The milongueros I love, the giggle, and you!

One of my basic beliefs about creating art from the heart has been proved true, right here on this blog: if you do what you love and put it out in the world with good intention, you are rewarded a million times over, in ways you could never have imagined.

When I wrote the post The milongueros I love – The Gift (Part 1), a week ago, I knew that it had come from my heart. No question. It poured out in a few hours of intense (up all night writing) activity, and I was powerless to stop it. When I hit the ‘Publish’ button, I knew I’d written a cracker (cracker to me, meaning, my truth, in a language the world might understand and be entertained by). Question was though, Would people be inspired enough to comment on the post and share their experience? In my three and a half years of blogging, I have learned that it takes a fair bit to get a reader commenting on a blog for the first time. Yes, your friends and family might comment, but people you’ve never met, or people who don’t normally comment on blogs, or who don’t blog themselves? It can be a bit trickier to hook them. But, I wanted your feedback. Sallycat, be bold, I said to myself. Ask, and maybe you will receive. I did, and oh boy, I did.

In the three days after I published the post, thanks to your emailing, Twittering, Facebook-ing and posting, it was read around 1000 times, and over the period of a week I received emails, messages and comments galore. I’m not talking one liners either. You sent me essays (often extremely personal and moving), some of which I yet have to digest. Incredible. I spent hours replying to all your generous shares, and I am still doing so. Basically, I couldn’t blog until now, because I’ve been overwhelmed by feedback and I’ve ended up writing almost a book in replies, myself!

Bloggers have kindly blogged as a follow up to the post, and one was even inspired to write a poem entitled, The Older Woman (ah, I may be 47, but I can still inspire a man I’ve never met to write from his heart…). Check out Tango Beat for the poem, and Tango Commuter and Accidental Tangoiste for mentions of my post. Thank you guys and girls. And, if you blogged on the theme and linked to my post, and I didn’t spot it yet, please comment and tell me, and I’ll add you here.

If you haven’t already, do read the 67 comments (at Monday 17th May 2010) written here. There is some amazing stuff, and to be honest, I’m not yet quite sure where it is going to take me. One lovely theme that emerged was how we show to our partner (knowingly or unknowingly) that we have given or received the gift – and just to clarify, to my mind, the gift is elicited (often via the behaviours I mentioned in my post) and received by men, and given by women. Joe Tango surprised and delighted me with his knowledge of ‘the giggle’ – Where are you man? Come to Buenos Aires and dance with me! On Saturday a milonguero asked me why I was laughing as we pulled apart. I explained the word ‘giggle’ to him. After that he insisted on calling me Sally Giggle (or rather, Saleh Gigul, pronounced in lovely Castellano-style), and he giggled a lot too; see Joe Tango, you comment on some chica’s blog, and your spirit ends up with her, on the dance floor of La Leonesa, Buenos Aires, on a Saturday night… I mean to say, I’ve always giggled, and milongueros have always asked me about it, but this time, fired up by the discussions here, I was moved to pop the word ‘giggle’ into their vocabulary. Wonderful!

Another intriguing theme, and perhaps the crux of it all — in terms of whether this ability to elicit the gift and thus to experience even more bliss himself, can be taught or encouraged in a man, or whether it can only develop naturally over time — was the business of how much a woman can influence the man’s ability to receive the gift: he has so many things to think about in the early days of developing his dance, said a few folk, and yes, of course they are right. I’m interested to know, though, how many men in the very early stages of learning to dance tango have actually stopped dancing (and so removed all those distractions), in a safe environment, and simply hugged (or, OK, if hugging seems a step too far, embraced very closely) the woman in their arms, as a piece of tango music they both absolutely love, plays… and if they have, what have they felt? If they did that, could they gain a glimpse of the bliss to come further down the line, and so become more inclined to worship the Goddess of tango gifts, rather than fall at the feet of the God of tango moves? Food for my thoughts.

