Why I don’t ask Marks to dance…

Fábian Pérez tango painting

The line of dance is not the only thing that circles. So do the arguments about tango. It feels more productive to use the term ‘spiral’, because then we feel we are getting somewhere, either spiraling out away from the familiar territory, or getting in closer to the deep truths. Pick your direction. (But please don’t spiral in the line of dance.)

If you’ve never heard of the cabeceo, start here. If you want to know the various reasons why a modern girl might use it, check this out. If you want to know about the power of your desire, and how not to feel passive, read this. Then come back here, for the latest articulation.

Seeming to refute my arguments about marks’ grounds for choosing when to dance and with whom, I’ve heard lots of marks say that they like it when revels ask them to dance. Or at least they don’t mind.

A lot of girls ’round here do ask (I’ve even seen them demand), and sometimes that means that certain marks don’t seem to get to choose for themselves much. I don’t like it when my sisters elbow me out this way, but I won’t resort to the same behavior. Not because I am attached to moral high ground.

Basically, I get less.

The few times I have asked a mark to dance, which is still less than 10 times in 8 years, and mostly involves very close friends, I have inevitably regretted it, because I feel a loss in the dance itself.

Fábian Pérez tango paintingI believe this dance is deeply gendered. It may be an accident of history, this cultural fusion from a time of desperation. It may be evolving in many liberating directions, but it is constituted by, indeed recognizable through, the enactment of two roles. One party creates and the other enjoys, consequentially. (Which is why I call her the Revel.)

The pleasures we receive include sheer physicality, but much of what is being exchanged is rooted in the gendered fantasies of power and beauty that these roles enable us to achieve. Tango is an edgezone for enacting these fantasies.

These fantasies allow us to play with constructing, enacting, and receiving desire.

I once accompanied my friends to a fetish party. It was a queer event at which any gender combinations were welcome. It was an SM-friendly event at which some people would be spanked. I made the faux-pas of wearing a rhinestone collar with a pretty little chain dangling from it. My friends laughed at me. “You don’t bring your own leash.” Apparently, the act of attaching the leash is probably the hottest part of a domination interaction. And I had thrown away that potential moment. Fetish games, for those who’ve never played, are about everything but sex. They are a playpen in which the game is to acknowledge, prolong, exaggerate, and fantasize about the powers that inhere in interaction.

We better get back to tango…

If a mark has decided he wants me as his revel for this tanda, that desire is part of what I get to experience.

And it’s clear to me (if not to my mark friends who claim to like being asked by revels), that if I’ve usurped that experience, his dance comes from a different place (or from no place).

It is NOT the same dance with a different start.

Sure men like “easy” girls who advertise their availability. They are never going to say “don’t offer yourself and make it easy for me”. But we know they’re at their best in a chase.



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