The following quote is from War Dances (2009) by Sherman Alexie – an American First Nations author. This advice is from his father:
“If you really want a woman to love you, then you have to dance. And if you don’t want to dance, then you’re going to have to work extra hard to make a woman love you forever, and you will always run the risk that she will leave you at any second for a man who knows how to tango.” p. 61
It fascinates and concerns me when I hear that one member of an intimate partnership dances and the other doesn’t. Curious, I always want to pry and ask questions, but, often I barely know the people, so keep my mouth shut. I fear for the safety and future of their relationship. It’s true that I don’t know the nature and purpose of their union and I shouldn’t judge it based on my own ideals and preferences but I have an insatiable curiosity, a desire for understanding, about what makes relationships work – since so many don’t.
Certainly, tangoing together is not a safety net in itself (and sometimes it’s a huge problem!) but at the very least it is a shared activity and a way to connect intimately when either the talking or the sexing isn’t going well. Not dancing together, as Alexie’s father suggests, requires one (or both) to work extra hard at keeping the relationship together. And, damn it, relationships are difficult enough to maintain without adding more barriers to the mix. Relationships are about compromise and co-creation so I always wonder why, if the wife wants to dance, the husband doesn’t get over himself and join her – not because he necessarily wants to – but because he loves her and she wants to, and it’s an activity that requires a partner. I bet she has, or would, make compromises for him in return.
At this point in my tango addiction I don’t think I could be in a relationship with a man who didn’t dance. Tango holds a very big place in my life, and so does my man. I can’t easily separate them – not time-wise and not in my mind or heart – and I don’t want to. Thank goodness I don’t have to choose between them; I don’t think I could.