Monday, August 25, 2008

Tango "Gods" and manners

I make occasional references to tango "Gods", and there is a good reason I use the double quotes for the word God. While in most cases I appreciate their skill and dedication, I don't put them on a pedestal, mostly because they are just people who happen to be good at what they do.

When however one of these people starts considering themselves "Gods", I'm less then impressed. At a recent event, I asked a visiting aspiring "Goddess" for a dance. In my two year tango "career" I asked for dances many elite dancers and some said yes, some said no. But the answer I got this time was unique in it's rudeness, and I quote :

"No, I can't do it. I ran out of patience for tonight." When my face showed the obvious "Huh?" that was going through my mind, she continued "If you did anything that would test my patience, I'd flip out".

It should be noted that when I ask people to dance who are "above my grade", I always formulate the question with a built in "escape clause", to make it easy for them to say no if they would rather not dance with me, as I don't want to make it awkward for them. In other words, that remark was totally uncalled for.

What's my point? If you are a tango "God", especially if you are making a living by being one, keep in mind that the people who you are talking to are potentially your clients, not your "minions" (even if some behave like they are). While you may be a God to some people, that is only true in the tango world, in "grand scheme of things", aka "real life", the people you talk to are possibly much smarter, more powerful and not likely to be intimidated by your diva fits. In fact, the only possible result of you being an ass, is getting less business. How much less? Well, it depends how many friends the person you've been an ass with has, doesn't it?

And to be crystal clear, it's not being turned down that outraged me, it was the way it was handled. There is one tango "Goddess" I can think off who declined all my invitations since I've known her (maybe 5 invites made over a year and a half). I will always support her as a tango teacher as I think she is good at what she does and she is a decent person.