I’m not a proper geek (I don’t code), but I’m fascinated by problem solving, and elegant solutions. And I like geeks. Smart is very sexy to me, as is enjoying the act of work.
Geekwork is delightful beause we solve problems by SYSTEMS-THINKING. There’s pleasure in learning and wielding a system, a logical structure. And it’s fascinating when we are dealing with overlapping systems whose logic in combination we have to sort out. The puzzle takes us to flow.
FLOW is a psychological state in which confidence and challenge are balanced just right – too little of either and you don’t get there. Flow is not some kind of hippy flowing along, or going with the flow. It is active, focused, work. We feel purposeful, effective, and engaged. There’s so much pleasure and satisfaction in this that we may lose track of other aspects of life – like the sense of time, or being hungry.
I dance Argentine Tango, which is so precise, serious, and technical that it compels dancers to flow. It’s not like other dances which are mostly about “hitting the beat”. Tango dance doesn’t have a musical structure, which means it can be applied to any music. Tango is just a movement language. There’s a vocabulary of 24 elements. Each element has permutations on a 6×6 array. And each permutation can be tweaked dynamically with range variables (speed, intensity, trajectory). Every leader improvises from his growing mastery of this language to express the music the way he hears it. So every leader dances differently.
The follower is the front-end. The movements of her body make visible the clever back-end design. For her, it’s delightful to experience the leader’s expression of the music, which is totally different than how another guy expressed the same song last week. Because she is committed to give full concentration to perceiving and manifesting each instruction, the leader feels encouraged to experiment and play.
Geeks tend to believe that they can’t dance. They’re dead wrong. The geeks I’ve trained have big advantages and learn tango much faster than other students. There are two reasons for this. First, their memory and analytic skills enable them to grasp and manipulate the language with ease. Their second advantage is that they tend to see their bodies as hardware. They see errors as just necessitating calibrating the CONTROL SYSTEM. Even athletes and professional dancers learn slower than geeks, because they use their bodies by muscle memory, visualisation, and brute force. This makes it difficult for them to master the very precise joint motions that make Argentine Tango possible.
But why would you want to dance? The big SECRET of tango is that if you are good at this, which you very likely will be, you will have your pick of the attractive and intelligent women of all ages who are attracted to tango because it’s safe, respectful, and interesting. Prove this to yourself by dropping in at any “milonga” in your town just to watch. You’ll see that the most of the men with whom the women obviously want to dance, are not necessarily young, fit, or handsome.
Women love to dance. You love music. Tango is a way to hack this situation to improve your life.
As a geek myself, what I love about tango is that I can have a really satisfying social experience without small talk. If I feel like drinking, chatting, or developing a romance, that’s always possible at a tango event. It’s also possible to go out alone, any night of the week, in any city of the world and feel a nice sense of connection with a diverse group of people, just enjoying smile, touch, music, and expression.