Chauvinism or Machismo

his past weekend and like many other days, I saw this young man carrying his baby in his arms take a stroll around town. What a lovely sight a sight of tenderness, caring, love, pride, honor and fatherly love. I've done it, and many of you have too.

However, 25 years ago, rather in the 40's and 50's that was not a common sight. You see, a man was supposed to be a real man then, and real men did not back or carry babies back then. If you did it was a sign that you were a "Pendejo" (coward) because you let your wife rule you. If by any chance a man was helping with the baby and he would meet with a group of friends, he would immediately put the baby in the mother's arms.

There were a lot of things a real macho would not allow: ( I ) He would n allow his wife to go to a public dance and dance with anybody without his permission. (2) He would not allow his daughter to be courted by any young man without his permission. (3) A real macho could go to dance alone; his wife could not. (4) A real macho expected to meet his wife at home doing her chores when he got home from work. She was not to be "like perros en la calle" (dogs on the street). (5) If a woman made a serious mistake that hurt the man's ego or pride, he was expected to give her a lashing. If he did not, his friends would have said "Tu eres un pendejo".

The macho man could boast about his extra-marital affairs or about his adulterous life. That gave him a sense of big-ness. The macho man could not sweep, or cook or do the dishes; that was a woman's job.

There was one thing a woman could not do and very few, if any, ever tried it. She could not step into a bar room to call her husband out. That would start a teasing which would lead to an explosion and a fight, either there or at home. Well, I'll take that back! A wife could not go get the man, but his mother could. Children could also, so the wife would send the children, especially the girls to go get father out of the bar. The children were delighted in doing this because if dad did not want to leave then, he would usually give the child a quarter or half a dollar to get rid of him. The wife would be standing far off waiting for her man to take him home if he decided to go home then. She would never step into a bar to call him unless she was prepared for a scene of trouble.

I vividly remember my childhood days and passing by some house where a scene was going on. There would be shouting and cursing and crying, but most of all the sound of breaking items. Cupboards would be splashed to the ground and cups and plates smashed against the wall. The table would be overturned and chairs hurled out of the window. The macho man was doing "his thing." Oh, how fortunate that there were no televisions, and refrigerators then, or the bills would have been sky high.

On an interesting note, I wonder if there is a word today to describe the situation where the wife is at the bar alone and the husband is at home? I have a feeling it is the same word- Pendejo.

Do you think we have machismo today? Or do we only have Pendejos? Twenty Five Years Ago would like to hear your views.

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