Erroneous Idioms: “It takes two to tango”

When taken absolutely literally, I suppose this saying isn’t untrue. I can’t attest to that, as I don’t dance, and now have a funny image in my head of someone tango-ing by themselves.

I imagine the way this saying is most frequently used is in relation to altercations of some kind. When someone says “It takes two to tango,” they often mean to insinuate that a fight between two people needs two willing participants who intended and willfully got into that fight (hopefully I’m fairly representing the usage, any straw-man is unintentional).


As always, it shouldn’t take much thinking to realize what bullshit this is.

First of all, ladies, if anyone ever tries to tell you in relation to domestic violence that “you must have done something to provoke him,” “it takes two to tango,” or worse, “you must have done something to deserve it,” you have my permission to punch them in the throat. Physical violence is never deserved. Not only that, but domestic violence is an obvious example of “fights” with unwilling participants.

Even outside of domestic violence, there are some people in this world who do actively look for violence, and try to initiate it when they can. It starts to sound like a victim blaming practice the more you think about it. Is the mugging victim guilty of tango-ing with their mugger?

It doesn’t always “take two to tango.” Don’t let anyone try to use this corrupted rationale on you.