From Ramiro Gigliotti "Tango Venom" with permission of the author

Excerpted from "Tango Venom" by Ramiro Gigliotti. (pp.53-55)
Mister Prejudice

Come on, me prejudiced? Impossible -I responded flustered.

I was accused of being prejudiced because I upheld the notion that a guy was not going to learn to do a proper turn as long as he kept chewing gum while dancing.

It was not that night, nor the next one, but after a time I had to accept that they were there. It's hard to see them, hard to admit them, hard to understand them. Prejudices hide in the most inhospitable spots of our good judgment and they nest there. They gro, they study and when you least expect it they present themselves with the air of profound thinkers and the manners of a young gentleman educated in the best schools. Then, since we are honorable people, we have no other alternative than tale a firm stance and unfold a poker game's worth of arguments that confine those prejudices to some dark corner of the stomach.

We know that it is not true that all women wearing denim skirts dance badly, in the same way that he who believes that those in narrow skirts dispense with underwear is wrong... Not all the guys wearing glasses are intelligent, nor are all bald guys pleasant... One must admit that not all blonde women are hysterical, or all brunettes sexually assertive... and that not all natural redheads have read the Kamasutra, and that not all hair salon redheads have problems getting a boyfriend...

And then what happened was, having decided to fight my erroneous zones, I suddenly transformed into a crusader against prejudice. I quickly strayed from the path of sanity: coming to the conclusion that in every statement there exists an implicit prejudice and I protected myself from them by refusing to have a firm opinion on anything. I was capable of agreeing to the existence of a cube-shaped ball in order to avoid discriminating against right angles. Life was transformed into an eternal "it could be, why not?"

It wasn't bad to feel like a righteous thinking democrat so easily, but spending so much time amongst infinite possibilities left me with the need to grasp at least a minimum of certainty. I remember that the first indication that my anti-prejudice phase was over was when I caught myself thinking that all guys who danced with D'Arienzo sweated like pigs. And suddenly, as if they had been stalking me biding their time, prejudices invaded everything: cross-eyed women have shapely curves, guys that like waltz are barely virile, that in Lanús brunettes are born knowing how to dance rock-and-roll, guys who wear short-sleeved shirts have Oedipus as well as other frankly shameful complexes...

Since then I have been trying to rediscover my equilibrium. I've realized that prejudice is a crazed treacherous being that thinks on our behalf, making us say things we don't really believe. In addition, in many situations, we fall into prejudice simply due to sheer laziness, convenience or stupidity.

And then, the inevitable, unavoidable question: which prejudice causes us more damage: the one that we are not aware of and transforms us into fools or the one that we are aware of and fills us with shame when we see ourselves in the mirror?

Excerpted from "Tango Venom"by Ramiro Gigliotti. Ediciones El Tangauta. 2009.

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