Greta Flora

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IMGP3940 We gather at 2pm in a posh cafè on the corner of Arenales and Libertad. We are Miss 15, Miss 10, Miss 4 and Me (since last week I am Miss 7).

Miss 15 announces,

Sorry everyone, I hope you’re not in a rush because I’ve ordered the Menu of the Day which includes a pudding. I’ve got to EAT! I just know the woman in Comme is going to remember that I never went back for those shoes…  I told her I had to check the colour of my dress… I didn’t know how to say I didn’t want to buy them… she put my name on the box and everything… I’ve not dared go in there since. Oh – my – God!

I say,

Well that’s why we’re going in there ‘juntos’, the four of us together – one of us is bound to buy. Takes the pressure off the others. Right?

The four of us end up sharing two massive lunches, although we don’t get extra plates because it turns out that in upmarket Recoleta, we will have to pay extra for the privilege of sharing. We play pass the plate instead, and the waiter turns a blind eye. We relax in each other’s company and enjoy being girls: our topics of conversation range from whether Argentine men are ‘lazy’ or not, and no, I’m not going to spell that one out nor reveal all, to how many pairs of tango shoes we each actually own: 15, 10, 7 and 4. We rather noisily spill ‘first pair purchase stories’, ‘the death of the first pair’ stories, and ‘the mistakes due to impulsive madness in Comme BsAs’ stories. Afterwards, as we make our way along Arenales towards the almost, but not quite, hidden alleyway that leads to Comme itself, Miss 15 and I pray together that the other punters in the cafè where we ate lunch did not speak English…

From the comfort of the Comme velvet chaise longues and happy in the knowledge that I am spending someone else’s dosh, I confidently select two pairs for Brit girls back in Blighty: one of the pairs I secretly want, and they’re in my size… Well, if she doesn’t like them, I mutter.

Miss 4, who is heading back to England herself next week, buys, with much encouragement from us all and from the boyfriend or husband of another customer – I’d so ask you to dance in those: mad but totally fabulous black and white dalmation toe bar and purple silk heel cage.

Miss 15 buys too, that is once she’s zipped into the stock room to strip off her thick woolly winter tights (in hindsight, perhaps not the best choice for tango shoe shopping): unbelievable classy purple patent leather snakeskin (a thumbs up from me on the easy to clean front). I would have bought them once upon a time, in the days before I sacrificed looks for padding.

Miss 10 gives excellent advice but refrains from trying on a single pair.

The prices aren’t as much of a shock as I expect. Yes the one Special Edition seems to be an outrageous $520pesos but most come in at below $450pesos for cash… yes of course we’re talking top end prices but these are absolutely a tango shoe being sold to tourists, and the fact remains that if you are a tourist then compared to what you can get in Britain at the prices you’d have to pay, these shoes are still not expensive – well, I mean, aside from the minor detail that you had to spend shedloads on your plane ticket to get here in the first place.

From Comme at Arenales 1239, we amble the few blocks to 1606 and Taconeando where none of us have ever been before. As I shoo the chatty chicas across the street and they spot the store, Miss 15 cries,

Oh thank God it’s a proper SHOP with shoes out on display and everything!

I know what she means. The Comme thing of having to describe what you want and then hoping they bring you a decent selection does get a bit wearing. In Taconeando there’s none of that. Within minutes the place is our dressing room, Miss 15(now 16) is peeling off those tights again and we can’t keep our hands off the shoes. They have a simple but funky feel, and one or two styles are different to anything I’ve seen before: I like them and on Miss 4(now 5), Miss 10, and Miss 15(now 16), the vibrant metallic leathers look absolutely bloody fantastic. On me they look ghastly and I am reminded that until you put shoes on yourself, it really is very difficult to know. I sit centre stage, like a mum giving advice to the daughters I might once have had: it’s fun. My ‘daughters’ are delighted to hear the prices too… Sorry, could you repeat that, did you say from $250pesos? My girls’ hands are in their respective wallets faster than you can say Taconeando. And they let us use their loo. Lovely.

As we (now Miss 15(now 17), Miss 10(now 11), Miss 4(now 6) and Me (still Miss 7)) cram into the taxi for El Beso and the early evening milonga we are all clutching prizes with heels. OK, mine aren’t actually mine, but I’m still savouring my DNI treasures from last week and saving myself for a visit to 2x4alpie (home of top end comfort)  on Saturday… a visit I’m making in part for the lovely British boys in my life and indeed for all the tanguero lads who read this blog – watch this space.

3525436021_02fb44ec78_mOh and while I’m on the subject of favourite tango shoes, I’ve this week been back to one other gorgeous store too: at Acuña de Figeroa 1612, the designs are unique and sport flowers; the colours have such depth that I feel I could dive into the shelves and disappear for a very long time; the craftmanship is top notch… it can only be GretaFlora, and I’ve written all about them before here and here.

I mention them again because for all you tangueros in the UK and Europe, I have great news! GretaFlora now have an agent in Blighty – two mates of mine as it happens: Anne and Donna; their gorgeous range of GretaFlora shoes (for both women and men) can find their way to you wherever you are, and can be found right here at AnD Tango. Take a look!

Meanwhile, back in Buenos Aires at El Beso, I dance in my pink DNIs. The sole, which is mostly rubber but with a suede toe area for pivoting – or at least I think it’s suede, works absolutely brilliantly on the wood floor. I feel rock solid on the heels that are slightly lower than I’m used to, and my body relaxes as a result. More than once I sink into my seat in front of the large mirror somewhat breathless from the bliss of being able to dance free from pain in my toe joints: I actually feel my dance has changed, and I like where it has shifted to. So do my partners it seems. They say some nice stuff with their eyes as they pull away at the end of each tango. I love that. And so, I love my shoes even more. I even find I love El Beso, which actually is a bit of a turn up for the books as I’ve often found it to have a slightly dingy feel in the past… oh hell what am I saying? It still has the same feel, but I find myself smiling anyway, and lingering: I am the last of us four girls to leave. I might even go back next week.

Ah, the magic of the right tango shoes when it comes to generating the all important magnetic energy, in the quest for tango bliss.

Do you have a magic pair that work wonders? Oh do tell…

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