The Art of the Cabeceo Part I: Are You Flirting With Me?

Rita N by pedrosimoes7, on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by  pedrosimoes7

–Nobody asks me to dance, complained our Canadian classmate. We were sitting at our table in the Buenos Aires Golf Club, overlooking the dark course and the city skyline. We started chatting about the cabeceo, surely she knew the habit of the Porteño dancer to ask by catching a potential partner’s eye and confirming with a slight nod towards the pista?

Of course she didn’t. On the contrary, she brought her habit of avoiding to meet the eye of men she did not know, avoiding unwanted attention and flirts from strangers, as she did back home. That is effectively the same as wearing a sign saying you’re not interested in dancing, and that habit had be brought to an end in the milongas. Instead, watching attentively and gently transmit the intent of watching out for dancers, is the way to go. If dancing is what you’re after, of course.

At the golf club, the women wore furs, black dresses and pearls, and mostly went with their suit-clad husbands, who were in turn occupied with taking care of their women or occasionally a close friend in their company. Yet there also were also people interested in dancing with people outside their own table… Our classmate headed over towards the bar, where she kept her eyes open for dancing opportunities. It didn’t take long before she was out on the floor. And on the floor she remained for the rest of the night, dancing.

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