No more kissing: an update

DUE TO COLOSSAL stupidity on the parts of a couple of young relatives last March, I swore off the Latino custom of rampant kissing and hugging.

I had never liked it in the first place.

Some will remember my post on the matter in April. In brief, this is what happened: The two young relatives nudged their toddler in my direction one evening to give me a goodbye kiss, which she did. Seconds later, they revealed they were on their way to a doctor’s office because they suspected the child might have chickenpox.

And she surely did.

I have never had chickenpox, a very contagious affliction that is serious business to adults and even graver (pun intended) for elderly adults, which I am. I then sweated bullets the next three weeks, the time it normally requires for chickenpox to appear after one is exposed. Luckily, I did not get sick. I have since been vaccinated.

I was mad as hell and immediately decided to opt out of the kissing custom. Obviously, the locals cannot be trusted. Gotta bad cold? No matter. Kiss. Got the flu even? No matter. Kiss. Got the bubonic plague, leprosy? No matter. Kiss. One who does not live in a Latino nation cannot grasp the power of this idiotic custom.

You do it. No matter what. Or you are rude and cold.

Well, I ain’t doing it no more. And I have not since March, and I won’t in the future.

emoji-emoticon-kiss-lips-Favim.com-4738930When I announced this decision to relatives here on the mountaintop, I was met with both surprise and amusement. The crazy Gringo. The one relative I thought would have the most trouble with my decision is my child bride’s sister who owns the coffee shop downtown where I hang out a lot.

I had to kiss her a hundred times a day, or so it seemed.

She is extremely traditional and provincial to boot. But after a day or two, surprisingly, she was okay with it, and now we throw air kisses on seeing one another the first time each day, or we just wave and smile. I do the same with the rest of the kin.

We also have relatives in the nearby capital city and in Querétaro farther north. Those folks do not know of my smooching decision, and I’ve yet to encounter any of them since the chickenpox scare. Since I rarely see them, I likely will just kiss them and be done with it, which will be easier than explaining it all.

But I am enjoying my new, kiss-liberated life. I’m not a kissy person anyway. The only person hereabouts whom I want to kiss is my wife. Nobody else.

So this is working out fine.

If you see me, do not expect a kiss. But I will shake your hand.

If you don’t have chickenpox.

Is marriage hard work?

A FRIEND RECENTLY wrote that marriage is hard work. He has only been married once, and still is. I have been married three times, which gives me a better, I think, perspective on this matter.

Is marriage really hard work?

It’s not necessarily hard work, but it surely can be, depending on who you are and to whom you’re married. Your age has lots to do with it, especially the age you were when you tied the knot. Marriage is easier when you start late. That’s not always the case, but it is most of the time, I believe.

Let’s look at my three marriages and the level of work they entailed.

Number One was a self-inflicted shotgun marriage. That means we got married because “we” were pregnant. I say the shotgun marriage was self-inflicted because getting married was my idea, not that of my child’s mother.

She was prepared to go down another route.

I could have left the shotgun in the closet and gone about my business, as many would have done. I didn’t. Not sure why. But it led into a difficult marriage, one that was hard work indeed. I worked at it five years.

Then I hightailed it and began a six-year vacation.

Number Two. I’m not sure whether this was hard work or not because I was into the sauce by this time. I was stone sober at work, often not when off work. Wife Number Two eventually decided it was hard work, at least for her, because she called it quits after about 19 years. Maybe it wasn’t hard work for her at first.

I was cast out into yet another six-year vacation.

Number Three. Here’s where other factors kick in, mainly cultural differences, ones that make matrimony much less work, at least for men. The stereotype of fiery, in-your-face, Latina women aside, the reality is that Latinas are far more accommodating than Gringa gals.

Militant feminism, which has resulted in many American women ending up alone,* is not a significant force in Latino Land. Latinas do not subscribe to the phrase, incorrectly attributed to Gloria Steinem, that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.**

In Latino culture, marriage can be hard work for women, but it’s rarely so for us guys. For us, it’s usually a cake walk, so much so that we can have one family on one side of town and another on the other side. Literally.

Since one wife at a time is enough for me, and I do not think my child bride considers our matrimony to be hard work, I declare my current situation to be a stroll in the park. It’s not hard work at all.

So, is marriage hard work? It can be. It’s far less likely to be hard work if you move out of the United States in a southerly direction. For men, at least.

* * * *

* My second ex-wife is an example of this. A child of the ’60s, she has dumped two bicycles husbands. I was the second.

** An Australian woman, Irina Dunn, said it.