Had We But World Enough
A sci fi tango story
This story first appeared on the blog Tango Addiction in 2011. Developments in AI may have brought us a little closer to this reality in the interim—in some ways, perhaps, too close and yet, in others, not close enough.
The women were seated around the dance floor three uncomfortable, elbow-jogging rows deep that night at the El Beso venue for their Sunday evening Argentine tango event, which was populated, as so often, with a plethora of women and a sad paucity of men to dance with us.
As I tried to tuck my shoe bag—bulging awkwardly with my bulky street shoes like a strange foot-eating python—under my seat, I felt other shoes being slid away. I bent down to peer at the floor and tried to rearrange the mess of footwear and handbags (and a cardigan which had slithered to the floor like a discarded snakeskin) and still find a comfortable way to rearrange my legs in their habitual cross, right over left. My neighbour slipped an iPhone553 out of her bag, unrolled the tissue-paper thin screen, consulted it with a slight frown and then—poof—she was gone. Teleporting is always a risky strategy. Clearly, wherever she was going, there were plenty of male dancers: but her iPhone display could only show crude statistics. Were they good dancers? And would she get to dance with them if they were? Those were the big unknowns.