Then there is the all round matter of what, if anything, can be done to tear down the walls of ego and social conditioning within both men and women, in order that they can shed the blocks to giving and receiving the gift. This is the point that fascinates me. I remember how horribly awkward I felt in my first close embrace. My British reserve? Not a touchy-feely type? Not at ease in such close proximity to a man? More of a tomboy than a woman? Ego-driven anxiety about doing it wrong? I’m thinking about all that too.

The long and short of it, is that I’m not ready to write Part 2 yet, although perhaps this is a kind of Part 2 in itself. The creative process is one I am slowly getting used to, and for me, periods of ‘cooking of ideas’ are required; the cauldron has to bubble for a while.

Meanwhile, here’s a sneak preview of the magic stuff most recently conjured up by my creative process — my first book, Happy Tango: Sallycat’s Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires. I cannot tell you how excited I am to show you this – the front cover (click here to see it)! Everyone is asking me, When can we buy it, have it, see it, read it, touch it? The answer is, I hope with all my heart,  in June. I am willing The Universe to make it so. Please help me by doing the same. I will post news, as soon as I have it! I am longing to touch it too.

Once again, I thank you for sharing your tango experiences with me. Without you lot, all the people I’ve met through tango, there’d be no book, and no tango magic at all. Here’s to us. Tango dancers who seek bliss, wherever we are in the world. People, we rock!


Photo of Me and C. giggling in La Glorieta, with thanks to Julie-Anne Cosgrove.

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  1. Accidental Tangoiste’s avatar

    Sally Giggles–I love it! Keep laughing, lady!
    .-= Accidental Tangoiste´s last blog ..Saying yes to myself =-.

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Oh, I will! I will! Starting this afternoon with my lovely lads of La Ideal on a Monday.
      And you too eh? You too.

      Abrazo fuerte, SC

      1. Accidental Tangoiste’s avatar

        Oh, you’re making me jealous! I only got to Ideal once, and it was at the tail end of an early milonga (I forget which day of the week), but I had such a nice dance with an older gentleman! And could there be a more evocative setting?

        Enjoy, enjoy!
        .-= Accidental Tangoiste´s last blog ..Saying yes to myself =-.

  2. tangobob’s avatar

    I find those figures hard to believe, it must make you one of the all time greats in the blogsphere. I know what you mean about getting people to comment, sometimes I am deliberately controversial, and still people will not comment, per4haps I should write from the heart like you.
    Still working on my next post inspired by The Gift, watch out for it.
    BTW I love that front cover, the pair of you look so sweet.
    See you soon Bob

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Hello Bob,
      Ah – you dash my excited interpretations of my blog stats with one sentence! Bloody hell! Oh well, who cares, eh?
      Let’s just say, alot of people read it – and certainly a lot more than the number of people who have been reading my posts lately. Let’s just say there was a big temporary leap and it made me amazed.
      It was nice.

      Will be looking out for your ‘Gift’ post, and thanks for your comment about the cover! Fab!
      Should one write from the heart? I have to say, yes. But then, I am taking about what works for me.

      See you very soon I guess, what date are you in town?

  3. tangobob’s avatar

    Oh Sal
    I am sorry I never meant to dash your figures, I was just amazed and surprised. I think the way you write from the heart is what makes you a top blogger and why I always look out for your next post.
    I arrive on 14th, where’s good Friday night not too far from Almagro?
    My post inspired by The gift, may not be quite what you expect I’m afraid, there is a lot of frustration in dancing in the Northwest. It is better in Shrewsbury but I find it difficult to get there too often, still I can soon dance every night in BsAs
    Besos Bob

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Bob, no worries re the figures. I understand!
      Will consider the Friday night question for you. Yep, you will soon be in BsAs and smiling. :)

      Abrazo, SC

  4. anne’s avatar

    Great cover photo Sal! You look about 16!!! You must be so proud of all your work, well done! Will see you over this way soon?
    Love to C!!!! xxx

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Sweet 16 eh? Ah Anne, you flatterer you!
      So glad you like the cover.
      Yeah, you know, I am proud of my work on Happy Tango. It’s kinda nice to say so too. Tonight I just ate a pizza with some friends and we looked at the book cover together and looked back on all that I’ve been through to get the book this far… and, on all the marvellous help I have had, and people who have believed in me. What a journey! And I’m not quite there yet, but getting very near now ’tis true. And that feels amazing. Really amazing.
      We’re landing in the UK in June, and so, may see you in the summer depending on where we travel to. Once I know the book is in the bag, I’ll be firming up a little plan!

