My first stop on my trip was to the Tango shoe store, Comme Il Faut (loosely translated, it means as is necessary) to purchase a pair of dancing shoes. And we all know how necessary shoes are to women. And if sexy shoes are necessary to women in general, the right Tango shoes are essential to women who dance.
The store, which is a combination of small showroom and stockroom, was full of women that afternoon. Shoes of every color, texture, pattern and design were scattered all over the floor. It reminded me of the shoe department of Nordstrom’s on a Saturday afternoon. The women didn’t know where to look first.
No sooner had one tried on and modeled a pair of two-tone gold and silver Greek style shoes then her attention was quickly diverted to her neighbour’s newly arrived boxes. The sounds coming from that showroom were nothing short of orgasmic.
I heard one loud woman complain to the young sales assistant that she “wasn’t being shown shoes like those,” and she pointed to the woman across the room who was trying on a polka dotted 1940s style model. Good grief, I thought we’re going to have to write an 11th commandment, “Thou shall not covet they neighbours shoes.” The sales assistant patiently explained that there were more models available in smaller sizes than her large size 8. Good for you, honey! I thought. The loud woman said no more.
I opened my first box of shoes, a combination of suede green open toe and black backed shoes that closed with a black satin ribbon across the ankle. They were exquisite. And then I took one look at the four-inch stiletto heel, a shiny patent leather green, and I said to the sales assistant, “You’ve got to be kidding! You expect me to dance in these?”
Dance? I couldn’t stand up in them let alone imagine myself dancing Tango. I said a silent prayer of thanks that I had remembered to pack my much more sensible salsa shoes with the two-and-a-half-inch square heel. At the very least I could fall back on those well-worn dance shoes.
The sales assistant gave me an amused “but of course” look and a little nod of encouragement. “Probar” she said, which I think means try. Oh what the heck, I thought. I had come this far and I at least owed to myself to try them on. They weren’t uncomfortable so much as they were unfamiliar. Hmm maybe, just maybe I could do this.
After an hour of trial and retrial of about two dozen different styles (too much choice confuses me) , I settled on a smart pair of black and red leather shoes in a three-and-a-half-inch heel. I went for the “smaller” size. They didn’t look at that much smaller but psychologically speaking it helped get over the height hurdle in my head.
Later that afternoon when I wore them to a practise session I was surprised at how comfortable they were. The height and the angle of the shoe positioned me on my toes, metatarsals to be exact, which are exactly where you are supposed to be when you dance tango. I could feel an improvement in my posture and movement. In my head I heard music, not tango music, but the words to a song I had loved as a teenager, Leo Sayer´s, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.”And they did.
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Fitzer