Thursday, June 25, 2015

All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

               This post is dedicated to all you ladies out there who leave the milonga early. If this is you, then you are probably wondering what goes on when you are gone. Read on and you will know.
               There is a woman out there who is counting on your absence. I see her at most crowded milongas, the Patient Tanguera. She is almost always alone and seemingly unaffected by the amount of time she is spending idle but it is not wasted time. Watching and waiting, she tunes in to the collective emotions of the crowd like an actor standing behind the curtain before it rises.   
               The habits of men are her familiar friends: we like variety and rarely feed on the same flower for the entire night.  She is intuitive about forthcoming cabeceos. Her deportment seems too calm to me, like the eyes of a crocodile protruding the calm surface of the water. I have to wonder if she has an extra sensory gland that is capable of making innate subconscious calculations on who will ask her to dance. Her demeanor is a testament to her predation skills. My mind races for an explanation for she is an enigma; I imagine she is a seduction addict who can ‘smell’ the imbalance in a man’s opiate receptor levels.
               Patience pays off seemingly on cue. The clock strikes eleven and all the Cinderellas rush to get home before their Cadillacs turn into pumpkins and the crows stand beside their eyes. A wave of pheromones blows through the room and suddenly she is sitting in the spotlight.
               For the next hour or so she experiences a series of high-quality tango encounters with mostly skilled leaders. Satiated, she dons her shoes and disappears in the middle of a tanda. She has answered her hunger but it came with a heavy price; there will be hell to pay at work the next day, a day that has probably already begun before she even walks out the door.


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Monday, June 15, 2015

REJECTION



               Rejection is tough to handle, even for me, a man who has been dancing tango for nine years. Men are big babies and I’m no exception. I’d like to offer my thoughts on this as it is a topic of constant concern to both men and women.  
               Once upon a time I shared several enjoyable tandas with a delightful woman. I noticed she’d been sitting for too long when milonga-style music began to play. I invited her to the floor but was rebuffed. She said she never danced milonga-style for some reason that I can’t remember; it doesn’t matter because all I heard was, “no.”
               I haven’t danced with her since.
               On another occasion she approached me to let me know that her refusal was only to milonga-style dances, not vals or tango. I told her politely that I understood but that was a lie. I did not understand and for some reason I lost my desire to dance with her. I’m not sure why this is. When I think about asking her to dance, I feel as if there is a big cliff that I have to climb in order to make the offer and I walk away from it.
               I get rejected a lot and I’ve developed a mechanism for dealing with it. I’m fairly certain I am not the only man doing this. What I do helps suppress the emotional volcano that erupts when we are snubbed by prospective partners. All our lives we learn how to handle slights from our own gender but it is somehow different when the opposite sex delivers the blow. It doesn’t matter if the refusal is a discreet cabeceo or an outright verbal response, a tanguero has to take it like a man, remain calm and be congenial.
               When this happens, I simply tell myself that there is no chemistry there and that I must avoid making the same mistake again. I tried and, for whatever reason, she declined. I recall past encounters when I pushed an offer for absolute clarification and remember that the outcome was never good. Usually the woman reconsidered and subjected herself to a tanda with me but it felt like I was dancing with a corpse.
               After nearly a decade of rejections, I’ve come to accept that 'no' may mean 'no' forever even though she may not be of the same mind. When I see a woman who has turned me down, the thought that pops into my head is “don’t ask her to dance” instead of “maybe she's ready to dance with me now.” In my mind, she is shrouded in a cloud of fog I call anti-desire.
               The process involved in making a dance invitation begins with an incredible phenomenon. It is a tiny spark of desire that originates in a dimension with which we are not familiar so I can’t say what it is. This tiny ember is quite powerful, much like the gravitational force that keeps us close to planet Earth, or the nuclear force that binds protons to neutrons or the reproductive ability of DNA. It may be ethereal in nature, existing somewhere on the macroscopic level out there in the cosmos or at the molecular level as a quantum object. Maybe it’s a spiritual thing. Whatever it is, I can say with certainty that it is remarkable and wondrous. It is like a flower, delicate and powerful in its ability to attract, an integral part of creation. 
               Rejection is a power almost as subtle and equally supreme. It is a chemical with cosmic/quantum properties that inhibits the ignition factor responsible for the formation of a desire to dance with someone.

               A constant topic of conversations with tangueras is about who won’t dance with them and why that is so. Men are such a mystery to women but we are also a mystery to ourselves. Rejection is a necessary component of the tango experience. We have to know what it feels like to be cold to appreciate the heat. So it is with being refused, each time we are rebuffed increases the amount of pleasure we receive when we are finally accepted into the embrace of another dancer.




