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Comme-il-faut - the life of a tango shoe (1)

May I introduce myself? I was born in Argentina from the noble leather of bulls of the pampa, and according to the Argentine custom that only European things are considered dignified, I was called Comme-il-faut. I'm a tango shoe. Exceptionally hot-blooded with a fatal, red-shimmering high heel, two ankle fixings with a little diamond clasp and a toe strap of red laces on beige leather.

From the first moment on, when opened the bands of my satin bag with her red finger nails, and when she balanced me knowingly on the palm of her hands, I fell in love with her. And when she put me on, forced her sweet rosy feet in my leather, fixed the straps around her slender ankle and carefully closed the diamond clasp, I suddenly knew: we belong to each other. For now and always.

We start every day together. In the morning, after the shower, she takes me off the shelf and puts me on to practice the first steps of the day in front of the mirror. And even if the endless repetitions of ochos, cruzadas and turns are soooo boring to me - I'm a dignified tango shoe and not a working boot, remember? - I am proud to be indispensable to her. Almost every evening, we go out. Usually, a long time before we leave, I tremble with joy, and when she finally releases me from my satin cocoon and straps me over her feet in fishnet ties, I could die out of sheer happiness. A night, a whole night, just for us. Well? not for us exclusively, because we also dance with other shoes.

The ones I like best are two tiny velvet slippers, which are worn by a girl friend of hers. Most of the time, they share a vals, close embrace. I wonder whether she likes being led by a woman? I, in any event, am totally thrilled by the softness of those shoes. Energetically, but without any jerking or dragging, no knee-climbing or ankle-drags the softly glide over the dance floor. And when they jam me between them, the velvety texture caresses me softly? that's what I like.

Whenever they play Piazzolla, red suede leather boots chase me over the dance floor. Turn - quebrada. Four or five hasty steps - and a boleo. Gancho to the left, kick in the middle, gancho to the left. Maybe that is his interpretation of the music, but even a shoe has feelings. And this dragging, stopping, ripping makes me lose control and drives me totally crazy, nuts, tango-gaga. And her, too. Only I feel her trembling, and transpiring a little between her toes. She must be so glad when the tanda ends.

Before every milonga tanda, a pair of black lacquer shoes with white border stop in front of me. Silly, so much varnish - a little bit is elegant, but this sparkling is really importunate, and likewise is what those shoes request of me. Permanently I am to tip on the floor, bounce back, tipple, click with the heel and much more. I'm no sissy, really, but this is too much. Last time, I hurt the shoe with a big scratch, right in front. That's what he gets out of it, a scratched face. It's won't be soon that he comes back to us for a dance?.

Sometimes, a golden puma sneaker stops me, usually when we listen to electrotango. And I am to jump over it. What a shame for a classical tango shoe! Does he ever think about my heel? I could severely hurt myself when landing! And then, those rollercoaster-swings - boleos, they're called - I'm getting sick! But I know she loves such plays? and when she is really happy, she curls her leg round his hips so that my heel is close to his thigh and I can see the world from above. This calms me down, usually?. Very late, shortly before the end of the milonga, an unostentatious Werner Kern comes round. Pretty much rubbed off, no longer black but rather grey, heel resoled several times. I like that shoe. Sometimes, it glides around my red lace top, caresses softly her foot, even up to her ankle. And then she moans softly. I think she likes it, too, that shoe. Perhaps even the foot which goes with it. I can't tell exactly, because every time these shoes walk us home, I am to spend the night in my bag.

(1) Found on Ed Loomis' Newsletter