Gay Tango may not be at the top of the list for most tourists to visit Argentina but when I learned that the seductive dance was first practiced and perfected by men dancing together in the streets of Buenos Aires, it was reason enough for me to go.
I can speak-sing out the praises of Argentina with the best of them but unlike Madge my love doesn’t stop in Buenos Aires. Exploring outside the ‘Paris of South America’ has proved very fruitful, like my trip to Mendoza. (As a disclaimer I’d like to mention that no sensuous meal, breathtaking view or exhilarating experience described in this article will rival the pure bliss of simply men-watching in Argentina.)
Unfortunately I did not arrive and simply stumble into men dancing the gay tango on every corner under a street lamp as I would have hoped. I had to go searching for a partner to practice with and find out if the gay tango was a myth or real!
First things first – I met a tall, dark and devastatingly handsome guy and we hit it off immediately with so much to say to each other we couldn’t express it. Marcello spoke no English and I managed to croak out, “no hablo español.”
Armed with the fanciful ideas of all the innuendo we would be serving each other if our tongues permitted we took off on bicycles for an afternoon of wine tasting. Two of the main industries of Mendoza are olive oil production and wine making. Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America and one of nine cities worldwide named the Great Capitals of Wine, providing honeymooners, I mean interlopers like Marcello and I hundreds of wineries in the region to explore.
Our day didn’t end getting drunk but it certainly started that way. Marcello suggested detox was in order and he knew just the spot – Cacheuta Hot Water Spring Spa. The spa has a beautifully appointed view of the surrounding riverbed canyon and the mud from its banks has healing properties for the skin. What are two dudes to do? We rolled in the mud and then sun baked on lounge chairs until we were hard as clay pots. Marcello coaxed me with his midnight eyes to lift my palms to the sun and receive its energy, “like the ancients.”
Dining out is a major part of Mendoza’s nightlife and I do mean nightlife. No one breaks bread before ten pm. Los Chocos proved to be the most unique experience. It’s a gay-owned and operated restaurant serving a gourmet eight course dinner in a private home similar to the Paladares in Havana, Cuba.
Special local Mendoza cuisine was complemented with perfect Malbec wines, wonderful company and amazingly creative food with mouthwatering flavors. After dinner a leisurely stroll, perhaps some refreshingly cool crema helada –ice cream- and a visit to a local gay bar will be the perfect end to a fun-filled day. Either Queen or La Reserva Pub – the major LGBT bars in town – located in the heart of downtown Mendoza will be open and waiting to entertain you until dawn, or perhaps even later.
Join Marcello and me on a zip line over a canyon and some white water rafting in this video.
No visit to Mendoza would be complete without my elusive Gay Tango. Marcello pulled me into his arms and I began to understand why South Americans think Argentines are stuck up… it’s easy for a cock to crow when there’s so much to be proud of.
Want to learn more about the history of gay tango? Well, wouldn’t you know, I made a little video for you!
Okay, you guessed it. Although Marcello was an awesome sport and willing to practice the gay tango with me, he is actually… straight. Yeah, I can’t help but get along with straight dudes and have the occasional bromance. You can explore more bromance stories in Forces, the October 13th story in Shadowlands, and Mulligans.