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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tim Hunt Needs a Tango Lesson



               I just got through reading about Tim Hunt’s ridiculous statement before the World Conference of ScienceJournalists in South Korea. Nine years into my tango education and I can see much more clearly why the opposite sex has taken such a huge offense at his words and the degree to which his ego has skewed his view of himself.
               "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” he said. “Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and, when you criticize them, they cry.”
               Tim, I think my tango experience would be a huge benefit to you and I strongly recommend that you buy my latest book, A Beginner’s Guide To Women and read my recent blogpost, Tango, Chickens and Cars. The book is available on Amazon and the blogpost is absolutely free! I know you’re going to positively love what I wrote because I have such a high opinion of myself:-D
               Seriously, Tim, let’s look at where you went wrong and why you made a joke that elicited a silence so deafening that it would make crickets jealous.
               First, I’m fairly certain women don't need you to tell them what your problems are. That first sentence in your comedy routine presumes that they didn’t know the second you took a breath to speak.
               Then you presented your jest in the form of a list so short and simple that a child could understand it…..maybe even a woman…..one working in a lab, possibly?
               The first item on your list states that you fall in love with them. Your mistake here is in categorizing this as a trouble and I highly suspect that women don’t view this as a problem, merely the means by which they rule the world, a job for which they receive little credit.
               Fourthly, you assume that these female scientists are falling in love with you which is definitely a sign, no, a billboard as big as a constellation, that your ego is a runaway train heading straight for the mirror where you probably devote a large portion of your time.
               Last but not least, you indicate that your fear of their tears inhibits your ability to criticize women effectively and that this is a reason for their exclusion from the places of men. This is just the kind of thing they’ve been working against since the beginning of time so your faux pas is a mistake of historic proportions spanning eons.
               Thanks, Tim, for being the poster child to advertise the need for my book. You are truly a basket case and I offer my services for free, nay, as payment, for a job well done. Just let me know where to send my guide and it will be in the mail.

sincerely,
The Kayak Hombre




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Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Best Milonga in the World



Located on Penn Ave in that section of Pittsburgh that strongly rivals New York City’s Greenwich Village, the RJW Law Office & Dance Emporium is an enigma that baffles those trying so hard to be baffling. A tango gathering takes place here called the Unblurred First Friday Habeas Corpus Milonga and I absolutely love it. The Big Apple and Philadelphia simply cannot compete with this event as it is in a class by itself, a spectacle to behold, a sight to be seen, one of the Seven Great Wonders of the Tango World, even more wondrous than tango at the Temple of the Living Goddess at Heart-Path ­­Retreat Center in Pojoaque, New Mexico.
Friday night here is one big party for several blocks. Loud music is blaring up and down the street, vendors and local artists are hawking their wares as young, drunken, tattooed adults with purple hair and pierced everything wander about like the spoiled Americans the whole world has read about, envies and imitates.
The facility is a small, street-front law office that has a desk and a few banquet chairs placed against the wall. There are documents lying around and pinned to the walls, the kind you are likely to find at a place where a lawyer works: titles to cars, legal forms, petitions, etc. The door is always open except when Rich comes upstairs and closes it. I’m not sure why he does this, it probably has something to do with the legality of the whole scene but it makes the tiny space full of dancing couples too hot to bear and the door opens again as soon as he departs.
Downstairs there is an old bicycle repair garage that has been converted into a larger dance area that opens up to the back alley. There is an anteroom at the bottom of the stairs where there are two couches so dancers can change into their shoes. There are also two tables filled with drinks and food. The food, I believe, is always some sort of homemade dish of Latino origin: tacos, empanadas, enchiladas, etc. and there is a jar if anyone feels like donating to the cause.
The tango upstairs is always traditional and of the highest caliber. People wander in from the avenue out of curiosity. Sometimes it is a couple who hear the music and see the dancing and are inspired to be romantic. They join the crowd, realize that they don’t know how to dance after a few awkward minutes and even more collisions and then make their way downstairs to sit on the couches. There are other stragglers, too, that join the gathering, uncertain what to make of the place and waiting in vain for someone to approach them with a sales pitch to buy something or to join the club. It is a sales pitch that never comes and that, I think, is what baffles people most about this milonga.
Downstairs there is almost always some Nuevo music playing and an odd mixture of talented dancers and total beginners.
There is a philosophy that keeps this place going. I can’t really say what that philosophy is except that everyone is welcome and that tango is danced here and that the definition of tango is open to interpretation and all interpretations are respected. I can say that this place is a refuge from the party outside, where overindulgence is expected as well as the auditory assault of the loud music and the hypocrisy of the revelers dressed in grunge clothing mass produced in China just for them.
I’m not a lawyer but I think habeas corpus means that we are here for you. If you are tired of the false premises of the party and would just like a chance to dance and heal your bones, maybe even heal your soul, the Unblurred First Friday Habeas Corpus Milonga is the place for you. Everybody is welcome here, always and without conditions.



