Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Experiences with Comme Il Fauts

Experience 1:

I have only one pair of CIFs which I love! They are quite battered now as I wear them for every practica and milongas but every scuff I accept as a sign that I have worn them well and danced in them fully.

Last week however, I received a newsletter saying a new shipment had arrived. I glanced at them more out of curiosity and then my eye was caught by the MOST MARVELLOUS pair. I ummed, I ahhed and then went to bed. All of the next day, I was in a dilemma with the 2 voices in my head battling:

- ‘Look at the price, ridiculous!’

- ‘But they are lovely!’

- ‘And the cost for shipping them’

- ‘But they are so Me!’

On and on it went until finally, at 10pm in the evening I decided to have another look at them. But where are they now? Only in the huge SOLD section! I was gutted and felt bereft. Oh course, now I’m convinced they were the most perfect pair ever and they are now on someone else’s feet! I’d post a picture of them but I daren’t in case, a London tanguera has bought them and will have to know that I salivate every time she passes by with her shoes!

Experience 2:

CIFs inspire high emotions. I wrote the piece above when I was in a flippant mood, piqued to the post by another buyer somewhere but at other times, I feel quite differently about CIFs. When I first started tango, I was reluctant to buy a proper pair of tango shoes, as I felt that I needed to prove my worth, to show that I was here dancing tango because I loved it and not just because I could buy some pretty shoes. When I got a bit better, I realised that the shoes I liked most (and which others held in high esteem) were Commies and so I decided that is what I had to have – but the expense! Could I really justify paying that much for a pair of shoes, especially when I could use that money to purchase myself a good month of classes and milongas? I waited and saved and then when I was finally 1 (tango) year old, I made my big purchase. I felt so grown up and have been delighted with them ever since.

Here comes the ‘But’ though. Sure, CIFs feel good and make my feet look pretty but really do they make me a better tanguera?*

I was a bit peeved (to put it politely) when a few weeks ago, I met a woman at a milonga who was wearing a gorgeous pair of Commies. We chatted a little and then she asked how many pairs of tango shoes, more specifically CIFS, did I own? When I told her just the one pair, she laughed and said that I obviously wasn’t a tango obsessive and that she owned 15 pairs! After she sashayed away, I thought that for all her CIFs, it hadn’t made her a star on the dance floor. She danced well but no better than half a dozen other tangueras (who I know don’t own nearly as many pairs as her). CIFs are beautiful but unfortunately, they can’t necessarily make you a beautiful dancer. For that, you need hard work, commitment and something undefinable. All of which you are more likely to find in a good teacher than in your shoe closet!

*I should state here though, that undeniably they have made me dance a little bit better but that’s mainly because the shoes I had before were not proper dance shoes – just street shoes that looked the part.


  1. I'm pretty much with you on this. Proper dance shoes are much more comfortable to dance in than street shoes, but beyond that I don't find the brand matters at all. I have one pair of CiFs and I dance OK in them; they're very light and well balanced, but I just don't like the heel height. They're excellent for some people but they don't really suit my feet or my body and I just don't wear them much. I dance better in a pair of salsa shoes that cost £40 in the sale.

  2. Mariela Franganillo often taught in her regular street shoes, whatever they were seasonal. :-)
    I was always amazed to see her pivoting on those seemingly impossible to dance on shoes, effortlessly, like a greased wheel. It is the feet not the shoes that makes a good dancer.

    That being said, I seldom invite a woman who is not in her 4" heel to dance in a formal milonga, regardless how good she is. I believe that woman who is not dressing to her best to a milonga doesn't have the right attitude, therefore is not worth of inviting. :-) ( I might get crucified for saying this...)

  3. TP - I'm waiting to see if the sparks fly! ;-)

  4. Meh. People can wear whatever they want, and dance with whoever they want, on whatever criteria make sense to them.