      See you soon, SC

  5. jamesy’s avatar

    Hi Sal
    First: The Giggle !
    Once heard never forgotten,I remember it from the last time we danced (as I mentioned in a post many moons ago) and it still brings a smile to my face.
    Second: The Cover !
    Ever closer to that day of the great book reveal, it looks great, and hopefully by your happy sparkly look shows what we can expect inside.
    Nice to see C looking very happy and proud of you to.

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Hi jamesy
      I looked back through your marvellous and regular comments (since December 2008!) – so grateful that you have stuck with me for so long… and I found it!
      “It was great to meet with you, to dance and chat, do have a brilliant rest of your trip and I really do look forward to hearing that Sallycat laugh on the dance floor again.”
      How cool :)
      I’m so happy that you feel there is a happy sparkle to my look on the book cover – tango has brought me a great deal of happiness in Buenos Aires (and beyond), and I believe that my book can put a touch more sparkle and happiness into everyone’s Buenos Aires tango adventure. It is my dream.
      I am very proud to have C. on the cover with me. He is an angel in my life and has patiently allowed me to work to the ends of my earth on the book, and indeed, tango ensured that we met, in the very place that the cover pic was taken. Somehow the cover (for those who know, because many will not) is celebrating that little love story too. That makes me very happy.

      See you soon for that dance, and I hope, more giggles!

  6. joe tango’s avatar

    Thank you for the honorable mention, SC. I am flattered at the mention and most grateful for the invite to come to BsAs to dance with you and spread the giggles. It’s high on my ‘todo’ but I’m not quite there yet. I live and dance in NY, or more accurately, I dance and live in NY. Joe Tango’s my tango nom de plume for Facebook where I’ve created two groups, “Tango Reflections, Confessions, & Obsessions” and “Bring Back Cabeceo.” I happened on your tango blog only recently and am happy to report that I’ve moved it to the top of my list of favorites! Keep up the delightful work!!


    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Joe tango!
      Was a pleasure to mention you! You really made me smile with your comments and talk of ‘the giggle’! Thank you for posting my blog on your FB group. Most kind :)
      Am happy you like my blog. I know it isn’t always tango-focused… bit of Buenos Aires, life between two lands, living your dreams and writing books creep in too, but as long as tango is a passion (and can’t see an end to that one), tango articles are bound to pop out! I hope you continue to enjoy them when they do.
      Let me know if you ever do come this way from NYC…
      Un abrazo, SC

  7. Leigh Shulman’s avatar

    What a lovely cover! And it seems to me, a 47 year old woman will inspire more in a man than someone without her experience and heart.

    How lucky was I to meet you in BsAs. xoxoL

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Ah Leigh, so brilliant to hear from you, and I am delighted you like the book’s cover. For various reasons this week, that was a particularly timely and welcome piece of news.
      Thank you.
      On the subject of design, that is a pretty cool and gorgeous header you have on your blog now. Love it!
      Experience and heart. Yes. You and me both.
      And we will meet again. I know it. And I look forward to it.
      Abrazo wonderful woman, SC

  8. Kathy Goodwin’s avatar

    Hi Sally: I came across your blog by accident when Googling Tango in the South of England. I was immediately hooked and had to stay up late into the night to track back all your previous blogs. I passed the link onto a friend who ended up doing the same. I loved your post on The Gift and told all my tango friends about it. It was funny you chose that topic because you had previously asked for suggestions for topics to cover and I was going to suggest precisely that because of a comment you had once made in a previous blog and because I too am fascinated by it, even though I am a newcomer to tango (6 months). I sense I have only had a hint of what is to come! Strikes me too there are similarities with Tango Zen. I dont know if you have come across Chan Park and his fascinating book of this title. Strikes me you two could have an interesting conversation.
    I was recently in Buenos Aires and would have loved to have met up with you but it was around the time you did a post about being fed up about always feeling under pressure to supply information or supply a comment and it seemed to me you were asking for a break.

