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It Was All About Machismo

Oooops, I thought. Ambergris Today is coming up with a new and exciting column. I better sharpen up with my skills or that column can swallow me and send me to anonymity. And so I thought of writing this week about a topic that interests everyone, especially women.

Twenty five years ago in San Pedro there was a lot of chauvinism. Let’s call it machismo because it is about the male being macho and dominating women in more than one way. Whether conscious or not, twenty five years ago men required that their wives warm up their buckets of water so that they could take a bucket shower. “Mi amor (my love) warm up my water please.” And the wife proceeded to heat a kettle of water over the fire hearth and take it to the bathroom where he, like a king, warmed his bucket of well water for his bath. This was not as simple as it sounds because it involved lighting up the firewood and keeping the fire going.

At meal time, the woman had to remain around the table flapping a piece of cloth to keep away the houseflies from interfering with her husband so that he could have a comfortable meal. Flies in the kitchen? Of course, there were no screened doors or air conditioned dining areas in the house. Oh, you don’t believe that about the wife flapping the flies away. That is absolutely true; she did it as her duty, not because he demanded it, but it was expected.

Well, we hear that today some men require of their wives to put on their socks, but that was not a norm of twenty five years ago because back then the men did not wear shoes. However the wife was expected to do all the laundry, iron all the clothing and more than that, she had to apply starch to her husband’s clothing so it would be stiff and looking sharp at wearing time. Of course, that was long before the “wash & wear” times.

During these machismo days twenty five years ago, when there was a dance, the man could go to the dance alone if the wife was not in the disposition to go along. But if the husband was sick, the wife could not go alone. Oh, no she had to stay home and take care of her “king”. It would be a big offence if she did go alone and a cause for much controversy. I could go on with more examples, but we can leave some for another issue.

Twenty five years ago it was said that “En la casa los pantalones los lleva el hombre. (In the home, the pants are worn by the man.) Today the pants are washed by both the man and the woman, and worn too.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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