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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tango Is Not Sex

American culture has a problem with intimacy and I think it is a big impediment to our understanding of tango. It is my guess that the source of this difficulty stems from our Puritanical roots but it does not matter, only that we recognize that it should be a concern.
There is a tremendous release of stress during the sex act. I've detected a similar release of tension after some of my tango encounters. I think this same observation has been made by many who take up this dance and therein lies the confusion that tango and sex are kind of the same.
I have a machine that massages my feet. It is wonderful. I think that it too relieves stress but I do not in any way associate it with sex.
I am not going to say what I think leads to sex but I can say with certainty that tango and sex are not one and the same. If this is what you think then you need to get over it because it is an obstacle to your progress. This kind of thinking creates a false foundation on which to build your dance and it will not support you when you run into trouble, such as when you start a sexual relationship based upon satisfying tango encounters.
Let me tell you what I think tango is. It is two people attempting to translate a song into movement with spontaneous choreography. We accomplish this by connecting to our partner physically, mentally and emotionally. Maintaining balance as we unite so completely with a stranger is difficult. We become tango dancers when we attempt to educate ourselves on the finer points of stability and synergy. It is an education that never ends and it is a process that cannot begin until the student realizes that the bedroom is not at the end of the road.




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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tango, Chickens and Cars

                 Tango is the same everywhere but each person dances it differently. Welcome to another tango paradox, this dance is full of them. There are six fundamental movements in tango: front step, back step, side step, pivot, step in place and the pause. No two people put these elements of the dance together with the same rhythm, energy and grace. If you disagree with this statement then it is time for a self-examination of what you're doing and who you're doing it with.
                Leaders, I can't say what you're doing but I think I should tell you that the difference between one woman and the next is as equally vast as the contrasts between chickens and cars. That is how it is for all women and no two are ever going to dance the same way. Some ladies take the lead for a movement and finish it quickly while others savor it to the last drop. 
               The chicken-woman takes note of everything until she closes her eyes and finally sees you. Everything that comes in through her pupils is a distraction. What's she wearing? Blue top/gold pants? Doesn't match, never will, maybe wear a dress next time. Is he looking at my ass? Do I want him looking at my ass? Is that chocolate on the snack table? Hey, there you are, I only have eyes for you.
               The car-woman will go wherever she is steered but you have to know her limitations or she will breakdown. Hey, slowdown big fella! I'm built for comfort not speed. Wait, are we going off-road? That’s not going to be comfortable! That's it: come to a complete stop, turn on my blinkers and turn me to the right, now accelerate, nice and easy, we got all day. 
               Guys, it is important to be aware of the incredible uniqueness of each follower. It's understandable that this extra information may be one task too many for you to handle but it is absolutely necessary to a rewarding dance experience. Yes, I realize that you're busy keeping your balance and trying desperately not to step on her toes...again! And yes, I am aware that you are also choreographing movements in a way that she will find interesting and navigating a crowded dance floor but you've got to add another task to the list in order to achieve Nirvana. 
               Expect that list to grow. You're not done. You're never done.
               After five years of dancing tango and attending tango workshops, I kind of felt like I deserved a little respect for the time and effort I put into learning how to lead. I was going to dance my way and the women had to like it or lump it. That was a big mistake. My ignorance of the distinctive individuality that a woman possesses was infecting my dance though I didn't know it at the time.
                The women I danced with at the milonga seemed boring to me. I told myself that they were all just tango junkies and I was their fix, yet I knew, intuitively, that this was not true, that there was something I was missing.
                If this dance has taught me one thing it is to look to myself as the source of all my troubles. I was bored because I felt like I was always dancing with the same woman. For reasons unknown to me, I started treating each tanda with a new partner as an opportunity for discovery of something new...and that's what they became. I learned how to accommodate women whose style varied from a norm that did not exist, whether it was milonguero, salon, chokehold, NASCAR or whatever. I aimed to be a source of comfort and satisfaction for any lady with whom I danced. With this objective in mind, I slowly became aware of how different each lady is and how important it is to treat her as something special.......because she is.
               I’ve spent the last four years pursuing this goal with a passion. It is an on-going process that has helped me get much more enjoyment out of dancing tango. With this experience behind me I can now see how much I was missing and it is a hole of significant size.
               The unexamined life is not worth living and the thoughtless connection to a tanguera is a dance not worth attempting. If a man enters the tango embrace with the idea that he will never meet another woman who is quite like the one in his arms then he is off to a good start. If, on the other hand, he looks at his partner as if she is one just like a million others then that is a tragedy not even worth writing about.



