My mission tonight – dance tango in Lisbon. I checked out a few websites and to my pleasant surprise found a Thursday-night milonga right off Rossio Square in the city center. So at 10.30 this evening, armed with my tango shoes, a pinch of pathos and a desire to be whirled along a dance floor on this day of lovers (it’s Valentine’s), I rang the bell of a first-floor hall inside a dark building of a quiet street opposite a peep show. To no avail. The waiter from the bar next door on his smoke break told me the city had shut down the building after a drawn-out controversy over its use.
As I was walking away, I must admit the anticlimax got the best of me. So I strolled back home through the busy streets of Bairro Alto, lamenting the fact Lisbon’s tango scene doesn’t compare to that of Buenos Aires or New York, where you can dance any night away. This mission unaccomplished made me realize how picky I am about my cities, as much as I am about my men. No booming tango scene? A big minus!
Cities are like relationships. So many things need to click for us to say – yes, that’s it! I am willing to compromise to make this work. Can I accept the fact I can’t dance tango in Lisbon on a Thursday night peacefully and without resentment? I’m learning to. A challenge it is.