The Art of the Cabeceo Part III: When in Rome…

2011 October 20
by Simba
Romulus and Remus by Bsivad, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  Bsivad 

As the music of the cortina fades out, she glances over the tables on the opposite side of the dance floor. Refreshes her memory of where the different dancers she watched on the floor are seated. Preparing to try and catch the eye of one of her favorite partners as the music starts for the next tanda.

Her eyes move along the tables,  she is nodding to her self, yes, yes, maybe… her eyes reach the corner of the dance floor, and she quickly moves on. Not him. She saw him on the dance floor, and with that embrace, if that is even the right word, no. Not a chance. She looks down to make it clear. She has to be careful about that part of the room, it seems. Better not cause any misunderstanding.

Subtlety is not his force, apparently. She can see his gesturing in her peripheral view, doing her best to ignore him. But it’s too late. He is coming closer. She picks up her purse. She knows exactly where she got every single item, nevertheless she starts moving methodically between them, checking that each is in its designated place. Travel-sickness pills, mints, magnifier, spare stockings, paper towels, hand disinfectant….  He stops in front of her.

He: Listen, here in Buenos Aires, he says with a  broad grin, we ask a woman to dance using our eyes…

She: I know…

He: So we don’t have to come up to the table to ask…

She: I know….

He: It’s called the cabeceo…

He tilts his head to one side and smiles again.

She: I know…

She speaks without moving an inch.

He: If you want to dance with me, you have to look at me and smile, you know…

He grins again and stretches out his hand for hers.

She: I know. No. Gracias.

She forces herself to make a brief smile and returns to her inventory listing. Now, where did I put that bottle of insect repellent?

2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 October 20

    Some expectations are just destined to lead to disappointment.

    The fact that she’s a foreigner doesn’t mean that she’s unfamiliar with the cabeceo.
    Conversely, being a porteno won’t guarantee adherence to the codes of the milonga.

    The good news here is that she had the confidence to say “No”!

    Simbatango, I love your blog and have taken the liberty to link it to ours.

  2. 2011 October 25

    Thanks, Patricia!

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