of hard knocks, but maybe the lessons learned don't stick as well if they come too easily.

Make some good food! I am missing your food porn.


Alessandra Cave May 28, 2008 at 5:04 PM  

R & I love Jazz too! And what is up with all the silliness about being an honest woman? The Boy is lucky and sounds like The Girl is too. That's all that matters...

tangobaby May 28, 2008 at 5:24 PM  

Hola Gypsy Girl,

Perhaps we have a jazz date in our future, then? To celebrate something, everything?


AlexTangoFuego May 29, 2008 at 3:21 AM  

Touching post...

I'm one of those people too, does not think I am cut out for married life. It's sad that it took me 25 years of being married to figure it out.

I do however, hope that there is a woman in my future who I can sing to, (and tuck in at night) and that she will love me even though my singing voice may be painful to hear.

Red Shoes May 29, 2008 at 8:57 AM  

TB, I didn't say he was going about it with class and grace! Just that he might be wishing, and with good cause...

Also: you are too kind, you charmer, you.

I'm not cut out for any traditional version of marriage, either. Lucky for me, my #1 isn't traditional at all...I'd fail otherwise. But there needn't be shame in it, darlings. We are all treasures because we're all different, and different things make us glow...

tangobaby May 29, 2008 at 9:57 AM  

Dear Alex,

I have no doubt that there is a lady like that in your future. No doubt about that at all. And she might like your singing too.

Maybe you should come out here and try your luck? ;-)

Hi Red Shoes,

I think you and Mr. Red Shoes are an adorable couple in whatever form your coupledom takes.

You're right, knowing what your comfort level is and honoring that is how you make these things work. I'm glad for you and Mr. Red Shoes!


Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 3:28 PM  

Wow, TangoBaby, I'm sorry that guy has been so rude to you.

Actually, my first reaction was the same as Red Shoes. But since that's not it, it sounds like he has a low emotional intelligence & just doesn't understand what's appropriate to talk about & what's rude.

My Mom sounds just like your Grandmother! There should be a support group for parents/grandparents of children still not and/or never-to-be married. They can complain to each other (not us) about "still being single." I'll marry one day, but at my pace, not my dear Mother's.

tangobaby May 30, 2008 at 5:02 PM  

Hi Mark,

I didn't take it as rude, just odd. But I'm sure I've said pretty silly things all my life, so I can't blame him.

It more made me laugh inside than anything else.

The good news is that no one in my family asks me about when I'm getting married or having kids anymore. That is a relief!

I hope your mom lightens up, too. I'm sure you're a wonderful catch and when the right person comes along, she'll be glad you waited!