L ast week we saw how 25 years ago Antonio requested permission from don Pablo to visit his house and to formally declare Rosita to be his "novia" (fiance). Here is Don Pablo's reply:
Estimado Antonio (Dear Antonio),
I want you to understand that I hold nothing against you. In fact, I like your family very much. If you have a sincere love for Rosita, I am sure you can wait for about a year, and then I will consider it again if you are still interested.
This was a typical letter denying the young man the permission requested to visit a young girl who was only 14 years old, just out of primary school. Girls traditionally got married at 16 to 18 years of age, but fifteen was also quite common. Here is another typical reply letter received by some boys 25 years ago on the same subject.
First of all, you have visited two or three girls, and you break all your relationships since you are not serious with girls.It is clearly known that you like to play with girls feelings.
One more thing, you have the bad habit of drinking and when you are under the influence of rum, you like to talk bad about the girls whom you are dating. This is not a manly thing to do, and you are not going to have the opportunity to do it with my daughter Carolina. In fact I do not want you to approach her ever again, if you do so, I will have to arrange this thing "hombre a hombre (man to man)."
With this letter Marcos could insist with Carolina if he really liked her. Or he could decide to "give her up" if fooling around was really his intention. Or more interesting, he could challenge don Pedro Bolas on the street or better yet when he met him at Daddy's Club by the beach. They could have an exchange of fists and permanently put their affair into history.
So as you can see, twenty-five years ago, getting a girl to like you was only half the job. You then had to win the admiration and approval of the father and the girl's family. Quite unlike today, girls meet boys and go out steadily many times without the knowledge of the father. They meet in the streets and all the dating is outside the home. There is little opportunity for the parents to get to know the young man, so he can be a loafer and a drunkard, a drug addict, or a basic "nincompoop" and the father has little say in the affair. The young girl does not get the benefit of parental advice because the parents do not know him. And the young man similarly does not know how the young lady relates to her parents and family.
It's not that dating 25 years ago was better, but it certainly ensured a better understanding and more stability in the marriage, which followed. It was a formal affair, and marriage too was serious and formal. This is what is lacking in many relationships of young people today. Let's go back to 25 years ago! Agree? Okay, get your paper and pen to write your letters requesting to visit your girlfriend Carolvn. Oh no. can't do it by phone.