Guilty Pleasures

Maybe the whole excitement of Argentine tango is just one big guilt trip? To outsiders, our milonga looks like a Gilded Palace Of Sin. It’s mostly about dancing, I say to my colleagues. Yeah right, they respond smirking. I was considering all this, when looking at a picture sent to me by Marta Kossakowska, my favourite photographer. It was taken at our milonga and shows an intriguingly erotic backside of a woman, with a hand resting on it: a classic Kossakowska. I recognized that back immediately. I remembered admiring it many times, in real life. And this time, I felt a tinge of guilt and a reddening of my face. Me, a seasoned milonguero. I realized I longed for that hand to be mine, which caused feelings that my conscience informed me, I was not supposed to feel.

I know the difference between a Freudian Slip and an Overturned Ocho, so I tend to analyse stuff like this. Clearly it is not appropriate for the host of a milonga to be lusting after his guests? And, related to that, is an old guy like me even supposed to dance with young women? Surely not. And what about the Italian woman I sometimes dream about, who shattered my confidence in those d’Arienzo tandas… was that love? And why did I sound like a teenager when I talked to her? No fool like an old fool, you know…  and so on. I remembered the times I strayed in my marriage, and was forgiven, and then, I felt guilty about that.  Okay, maybe I tend to over-analyse sometimes.

Currently, science declares that feelings of guilt present evolutionary advantages, so it is all for the best, I guess! Considering the milonga’s location in Amsterdam, repressing such feelings with rules and regulations is not a viable way forward. We live in a cesspool of debauchery as everybody knows. No, we have to rely on the individual dancers suppressing or, alternatively, sublimating unacceptable erotic attractions in this town. Damn, maybe I have been suppressing, where I should have been sublimating! I made a note to myself, to cut down on my close embrace dancing for a while and increase my dose of open-embrace style tango, until I have thoroughly sublimated any remaining guilt into solid tango.

Analysing a bit further I told myself, it may all have been a phase I was going through? Was my ego looking for confirmation, that I am still a man, behind that brotherly and fatherly facade of the milonga host? I should inquire into this. After all, this is not the only sexy dress in the milonga. Meanwhile, my marketeering instincts kicked in. If tango is like the Forbidden Fruit… how can the milonga exploit this better? Remember, we already put free chocolate on the bar, and for a good reason…Then, I saw clearly that we should not be promoting the milonga’s guilty pleasures, but instead, instill feelings of guilt about not going to the milonga; like a local shop, making you feel guilty about going to the supermarket? I reveled in the idea for a while until, you guessed it, I felt guilty about even considering it.

Genre: Essays & Opinions

Story posted by: Martin van Kesteren

About the author: Event Organiser, Writer from Amsterdam

Published: 27 Jan 2020 @ 10:12

Last modified: 4 Feb 2020 @ 11:06

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