“Polissez la Saucisse” Thumbs Up!

A few years back I found this hilarious translation:

polissez la saucisse_resized

I swear, I pissed my panties laughing!

Phonetics and translations… what fun! Polish Sausage as a noun, and then in French they use the verb form – in the (polite) imperative – polissez! la saucisse – polish the sausage – (phonetically in English it sounds like pawlish) If I were still on the scene teaching tango I would take it upon myself to ‘police’ what I view as an aberrant (& abhorrent ;-) physical deformation found pretty well everywhere in Argentine tango these days. This is the only partnered social dance where this deformation occurs with such ‘enthusiasm’. Gawd, it’s almost a virus; a pandemic! ;-)  As it is, I just amuse myselfish with the above phrase when I see pictures of Montreal tango teachers extending their ‘sausages’ in public in such a provocative manner as this. Check the look on Bobby’s face when a girl grabs his seasoned sausage! woot !!  ;-)

Originally I thought I could limit the backlash from this post to a few of the men teaching in Montreal (i.e. those pictured above, and a couple others). But no, as it turns out, I’m in deep shit. Here in Montreal, the protagonists presenting their perky pickles for polishing, by their potently passionate practitioners of digit-rub are extensive. Yep. After researching all of the boyz presently teaching tango in Montreal, I can confirm that there are only (four) three men in town that do not proffer their erectile digits for public postulation. These (four) three are: Paul Montpetit, Geraldo Sanchez, Clémont Lafond and Bernard Caron. Chez Coco_Thumbs Up

So congratulations to those (four) three gentlemen; it may not mean much to some, but to me this is a mark of sophistication in your embrace and (overall) poise in your dancing. Bravo!

I think I know where this pettish peter portrayal began: ‘the Coke Brothers’. The so-called fathers of neo-tango (Gustavo, Chicho, Fabian). Nowadays, those guys are more like atrophied grandfathers, wasted shadows of their former selves – check out their latest YouTube vids at recent events. (Aside: for decades people attempting to guess my age would miss by at least ten years. When asked what was my secret I told them “moderate abuse of recreational substances”. A word to the wise bro’, a bit late as it may be. ;-)

So this prodigious digit presentation is now world-wide. Even one of my favourite dancers is culpable in its propagation. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Sebastian Arce.


So it’s not just the boyz in Montreal. Clearly this peculiar pecker parade is simply a conspicuous ‘nuance’ that has little to do with marketing success. So be it. Hey, it’s just one of the first things I notice in a photo, improvisation or choreography; but that’s me (a freaking ballet dancer fer gawd sake).

Recently Endré Szeghalmi posted a short blog about the leader’s left arm in tango; she entitled it “The Dangerous Embrace“. In the blog she publishes a “good 4” photo where the man’s weathercock is in the wind, presumably assessing his evening’s portentous possibilities. In the article Endré mostly talks about comfort for the woman, and differentiates between show and salon tango dancers. She does not address the obvious… like, who teaches this shit?! And, is this ‘dumb-thumb’ craze the result of people’s downward gaze, endlessly fascinated by the fornicating figures they’re performing with their feet and legs, while neglecting the finer points of connection?!! You tell me.

Speaking of teaching, Andrea Shepherd recently wrote in her “Twenty tango lessons: Part Two: It’s all about that embrace” she writes: “On a technical level… what I tell my students these days: Use your hands more and your arms less.”

Yikes! Wat da fook is she talkin’ about? I don’t like this at all, because I’m certain she has beginner dancers that think ‘how do I make my hands more active? …after all, it was the first thing she mentioned’. (Andrea goes on to describe how she teaches the embrace. Disclaimer: it’s hard for me to read her blogs, she’s such a suburban wine-Mom (& whine-Mom too) and kaka karen, cancel culture creature.)

For me, a teaching principle that I employed to auto-correct (i.e. improve & evolve) my own methods of teaching social dance came from Albert Einstein who speculated: “I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” The initial elements and examples, both verbal and visual, that are given to beginning social dance students are exceptionally important.

Ernesto Carmona provided GT with a wonderful imagery that we gratefully passed on to our apprentice teachers and students. It is this: imagine that you are holding a tray of food (while standing); we all know how to walk and turn as needed in any direction while holding our tray, without spilling the contents. The forearms are raised to 90 degrees at waist-level and extend directly in front of the body. Holding our tray in this position requires a minimum of muscle tension to maintain. To squeeze the tray serves no purpose, neither does moving the elbows behind the torso.

To allow one hand to flay to the side that deforms the original support position makes the tray fall. This was our imagery for initial arm placement in tango (and it provides the basis for the dissociation of upper body and lower body that occurs as we advance into molinetes). Holding this tray position for the first time, we would ask our students to turn and face their partner and move until they were standing toe-to-toe in front of them. We would then exclaim “Ça fit!” (It fits!) Because it does. There were only minor adjustments and explanations of where and how to place the (four) hands for a comfortable, elegant position.

This ‘tray imagery’ allowed us a relaxed and purposeful initial embrace for arms, hands and upper body. Over time of course we advanced from there to get to the close embrace, but the ‘tray’ foundation is always viable and reinforced.

Here’s an article by two long-time tango proponents Valerie Hart and Alberto Paz that speaks to the new wave of female, or follower arm positions: “The Weird Hold

In my blog here, I’ve mostly limited my remarks to the presenters of this dirty digit phenomenon. It’s fairly evident in the photos provided that a leader’s lack of full awareness of his embrace “stands out like a sore thumb“. But in many other photo/video examples of tango couples there are countless followers who are effectively ‘grooming’ these projected ‘phalli’. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes; so ladies, when you “feel it” (your tango) make sure it encompasses the whole experience (visceral, emotional, mental & physical) and that you’re not made to succumb to an unintended symbolic pleasuring of a singular digital extremity. Cheers!



DS & JB 1996

There’s one special perpetrator of this aberration in Montreal. His clients/friends on FB even comment ‘there’s that thumb!’ Here’s a montage of Jean-Sébastien Viard’s ‘crimes against palm-manity’. ;-)