The Threepenny Tango – Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America
As I stepped off the plane at Ezeiza Airport, the imaginary riffs of the bandoneon drifted through my mind engulfing it with images of sweaty and sultry bodies rubbing against each other in synchronized breaths of movement that is the Argentine tango. Legendary to many passion driven minds, the tango is the epitome of beautifully unreleased sexual tension that seems to linger wickedly in all thoughts of Buenos Aires.
I flew ten turbulent hours in search of this purest form of physical pleasure. Within a day I found myself entwined in a postcard perfect tango position with a beautiful and dark porteño, Buenos Aires native. We were locked in our celibate embrace under the noonday sun near the Caminito off the waterfront of La Boca, an area famous for its colorful metal covered buildings, aspiring artists, open air artisans markets, and oddly enough, the resident soccer team, the Boca Juniors.
Originally settled by Genoese immigrants in the late 19th century as a district of warehouses and meatpacking plants, La Boca is also known as the birthplace of tango. It is a vibrant, bold and somewhat touristy quarter, a place that remains ubiquitously recognizable, yet still charming.
Even the intriguing surroundings could not distract me from my current blissful repose in the arms of a handsome man. To wake me from my reverie, I realized this delicious man was prompting me with polite taps under the blade of my shoulder to move in various directions. The music ensued, I was gently shifted to the left and right and back again. For a moment, I was a happy somnambulist twirling through the enchanting landscape of Buenos Aires. As we twisted our legs according to the jagged rhythms of the bandoneon, my dance partner whispered seductively into my ear, “This dance will soon end…”
I looked into his eyes eagerly awaiting the tingling words to follow, I became increasingly breathless as the music began to crescendo. Then I noticed that his expression was a few degrees less longing than mine. It showed a slight hesitation. In the decadent world of tango, there is no time for languishing thoughts. As I returned from a decently graceful dip, he leaned in again and started to whisper in my ears.
“Miss, this dance will soon end. It was good time, no? I hope you will give me and musicians good pesos. You understand?”
Although I was still smiling, I could not help but feel like the nearby Rio de la Plata had just frozen over and all the colors of the barrio had drained inelegantly into the now icy river.
Then I remembered the origins of the tango as a form of respite for the lonely European male immigrants who came alone to the New World to seek a fortune. They initially danced with each other and graduated to dancing the tango with prostitutes, once prostitution was established. There is nothing shameful about the origins of tango – it was an art form born of necessity and longing. It was not the same tango that I watched my parents dance countless times with flowing skirts and neatly combed hair.
The original tango was raw, un-choreographed, clearly an exchange of companionship for companionship and money for the thrill of arousing yet unconsummated sex. With that thought in mind, I gave my mercenary tanguista a wink and said, “claro, but first another dip?”