Can you really blame the shoes?

Hi Arlene

…These women who are let loose with their Comme il Faut stilleto’s can be lethal. Men may have their faults but it is these dangerous shoes which are the real hazard. I have seen both men and women lacerated and stamped on by these. Perhaps you should take some sort of proficiency test before you are allowed to buy these. I would be more than willing to make that judgement. Did you enjoy Negracha last night?

VOR

Dear VOR,

Saying the shoes are dangerous is as ridiculous as saying cars cause accidents.  Cars don’t cause accidents; it is the people driving the cars that cause accidents.  You never hear of the car being prosecuted in an accident.  “Sorry officer, the car had a mind of its own and bumped into the car in front or swerved into the one on the side.”  When it comes to Tango, it is the men who are doing the driving and the woman is merely the vehicle.  A woman must follow her leader.  I don’t know how you can justify saying ‘these women who are let loose’.  I have never seen women who are let loose in Tango, maybe in Salsa or Ceroc, but not Tango.

As you are a man, I will excuse you this one time.  I ask you to please do not make disparaging comments about the shoes in the future as you will be on a very slippery road with no exit if you do.  There are more women than men out there, so you are definitely outnumbered and are leaving yourself wide open to negative responses.  Have a look at any Milonga floor and look at the shoes.  Most of the women are wearing high heels.  They are not just a fashion statement.  If you haven’t read it already, I would recommend reading An Homage to Comme il Faut to learn more about women and the shoes.  I wonder if you can actually tell the difference between a pair of CiFs, Darcos or Neo Tango shoes.

Regardless of the shoe style, people are going to have accidents. I didn’t have my first pair of CiFs until around two years into dancing and I still had lacerations, kicks, etc., and I am sure that I have given my fair share too.  One can do a lot of damage even with a pair of low heeled practice shoes.

With regard to Negracha, yes I did enjoy myself, although I didn’t dance much.  I did witness, however, a very nasty accident caused by a swarthy male teacher.  He was dancing large on the dance floor and took a step back and his partner trod on the lady behind – right on top of the foot, very painful.  The said partner was wearing a very fetching pair of CiFs and she was mortified about what had happened and apologised to the victim even though her swarthy male partner was trying to pull her back.  The sad thing was her leader did not apologise at all even though he was confronted by the victim’s leader.  I have witnessed this sort of thing before with the swarthy man and have never seen him apologise.  I find it really disgraceful.  The shoes were innocent.

Women do not like it when they cause harm to another woman and we are mortified when that happens.  If a leader is taking his time on the floor and the person in front moves backwards without due care and attention and gets kicked, I can’t really see how it is the fault of the one behind.  One shouldn’t take back steps on a busy floor.

As a woman dancing on a busy floor, I feel it is my duty to keep my voleos near the floor, unless I know I have the space around me, and to refuse invitations to do moves that might make me injure someone else.  I try to keep my moves small.

I believe it is the responsibility of the leader to display proper floor craft.  My best dancers always move in the line of dance and take their time on a busy floor.  I very rarely experience any conflict or injury either on my part or from anyone else when that happens.

When dancing at The Crypt’s Christmas party the other evening, I was on the floor and hadn’t even taken a step when I found myself entangled with someone else’s shoe!  My heel was barely lifted off of the ground!  Although I was concerned about the lady, I was more annoyed with her leader.  He should have taken more care.  My shoes were innocent.

Frankly, I think the men should do a proficiency test before they are let loose on the dance floor, and maybe more people would enjoy dancing and there would be fewer injuries.

Next!

Arlene

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris
    Dec 22, 2008 @ 21:47:56

    Arlene wrote: “I think the men should do a proficiency test before they are let loose on the dance floor”. The men do, and the test examiners are the girls – when a girl accepts an invitation, she’s giving the guy a pass mark. Girls, to keep dangerous guys off the floor, all you have to do is say “No thanks”.