    I note you are coming to England shortly. I would be happy – (even honoured!), to have you and Carlos stay with me and visit my local tango school in Reading if you are thinking of “touring” in England.

    You sound wonderfully happy with Carlos and your life in BA and I wish you continuing happiness. I keep checking your blog waiting to hear those magic words that you have set a wedding date.

    Best wishes,

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Hello Kathy
      Thank you for reading and commenting – how completely brilliant that you stayed up into the night reading my posts. Really, that makes me very happy!
      Ta for spreading the word about my post on ‘the gift’ too. That topic rose to the surface for me over months and finally had to be written… I love it when something shouts at me to write about it, and just kinda pours out – those are the days when I feel ‘in the creative zone’. Other times, like the last week or so, life overtakes me and the writing does not come so easy. But at least these days, I know it will flow again soon!
      I know of Chan Park but haven’t read his book nor danced with him, yet :)
      I have indeed found joy in Buenos Aires. Life is not easy anywhere, I guess, and as you saw in the previous post you mentioned, I have my moments, but in BsAs it is true that I have found a place in the world that energises my soul, a wonderful man who soothes my soul, and a beautiful dance that allows my soul to fly… my coming here has taught me that all is possible when you aren’t afraid to give your dreams a chance to become your reality.
      Tango completely changed my life. In a way it revealed my dreams to me, and offered me a way to live them. Powerful stuff!

      Yes we are heading to England soon – volcanic ash clouds and British Airways strikes permitting(!). I am just now trying to get my book Happy Tango into shape for printing, and what we do in England depends a bit on how that all goes and in what time frame.
      I will certainly give you a shout by email if we are headed in the direction of Reading!

      Un abrazo fuerte, SC

  9. Charles Tolman’s avatar

    Hi Sally,
    Loved your piece about The Gift, and would like to say that it has now become a work in progress for me in my dancing. For instance “the pause” is something that is all too often forgotten when learning, since I can be fairly tense, and it really helps me to relax.

    I have been learning tango for only 9 months now in Southampton, and I can say that, yes, despite the mistakes and mis-steps, it is possible to experience the gift and the bliss of a good connection. It does depend so much, of course, on the response of the lady, but I must say that almost all the partners that have danced with me have been nothing but gracious, so I would like to say a great big thank you to them. This in turn has helped encourage me and (I hope they agree) respond to them better during the dance.

    So far the best gifts have not happened too often, but it is such a sublime experience that it just makes me strive that much harder to make it happen more often. Classic sign of addiction! However, such wonderful things need time, something our current world does not help with – well in the UK at least.

    So: Thank you for your blog. I shall be reading more!
    Good luck with the book.
    .-= Charles Tolman´s last blog ..Why do people become programmers Really =-.

    1. sallycat’s avatar

      Hello Charles
      Thank you for your thoughts on The Gift, and I am delighted to hear that you have touched the bliss of it… believe me, there is more and more to come, with that precious thing called time, as you mention! I love what you say about ‘the pause’. The pause at the start that enables a breath together and ‘the melt’, pauses during the dance that can help the partners to connect/reconnect (with themselves (and relax, as you say), with each other and with the music), the pause at the end that says ‘that was special and I don’t want it to end’… all, for me, are signs that I am worth listening to and worth waiting for.
      It’s great to hear that you value ‘the pause’ in your dance. For me, those pauses seem to slow time down – a gorgeous feeling. I love partners who know how to inject a bit of ‘slow’ into their dance. Makes it feel more luxurious to me.
      I definitely glimpsed the bliss early on in my tango. In my case, it got me to Buenos Aires, led to a book being written that may help other tango travellers, and now has me starting to work with tango dancers to help them discover ‘the gift’ for themselves. So, tango may be addictive, but it’s an addiction that can lead to amazing journeys, no? I wish you great joy on yours! Do keep reading, and commenting. It’s a pleasure to hear from you, and if you see me in the Southampton area in August – as I may try to get down there – please come and say hello.
      Un abrazo, SC

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