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December 02, 2008

From solo tango -- to solo tango?

December 2. Day 155.

One Tuesday night in June a few years ago, at the UCSD campus, I was holding a man tight and gliding across the room. And feeling, as usual, utterly indifferent toward him. It was tango -- just tango, an incredible dance, an enchanting way to pass an evening, but far less dramatic or seductive than it seemed in the movies.

The music stopped and I walked back to the side of the room, when from the middle of the dance floor an unfamiliar face walked up and asked:

"Would you like to dance?"

I said yes, and for the rest of the night we talked as much as we danced. I couldn't stop smiling.

And here I am, writing these words on his computer, in his apartment, as he sleeps in the next room.

Tango, you see, is it for Mr. A and me. It is our beginning, our metaphor, our game, our regular date night, our promise to one another. We've danced tango to Texas two-step when we didn't know those moves, and to "Brown Eyed Girl" when it was too hard not to. When I visited Buenos Aires last spring and danced with stranger after stranger, I wished every cheek I grazed were his.

You need to know this, gentle reader, to understand that what I asked him last night was not easy. For either of us.

Mr. A has been working insane hours lately. I know that's normal in his industry, and I know he's doing it with a clear goal in mind, yet I can't help but wish things were different. I waver between wanting to help somehow, or at least encourage him to stay healthy and enjoy life a little -- and somehow respecting his decision to prioritize work over sleep and food, let alone fun.

For the past months we've kept saying we'd go to tango. But: he was at work, or finally asleep. I wanted to carve out an evening, not an hour. So on.

We started making plans, again, and then I asked, tentatively: "How would you feel if I went to tango by myself sometimes or with other friends?"

His answer -- ''Sad" -- made me sad. But he continued to say that of course I should go, and of course he should make time to go together. Of course I don't normally ask his permission to do activities, go out, see people on my own. But tango is different. Going without him, in San Diego, seems like a betrayal.

I've been wondering, since seeing Mr. A's schedule lately and realizing I'll look for a job soon, What's a couple to do. Reading tips about scheduled sex and weekly date nights and taking 10 minutes every day to chat makes me want to scream. But being two separate and insanely busy people with separate and insanely busy careers is exactly where we're headed.

So what to do? Build individual interests? Keep busy and stimulated, but always make time together a priority? And are some things -- tango -- sacred?

My questions are old, banal, uninteresting. They've been asked, and answered, in so many different ways. Yet I'm not satisfied.

What will we do?

(ps: Writing this two days later, I still haven't gone; nor have we...)
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