  2. The voice of reason
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 19:26:58

    Dear Arlene

    It was not my intention to put women down. I love to dance with them and if I do say so myself they generally enjoy dancing with me. I do have a problem however with the women who will not or can not follow the lead directed. I can compensate for many of the errors but can do little when I lead a simple step and a relatively inexperienced partner decides to show of her lovely shoes while high kicking or throwing in a wild voleo or simply does not do what she is meant to. You state “… As a woman dancing on a busy floor, I feel it is my duty to keep my voleos near the floor, unless I know I have the space around me…, (in many cases you won’t know what is behind you. If you are dancing with someone who has more ego than sense they may not have the same regard for others, in which case those CiF’s become lethal) and to refuse invitations to do moves that might make me injure someone else (or avoid someone else). You continue “…I try to keep my moves small”. You should surely do the move as lead. After all the man is responsible is he not?

    You state…”As you are a man, I will excuse you this one time. I ask you to please do not make disparaging comments about the shoes in the future as you will be on a very slippery road with no exit if you do. There are more women than men out there, so you are definitely outnumbered and are leaving yourself wide open to negative responses. ”
    I have broad shoulders and I think many people will agree with me. Its not all about shoes. Skill and hardwork provide the foundations for safe dancing. You are right about one thing these shoes are comparable with a sports car. Would you let a learner loose with a Porsche or Ferrari ? No! The reason being that it would be unsafe. I am happy to be on that slippery slope if the woman has the right shoes on. Have you used practice shoes? I would reccomend them for any women who are trying to improve their skill level. Sally Potter wears them in the Tango Lesson.

  3. The voice of reason
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 19:30:05

    Cheers Chris

    VOR

  4. tangototty
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 22:23:10

    .So you are saying that if the leader is driving a bit of a banger in stilletoes he must take extra care and nurse it along with a little tlc very welcome ~!!!!

  5. The voice of reason
    Dec 24, 2008 @ 21:12:06

    Well Totty I like the sound of your reasoning. I would imagine that you are no banger. I expect you have a few miles on the floor though. I will be extra gentle if ever I have the pleasure of driving you round for the evening.

  6. Raquel
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 22:24:42

    It’s a lot like the argument, ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’… the kind of people who want to have guns kill people! Maybe the kind of people who want to have Comme il Fauts are most likely to be dangerous.
    I offer the argument that ladies who want Comme il Faut shoes are above average extravert. They choose a drop-dead gorgeous shoe because they want to feel and look drop-dead gorgeous. Fair enough. On the whole, people who want to be looked at draw attention to themselves… with what they wear *and* how they behave.
    So when these ladies are led into certain positions, where the rest of us would take a simple step or make a discreet adornment, they are more likely to pause and flick their gorgeous heels up in an embellishment, which is *not* led and which is generally unwelcome on a crowded dance floor. There is scant regard for whose shins they may bruise, stockings they may ladder, feet they may stab on the way down.
    But for all the scratches stabs and bruises inflicted by flying heels, whether led or embellished, my worst tango injury was from a man in London who insisted on wearing some clownishly long, square-toed shoes on the grounds, I believe, that he had bought them in Bs As so they must be kosher. They were so far removed from dance shoes that they had squared-off, rock-hard soles sticking out a good quarter inch all around the foot. Lethal. He kicked me so hard he took my big toenail right off… and was offended that I staggered off the dance floor rather than faint in the middle of it!
    And some men *do* look at a woman’s shoes & outfit and guess a lot about her. He will assume that someone in 4″ heels knows what she’s doing and is a bit of an extravert! Fair enough. He will lead accordingly, though really he should try (to continue your motoring analogy) a bit of a test run before putting her through jer paces!
    I myself own a pair of gorgeous Comme il Fauts but very rarely wear them. I have others which are equally gorgeous, more comfortable, more stable on the floor and which don’t kill my legs the following day. If I know that I am going to a place with a good floor and that I will only dance a little and with my own partner (who isn’t going to look at my shoes & assume I want to be flicked about!), I’ll wear them. For a milonga where it’s going to be crowded or pot luck with the partners, no way.
    I could never bring myself to wear a shoe as ugly as Sally Potter’s.

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