P.S. don't forget to check out my latest book: A Beginner's Guide to Women. Available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Guide-Women-perri-iezzoni/dp/1512200212/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431924910&sr=1-1&keywords=a+beginner%27s+guide+to+women 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tango Is A Man’s Guide to Women


               Recently I published my latest book A Beginner’s Guide to Women. The title alone is an audacious statement but it is what it has to be. America is in trouble. Our divorce rate is sky high and, if the headlines of today’s popular magazines are any indication, Americans seem to be unable to maintain satisfying, lasting relationships.
               I revealed my book at a party I recently attended. The reaction to the title was remarkably different for males and females. Women were shocked and said so while the men were expressionless. Upon reading a few snippets, the ladies all had something to say about the contents but the men remained chiseled and unresponsive.
               This event was a great help to me because it challenged me to defend what I had written. The beginning of all marketing campaigns for a writer is learning what to say when asked why someone should buy his/her book? My answer is that men need to stop trying to understand women and to start paying more attention to what they are saying with words as well as through body language.
               I have come to the conclusion that women are incredibly complex. I didn’t learn this in school or from a book, I learned this by dancing tango. 
               I have always been awkward around women. After three years of tango I was finally able to embrace a woman and feel certain she wasn't anxiously waiting for the song to end. Talking to other tangueros, I found that three year period was pretty much the norm. Five years is the accepted length of time for a man to finally be able to lead a tango dance successfully. 
               There's a reason for this. A woman needs to feel free while she’s dancing. She also needs to know that you will support her if she stumbles and that you are communicating effectively through your physical points of contact. Acquiring these skills takes a great deal of time and effort. Learning how to fly a plane takes considerably less time.
               Men tend to think of holding a woman the same way they think of holding a football: hold tightly and don’t let anyone rip it from your hands. Newsflash! WOMEN ARE NOT FOOTBALLS.  
               It is my opinion that men try too hard to understand women. Women are doing everything they can just to try and understand themselves; there’s no way that you, a man, is ever going to do that. Tango teaches us that understanding is not necessary, only that we listen to the music and try to move together in harmony.
               So many times have I witnessed a new tanguero writing down everything that is being said during a tango workshop instead of paying attention to every word the instructor is saying. He does this because life has taught him that success in school and at work comes from taking good notes. However, getting along with a woman is not work, nor is it a test: it is an absolute necessity.
               When I talked to the women at the party about my book. I told them that it instructs men to listen and to pay close attention to body language when dealing with a member of the opposite sex. Their responses spoke volumes though they uttered very few words. As soon as I said this, they immediately nodded their heads in approval and turned around to look for their men. This told me that what I was saying was something they felt was absolutely critical to the success of their relationship and that it had to be addressed immediately.
               Dancing tango has taught me not only to read my partner’s body language but to also be aware of the messages I am inadvertently sending through my own physical demeanor. First and foremost is personal hygiene. How you look and smell speaks volumes to a lady. Second, all facial expressions and audible tones are taken by your partner as either insults or compliments and to a higher degree than if you had actually used words to deliver the same message.
               These are all superficial things that you could easily learn from Ann Landers or Dear Abby. What I reveal in my book are the more complicated facets of a woman’s behavior, such as something called slut-shaming or her linear mental process or how much effort is really needed in order to be romantic.
               In today's high-tech, up-to-the-minute journalism, very little attention is being paid to these topics and I am doing something to rectify the situation. It is a risky stance for me to take but I feel it is a stand worth making. I’m certain I’ve made mistakes but that is okay because I know that life is like a tango where there are no mistakes, only attempts at spontaneous choreography to the rhythms of our society. I feel as if American culture is somehow off-balance and I am making an effort to correct that.


               My book is available on Amazon and on Kindle. If you care about this country you live in and the state of affairs in the relationships between men and women, I asked that you forward this post to a place where it can be read by others. Maybe it is a time for us all to take a stand for how we treat each other, to stop over-analyzing why people do things and to begin working for positive results instead of simply increasing the amount of information we’ve gathered. 


Here is a link to my book: