Posts Tagged ‘forró’

The Forró Night

“We’ll be 31 for one day.” Bumping into Marcos on the N55 not only saved my night but also caused me to reinterpret his sentence (from Friday’s milonga) to indicate Marcos and I were meant to become ‘we’. That ‘we’ couples use to represent themselves as part of the institution of the paired up. A simple factual conclusion connected to our dates of birth, was somehow transformed into a prediction of us being together. On my romantic mind, that was. Tra-la-la-la.

The faint chance of him showing up at Arpoador was also enough to make me change tops 3 times before deciding on what would go well with the forró’s casual environment and suit me best. I put on my favourite pair of jeans and settled for a comfortable but flattering blue scoop top. Heels were out of question for a forró and I was quite happy about that, ballet flats were cute and would allow me to commute easily and dance comfortably the whole night.

"Caruaru, São João 2005 - Trio forró" by Allan Patrick

I arrived early to Arpoador to avoid the queue, left my handbag and coat in the cloakroom and went upstairs to the bar. I got myself a lovely passion fruit caipirinha to get in the Brazilian mood while I waited for Eduardo and Laura, but I never finished it. Soon after I left the bar towards the dance ring to watch the dancers, a tall man approached me and I parted with the passion fruit. He was Portuguese and a passable dancer, but much better than my next two partners: sleazy guys who couldn’t dance and sort of mistook the whole thing for pressing their bodies against mine.

“Less competitive than salsa and less pedantic than tango” people said. With that kind of clientele in view, the forró’s once endearing simplicity and inclusiveness – often backed up by the supposed, but apparently mistaken, origin of the word as deriving from ‘for all’ – didn’t seem quite a good idea. In almost two months of Friday milonga I had only encountered one pervert; it was clear to me that tango’s ‘pedantic’ image was doing regular dancers a favour in filtering the crowd and scaring off the freaks and pervs. I kept looking at the door, trying to find Marcos, Pedro, Laura and Eduardo. As I saw the latter coming into the room, I abandoned my second disastrous partner claiming I needed to talk to my friends:

— ‘Thank God you came, I got an excuse to run away from the perv.’

— ‘Already?’, Laura asked.

— ‘Um hum.’

— ‘That’s why we haven’t come as often, those types started coming after the success of the carnival parties. You must avoid them, Gena.’, Eduardo said protectively.

— ‘They are a pain! They don’t understand the dancing culture, so they try to hump you or just stare at your boobs while they barely move.’, continued Laura.

— ‘Freaks! I thought people came here for a dance.’

Laura’s friend Fabiano arrived and came to talk to us.

— ‘Dance with her’, Laura pretty much ordered him, ‘she just danced with clueless gringos so far.’

— ‘My pleasure.’ Fabiano said as he did the inviting opening and got me into his arms.

We danced a fast baião with little jumps and all and I was happy again. He was an awesome dancer and he seemed to take Laura’s orders seriously, so it turned out to be a great night for me as he was often inviting me for more dances, from the energetic quick ones to my favourite slow and sensual xotes.

Marcos did not turn up. I would have liked him too and I would not have minded the slightest if he was not that interested in the dance. I quit looking at the door and decided to leave just before midnight. Eduardo and Laura insisted on walking me to the bus stop before leaving to the tube. As we walked, the N55 went by us and a weird sense of alertness took me over. Every red bus in that city had the potential of bringing me a smile and open arms. London transport had also been altered for me.

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Saturday met me with a list of house chores: supermarket, laundry and tiding up my room were my top priorities.  I made myself a strong espresso and checked the news on the net as I wrote down a more detailed ‘to do’ list.  Nothing shook me out of the happy tra-la-la-ing mode I had got into since the previous night.

Eduardo called and invited me to join him and his girlfriend Laura for dinner and a friend’s house party later in the evening.  I happily said yes to both events and carried on with the weekend’s duties until it was time to get ready to go.  The party had a colour theme and not the easiest one for winter: who wears yellow when it is freezing cold outside? I found a yellow top and decided it would have to do.  A few layers of coats would probably hide it, but there wasn’t anything else yellow I could get my hands on.  I picked a bottle of wine and left for the tube. 

Dinner was pleasant and low-key.  It was just the three of us catching up on our latest developments.  We also made plans for going to Arpoador for the forró night on the following evening, which got us all excited.  Eduardo and Laura had been regulars when they first started dating, but hadn’t been to their Sunday nights for quite a while.  I had only been once, in May, when I visited London during a time in which Fabian and I were on a break.  They did the best to cheer me up, back then, ‘An Argentinean, Gena? Find yourself a Brazilian and forget him.’;  and I did my best to follow their advice and had a great time, so I was looking forward to going back.

As us girls got our last adjusts for the night, Eduardo announced he wasn’t too well and did not feel like going out, but he helped us find our way to and back from the party with the tube and the night bus itineraries.  We faced rain and some uncertainties as to where to turn on our way, but made it safely – and early – to the party.

The night was a downer, we had some yellow drinks that carried a lot of prosecco in them, which certainly helped, but nothing much happened.  We were among the first to arrive but 3 hours later the party still consisted of a small group of girls roughly 5 years younger than me, gathering for some fun that didn’t quite unfold.  It certainly was not worth crossing the city to Farringdon on a rainy night for, and going back on the night bus would be a trek!  We said goodbye to our host and strode shivering to the bus stop, as we agreed it was lucky that Eduardo hadn’t joined us.

It wasn’t long until the N55 arrived, but the clock showed 2AM already. Luckily, the bus was reasonably empty, so we sat together and warmed up quickly.  Two stops later, the door opened allowing a merry crowd in.  When the tall, curly man wearing the black leather jacket validated his oyster card and moved towards us passengers, I could not hold my surprise:

— ‘Marcos!’

— ‘Eugènia!’, he opened his arms widely and fired his best smile.

— ‘I can’t believe it!’

— ‘Were you at the milonga too? How come we didn’t see one another?’

— ‘No, we were at a house party. By the way, Marcos this is Laura. Laura, Marcos.’

— ‘Hi Laura.’

— ‘Hi Marcos.’

His friend Pedro and a girl came to join us and stood up near our seats, so we went through a new round of greetings.

— ‘So you were dancing again.’, I resumed talking to Marcos.by Pierre Andrews

— ‘Yes, you should have come, it was a good night.’

— ‘Cool.’

— ‘Do you know if there is any tango tomorrow?’

— ‘Apparently the Holborn people are holding practices from late afternoon on Sundays.’

—   ‘Well, I don’t think it’s on.  I tried last week, but there wasn’t anything.’

—   ‘This is so strange, they sent out an e-mail announcing the practice.’

—   ‘Yes, but believe me, I was there banging on the door around 6 and I stayed there until almost 7 and no one came to answer.’

—   ‘Are you some kind of tango freak?’

—   ‘No. No.’, he laughed, ‘It’s just that as Pedro was coming to visit to check the prospects of moving to London, I wanted to map the city’s tango circuit.’

—    ‘Fair enough. Oh, shoot! My stop.’, I rung the bell and stood up hastily. ‘It was lovely to see you guys again’, I looked at the guys but mostly at Marcos, ‘See you tomorrow, right Laura?’

— ‘See you’, she said

— ‘Bye bye’, I said to all.

— ‘Bye’, they responded.

I got off the bus and walked a block to get to the right stop for my second bus home tra-la-la-ing happily again, the image of Marcos smiling with his arms wide open on my mind.

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