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Visiting One’s Girlfriend

Estimado Señor Pablo, (Dear Mr. Pablo)

With all due respect that I have for you, I send you this letter to ask your kind permission to visit your house. Your daughter, Rosita, and I love each other and we would like to make formal our relationship. It has been several months now that we have been talking and thinking of our love and now I would like your permission to visit at your house if you are kind enough. I promise to respect you and your family and to visit at the specified days and time that you may grant me.

I really love your daughter and I beg your kindness in allowing me to visit her at your home. I shall appreciate your reply to inform me when I may start visiting.

Sincerely yours,
Antoño Macareno


With this letter Antono, who has been courting and seeing Rosita at the park, at parties and on the streets, announces to Rosita’s parents his good intentions towards their daughter. She also thinks that Antono is a gorgeous man with a good future as a fisherman and she encourages him to ask permission to visit her formally at home. For his part, Antono also wants to make formal his relationship for he is already twenty and she is fifteen. She has been his “enamorada” (girlfriend) and now he wants her to be his “novia” (fiance).

This letter, 25 years ago, Antono would write in his best handwriting or have a confidential friend of his write it out. He would place the letter in an envelope and send it to his future father-in-law. He could pay any little boy on the street 25 cents for special delivery. If he wants to look good and gain favor with the family, he would send it with a young brother of his girlfriend. Now if he is courageous and really wants to gain the upper hand and admiration of the father-in-law, he would deliver the letter personally.

This custom of writing letters to request visiting privileges and rights to a girl’s home was common 25 years ago. It was official. It was a required and necessary practice. A father would feel offended if a boy would start coming to his house without this formal request and his official consent. A young man could accompany a girl to her home and perhaps remain a few minutes in casual conversation, but never would he enter the house and stay for a considerable time.

After receipt of this letter, the father would then do several things. He would inquire whether the daughter also loved the young man. He would discuss with his wife whether she consented to this relationship. He would also talk to the young man’s parents to find out whether they know and approve of this relationship. He would also inquire whether this particular young man has written and sent other similar letters to other parents and whether he was a “don Juan” (Casanova). Once satisfied of his investigations, he would then respond with another letter. This sometimes took a week or two or even a month. During this long week or weeks, the boy is in tension and almost in fear. He, of course, would be his best self. He would dress well and pass often by the girl’s house. He would not drink, trying to cause a good impression. He would not smoke, nor curse, nor swear and try in general to be a fine gentleman. And then finally, one day a little boy would approach him with an envelope with a reply letter. And then the nervousness and tension increases. This could be a letter of rejection or a letter of acceptance. In our next week’s episode, we shall have those two letters and what followed consequently.

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