Saturday, December 30, 2017

Quitting Tango in 2018

My last doctor's appointment in 2017.  I am at Dr. Tango's office in the waiting room. Suddenly an overwhelmingly strong feeling comes over me. "I should never come back here," I tell myself. "I have to quit coming here!" Exasperated in the moment, I reach over and pick up one of Dr. Tango's business cards on the waiting room coffee table.

Dr. Tango

Appointments or walk-in.

Cures for loneliness, depression,
pain reduction, posture correction,
help with finding joy and social engagement. 
                           See warnings on the reverse side.                            

I had never noticed the small print on the front of the card.  I turn over the card, and read the small print at the bottom of the card/

And on the back:

     Most appointments are after hours and many patients complain of sleep
     deprivation and harm to their circadian rhythm. Some patients complain
     that although the appointment is usually only $15, the co-pay can be
     thousands of dollars in suggested products. Some patients have allergies
     or reactions to toxins in the waiting and treatment rooms.

Well, I knew about the sleep deprivation, and yes, I have spent a lot of money on "suggested products."  I tell myself, "But if I don't want any tango-related health problems, I could just go to sleep early to avoid Dr. Tango's sleep-killing appointment schedule in 2018. . . But what are the toxins he mentions?"  I thought.  "I am not so sure about a doctor who would have me swallow toxins along with known beneficial medicines."  I begin wondering why I am going to see him, even for this last appointment for 2017.

Just then my favorite partner arrives.
She had parked the car because we were late.  I met her here in this very waiting room five years ago. Later, tango patients from several countries came to our wedding in France.  Many are now good friends. In spite of this connection to each other and so many friends, I tell her I am no longer going to be Dr. Tango's patient anymore in 2018.

"You're kidding, right?" she says.

"Dead serious," I say, pointing to the card's list of medical warnings. "Remember, we have decided not to harm our health by dancing late all the time, but look at Dr. Tango's business card! What are these toxins in the waiting and treatment room, anyway?" I say pointing.

"Dr. Tango does his treatment in a group setting, and some of his groups develop or bring a dark side from their lives into the treatment room. Shunning is the main toxin," she says as a matter of fact.

"But who would want to go to a small church, a one-room school or any intimate social event in which people in that very small culture refuse to even look at you? I don't dance with everyone, but we try to acknowledge others as human beings. I don't want to be around toxins; so I quit!"

She takes my hand with a reassuring voice and empathetic eyes. "Hey, aren't you the one who has been telling everyone that dancing is the epicenter of your humanity?  Remember how you told me that you were dancing as a child and I got away from it and rediscovered it through salsa, and then later in the beauty of tango?"

"Yes," I admit.

"Weren't you the one who tells everyone that community dance is so important and a rich way of having social engagement?  Remember the research article you shared with me about how we need touch to be psychologically and physically healthy? If quitting is what you want, I understand, but I think you are being rash! You know, after being shunned at certain milongas, I have wanted to quit too, but I get over it."

"Maybe I am being rash," I say.

"Would it be easy for you to give up Pugliese's Yumba, di Sarli's violins, Biagi's cutting piano solos, Troilo's simplicity of melody, Canaro's orchestrations? You are a musician, but can you just sit and listen now that tango has gotten into your veins? Can you just sit and play now that you are a dancer?"

"No, I guess not," I say like a little boy pouting about how life is so unfair.

"Also, we like going out for walks," she adds, "and yoga and tai chi are satisfying movements, but the movement of dance is your favorite of them all."

"So we can dance blues and salsa," I counter, regaining my adult demeanor.

"Tango has no real competition from other dances. Dancing blues is fun, sure, but if you go to salsa, I'll stay at home. It's a boring pattern dance," she warns.

"Okay," then I will quit in 2019.

"Sure, whatever you say, dear," she says with an ironic laugh.

Just then Dr. Tango opens up the treatment room door.  Fresedo's "Buscándote" wafted into the room like home-baked bread in the oven. I forget about all my doubts. I hold my shoe bag with the same excitement I had when I had rollerskates in a bag when I was a kid, going out to play--I just can't wait to get them on.

Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr*

Comment or "like" Tango Therapist's Facebook page at this link

*A tribute to all the German comedians (and to my many German and Swiss friends) who leave say their punch line in English.  Meaning:  "Have a happy new year" (literally "[I wish you] a good slide into the new year."

Photo Credit:
 Roller skates:


Your next appointment
 Dr. Tango
is on ________________ at ________am/pm


Most appointments are after hours and many patients complain of sleep
deprivation and harm to their circadian rhythm. Some patients complain that
although the appointment is usually only $15, the co-pay can be thousands of dollars
in suggested products. Some patients have allergies or reactions to toxins in the
waiting and treatment rooms.


  1. If your presence not being acknowledged by others is upsetting, and that's natural, then do not allow others to take control of your own happiness. Focus on the dance with those who do acknowledge your presence and dance with you, and just ignore the others who don't. It's their loss.

  2. Dear Mr. Tango Therapist, special thanks to Your Favorite Partner for her wise irony and meaningful, soft, but so persuasive talk with you. Now I know who is the real reason of a few amazing tandas that I had with you at the Queen City. After reading this article I understood, how close we were to losing you for the tango world. Please pass our greatest appreciation to Your Favorite Partner. Hope she will keep you on the right path in 2019, 2010... and on... Best regards. A tanguera.


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