Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tango's Goldene Schnürsenkel

These shoelaces are priceless*

One evening not too long ago, Norman gave me the "Goldene Schnürsenel" Award -- an unofficial award, but nonetheless, a veritable honor!

I had never heard about this "award" before, but it's a great idea. The "Goldene Schnürsenkel," translated means '"The golden shoelaces," and they are awarded to the tanguero who dances with more women in one night than any other man. The second criteria is that it only counts when the woman truly is happy that the man has danced with her. (If not, she is earning points towards what we perhaps could call "the Gold Shoe Strap Award").

In our little German city, Norman got the award all the time because he did not have much competition. Good tangueros are often sitting and watching, waiting for the right tango to play with no "insurance" that the next 3 tangos will also meet their high standards. Too many tangueras are bursting with energy to dance to the music they hear -- what I call "musical squirming," which is the best indication (in my assessment) that a woman will bring joy to her dance, close her eyes and truly listen to the music:

Musical Squirming

She sips her drink there in her chair.
The music starts; she flicks back her hair.
Now she's musically squirming with delight--
Dreaming of dancing throughout the night.

But the stoic tanguero only sits starring,
Blandly, straight ahead, apparently not caring.
Dance with the lady! The right thing to do!
She may be imperfect but so are you.

I sometimes am not able to win the prize over Norman. But we are so often so close we just proclaim that the other guy "won." And we are not really keeping good track. Maybe the tangueras are.

The really competitive male does not like this particular award. He might want the prize woman or the esteem as the best dancer. The golden shoelaces do not interest a Casanova at all. Casanova is dancing with just a few choice women, choosing one with whom he will later leave. This not the macho thing to do. The macho man is watching, afraid of dancing in public. Perhaps the competitive male might be the teacher-wanna-be, who waits for the right tanguera. She'll be a good "advertisment" for him.

The Golden Shoestrings award is made for the guy who sees the little girl waiting on the side who

wants to go out and play. Everyone would like a turn at the best fun in the world! Can't you see it in her eyes?

The real award is that the Golden Shoelace Tanguero (GST) who dances with a wider ranger of talented women learns how to dance better. What a treasure to dance with the woman with the Beginner's Mind. The GST surprises himself with the ideas from the woman out of town. He is challenged to be confident over his self-doubt when the very selective woman finally looks his way.

The lone wolf dancer is perhaps a great dancer. He waits too long. Watch what happens at every "woops":

  • Woops! She is dancing a lot and doesn't even see the Lone Wolf. 
  • Woops! He is still waiting because although she is not dancing, he now does not like the music.
  • Woops! The music is right, but she is not looking his way. 
  • Woops! She is leaving because she has to work tomorrow early. .

Perhaps he dances well. Two tandas. Meanwhile good tangueras who only need a few enjoyable tandas a night to keep motivated sit there as he just watches, waiting, procrastinating with his pointed ears back.

The other night, Norman did not come. I still think he is the king of the Goldene Schnürsenkel. He is a great dancer, but the true value of the tanguero who wears these golden shoe strings is worth more than those shoe strings in the picture above (a "mere" $19,000 price tag).

He is a treasure chest full of gold for certain tangueras. $19000 is nothing compared to that.

*Photo credit: In an effort to be incredibly materialist one COULD purchase golden shoelaces for $19000. But why? I suggest that tangueros get them for free as an award at their local milonga.