Well, what do you know? It really does take two to tango.
This rather obvious lesson was driven home to me in yet another one of my carnival side show dreams that, as usual, had me rolling out bed with a hearty cry of “what the hell?” before I was able to unravel its twisted message.
I should stress that this really wasn’t a nightmare, certainly not in comparison with some of the head-banging shock rides that I’ve suffered through over the years. This was more awkward than awful and it was also instructive.
In the dream I had volunteered to put on a tango demonstration for my coworkers at some kind of company function.
We already know it’s a dream because it has the words “volunteer” and “tango” attached to my name, which could never happen in the real world.
Obviously the tango is a partner dance, a beautiful, sensual experience that cannot possibly be performed by one person, especially if that person is me.
Tango advocates suggest that the dance “makes people feel more relaxed, sexier, and less depressed, and increases testosterone levels,” which sounds like something I should investigate.
There was a story about a French ambassador to Argentina who, when asked his opinion of the tango, said “we do the same thing in France, only lying down.”
Nevertheless, the emcee of this strange little affair called my name and as I walked up to the front of this darkened ballroom I wondered, how the hell did I get myself into this fiasco?
The host handed me a flashlight—don’t ask me why—and stepped back to let me strut my stuff.
But when I clicked the switch, nothing happened, and I stood there in the dark unable to do my act—whatever the hell it was.
I felt relieved not being able to dance and I apologized to my coworkers.
“But you can dance!” a fellow at a nearby table said encouragingly.
Things get hazy after that and I woke up a short time later, quite dazed and extremely confused.
However, I’m starting to decode the images in this odd vision and the results are quite telling.
The most obvious emotion here--and I almost missed it--is the longing for companionship. "Dancing With Myself" may have been a hit for Billy Idol, but it leaves a lot to be desired in real life.
I have also been in work situations where I was extremely unsure of myself, worried that I didn’t know how to do a particular job and frustrated that I was failing to fulfill my life’s purpose.
But I was so desperate to have a steady paycheck that I said “yes” to whatever was on the table.
That supportive voice in the dark? I think that person was a stand-in for some more assured part of myself or for family members who were trying to build my confidence.
When I was struggling with my math classes in high school, my dear mother would always encourage me by saying “you’re a smart boy!” That may be true but I can sure get myself into some pretty stupid circumstances.
I must confess that the image of a dysfunctional cylindrical object has phallic connotations that I’d rather not think about, so let us slide off in another direction.
I’m still stressed about some major issues in my life and I want to find something that truly suits my talents.
So there are some important lessons in this little delusion. Never lie about your skills, don’t get stuck in bad situations, and if someone asks you if you know how to do a one-man tango, for God’s sake keep your mouth shut.