Written by Fidgit
As we wind up this stretch/year of walking, I thought to do a profound post, exploring the entrenched gender bias of the great Epics. I was going to relay my experience of being told repeatedly that I had better be ready to let go of my plans for this journey as soon as I found love. Then we were going to talk about Penelope waiting for Odysseus for a decade. We would explore the idea that a woman must wait for her man when left at home but not to expect the same regard from a partner. But you have slogged with me through enough heavy this year, so . . .
. . . at the insight, and wisdom of friends I have decided to relay a few of the tales of La Rosa de Guadalupe. A narrative which resonates across South America and is so pervasive that even just a few seconds of the melody and anyone would recognize it.
To get us started, and in honor of Amanda adopting London, the most perfect Pit Bull in the shelter, here is a clip from one of my favorite episodes:
In this one, a doggo saves the day multiple times AND, it seems,
it was the dog who made the prayer and summoned The Rose.
Another favorite is ‘Manuela’s First Menstruation’ but I don’t want you to think it is just all about street dogs and period cramps, no no.
It is so much more and you can choose from over 1,100 episodes!
Because it is, I confess, a weekday evening novela.
Allow me to share a few more mystical morsels which have forced themselves upon me over these last years of being in South America, where all the TVs are always on . . .
Some versions crash headfirst into the drama and flourishes of slapping, wretched tears, and terrible stage makeup but I like the ones that start off happy, with the servants behaving and polishing the sliver and the children doing their homework or begging to be taken to Mass.
1) The young couple find out they are to have their first child, and are delighted. Mom-to-be goes to take tea with mother-in-law to share the good news. Drunk and bitter divorcee sister is there and tells Mom-to-Be that it is a mistake to have children as her own innocent daughter lurks in the doorway.
Mom-to-Be becomes preoccupied with her weight, begins excessively running on the treadmill set up under an awning in the back yard. The servants and her husband keep trying to get her to eat but she won’t until one day he comes home from work a few seconds after she has passed out on the treadmill!!!
After a brief and only loosely biologically founded explanation by the Doctor, she promises to eat more and exercise less.
They go home.
Husband goes to the shrine which apparently exists in everyone’s home, and asks La Virgen to give them the best outcome. You know She heard the prayer because the heavenly music plays, a sparkling light beams directly down at the altar, and a white rose appears (but only when he is not looking).
BUT! Do you think barely preggers keeps her promise?
No, she does not!! SHE KEEPS EXERCISING and AGAIN passes out on the treadmill.
Naturally this time she goes into early labor and the baby is born preemie and kept in a tank. In a whoosh, momma is up and looking fine and in the waiting room the Doctor meets them and tells them THEIR BABY IS DEAD!
They are crestfallen, everyone knows whose fault it is, but she is the only one who will say it. Amidst her grief she is called in to pick up her niece whose drunk mom totally forgot to get her after school one day. Then they go to mother-in-laws house for more tea on saucers and drunk divorcee is worse than ever.
Well, it turns out God/Virgin Mary DID have a plan and somehow and rather abruptly, the young couple are adopting drunk divorcee’s 9 yo-daughter, and everyone is super fulfilled by this arrangement.
And you KNOW they are doing the right thing because that rose music plays again and Suddenly Dad gets a face full of wind which is almost overpowers his hair gel!
2) Adult daughter tells her parents she is in love but it turns out the lucky young man is the one the mother has been having an affair with and there is this really awkward family dinner where he tries to blackmail everyone and instead they pack-attack him, and someone goes to the family shrine and the rose is summoned but then they fall apart anyway but after an undetermined amount of time and no wardrobe changes mom and dad get back together because no worries, all along they were BOTH cheating, and, even though the 20s-something year old daughter moved out, (EGADS!) mom visits the fully and beautifully furnished apartment, and you know everything went right because they hug and both take a heavenly fart blast to the gourds.
So, not exactly like that but pretty close.
Lest you should begin to think this an adult show.
It is not!
They LOVE eating disorders and pregnancy, especially in adolescent girls.
3) One of the many such tales is when a middle school girl (we’ll call her ‘Girl 1’) catches the eye of Cool Boy and they are WAY into each other but Girl 2 also likes him and begins bullying Girl 1. Mom of Cool Boy strongly urges him toward Girl 2 but he’s having none of it, he don’t want no shallow back girl. Yet, self consciousness about her body strikes, and Girl 1 tries to make herself throw up. We see Girl 2 not eating all day then inhaling a tupperware (wut?) of french fries. Girl 1 sees her running to the bathroom and is like, “nah, this is dumb, I like food.” But she consults with La Morenita, and the rose appears, and she goes back to eating normally. She then finds out her mom is bulimic and Cool Boy’s mom is anorexic. Girl 2 passes out at school and gets carted off to the hospital, and even as the young love of Girl 1 and Cool Boy blooms, so does the magical white rose, as affirmed by the wind-from-who-knows-where.
The final tale I simply must share today, and, if you have four minutes, you should watch:
6) A maid goes rogue, kidnaps her mistresses baby and sells her. Mistress becomes a crazy, hammer wielding bag lady (they call her a cat lady) who walks past a car as a young man tries to impose himself on a young woman who TURNS OUT TO BE HER DAUGHTER!
Now, I know this can all be overwhelming, and confusing, but fear not, dear reader/watcher, because at the end of each segment you will be TOLD what the moral of the story is and how it applies to your every day life. A trusted person, a priest or a Doctor, will spend five minutes framed against a blank wall and TELL you exactly what we learned today. Then they get a riff of the heavenly tunes.
I hope I have not ruined the majesty for you, and please know that if this has only whet your appetite, Youtube is chock full of recordings (apparently The Virgin has remained mute regarding piracy laws).