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El "Novio" Visits His Girlfriend

After writing letters to the parents of his girlfriend, Alberto finally received the letter of consent and he is overjoyed that now Angelita is no more his girlfriend but his official fiancĂ©. They are no more “enamorados”; now they are “novios”. It is Monday, August 5, and it is the day that Alberto will start to visit Angelita officially as her “novio”.

At Angelita’s house there are new curtains, a freshly scrubbed wooden floor, two new chairs and the children have been instructed that they must be in bedhammock before 7 p.m. Angelita has made the best of herself, making sure she put on her “chorros” (curls) which her novio loves so dearly.

Alberto, on the other hand, has put on his nice black pants, which he normally only used to wear for Easter, a long-sleeved shirt tucked in, and he placed a white handkerchief in his back pocket with a tip of it showing outside. He goes to the store or saloon to buy a pack of spearmint or P.K. chewing gum and a bar of chocolate for his “novia”.

At 7 p.m. sharply, he heads towards Angelita’s house, only a block away. Mrs. Tulita Rosado, the mother, greets him a good night and invites him to come in. Angelita shyly says “Good night”, and sits down. Alberto sits beside her on a wooden chair, and Tulita and Ramon Rosado also sit down. Mr. Ramon lights up a Colonial cigarette and tries to start a conversation. He settle down after Alberto offers the ladies chewing gum, the mother taking only one piece and Angelita gets a full pack of spearmint chewing gum. She will not chew them. She will save them throughout their courting period and in a year she will have a box full. After a short time, the mother and the father leave the room so that the couple can have their private moment and be able to interact, which was the purpose of the visiting period. Whenever Alberto would get the opportunity, he would steal a kiss from Angelita. After a two-hour period, the mother would start to indicate that it was time for Alberto to leave. She would walk about busily indicating that she was ready to go to bed. If Alberto did not budge, she would clear her throat loudly indicating to her daughter that she should bid him good night. If Angelita still did not do her part, the mother would put a broom upside down and everybody knew what that meant. Besides, it was common belief that the visitor would soon have need to use the bathroom.

Alberto knew that he had to court or visit the home for about two years. This was the necessary time required for them to fully know each other. During this period, never would the boy be allowed to enter the girl’s room. Never would he take her out to a dance alone. They would have to be chaperoned by the mother or some close relative like an aunt. Never would he be allowed to travel to some other country in the company of the girl. Never would there be any kissing or petting in public. The parents expected their daughter to be respected.

Now believer it or not, with all these tight regimental rules, there was still some hanky panky at time. From time to time there was a teenage and unexpected pregnancy. From time to time a young girl eloped with her boy because she could not wait for two full years or because the mother was not treating the boy right.

However, dating twenty five years ago meant visiting the girl at her house. It was a way of life and he was expected to visit every night as long as he was in town. If he did not show up, that was an indication that something was going wrong. By the way, for the record, the longest visiting time was 8 years. So long in this exciting series of dating twenty five years ago.

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