Last week we saw how 25 years ago Antoño requested permission from Don Pablo to visit his house and to formally declare Rosita to be his “novia” (fiancé). Here is Don Pablo’s reply.
“Estimado Antoño” (dear Antoño),
I received your letter requesting permission to visit my house and to formalize your relationship with my daughter Rosita. I regret to inform you that at the moment, I am not in the disposition to grant that permission to you or to anyone else because my daughter is too young. She is only 14 years old and has a lot to learn yet before she can make that step in preparation for marriage.
I want you to understand that I hold nothing against you. In fact, I like your family very much. If you have a sincere love for Rosita, I am sure you can wait for about a year and then I will consider it again if you are still interested in this relationship.
This was a typical letter denying the young man the permission requested to visit a young girl who was only 14 years of age and just out of primary school, but 15 was also quite common.Here is another typical reply letter received by some boys 25 years ago on the same subject but with a different tone.
You are sincerely wasting your time soliciting my permission to visit Carolina at my house. You will never get my permission since I have found out many things about you.
First of all, you have visited two or three other girls, and your relationships are all broken by you since you are not serious with girls. It is clearly known that you like to play with girls’ feelings.
One more thing, you have the bad habit of drinking and when you are under the influence of rum, you like to talk bad about the girls whom you are dating. That is not a manly thing to do, and you are not going to have the opportunity to do it with my daughter Carolina. In fact, I do not want you to approach her ever again. If you do so, I will have to arrange this thing “de hombre a hombre” (man to man).
With this letter Marcos could insist with Carolina if he really liked her, or he could decide to “give her up” if fooling around was really his intention. Or more interesting, he could challenge Don Pedro Bolas on the street or better yet when he met him at Daddy’s Club by the beach. They could have an exchange of fists and permanently put that affair into history.
So as you can see, twenty five years ago, getting a girl to like you was only half of the job. You then had to win the admiration and approval of the father and the girl’s family. Quite unlike today, girls meet boys and go out steadily many times without the knowledge of the father. They meet in the streets and all the dating is outside the home. There is little opportunity for the parents to get to know the young man, so he can be a loafer or a drunkard, a drug addict, or a basic “nincompoop” and the father has little say in the affair. The young girl does not get the benefit of parental advice because the parents do not know him. Similarly, the young man does not know how the young lady relates to her parents and family.
It is not that dating 25 years ago was better, but it certainly ensured a better understanding and more stability in the marriage, which followed. It was a formal affair, and marriage too was serious and formal. That is what is lacking in many relationships of young people today. Let’s go back to 25 years ago! Agree? Okay, get your paper and pen to write your letters requesting to visit your girlfriend. Oh no, can’t do it by phone. You’ve got to have the courage to do it in formal writing.