dance, men babysit...
night, when Delia Fuentes goes out with her mother and her
aunt, Delia's husband Jorge and her father Raul are left
at home to babysit. When Delia gets up to dance with her
cousin Amelia, she says, "Girls dance together. We won't
care if no men turn up tonight. What's important is that
the women turn up."
The show of women is
kitsch and gaudy: fake flowers and fake gold, fuchsia lipstick,
sweaty huipil blouses with their symbolic blank squares
embroidered over the heart, and cavernous white lacy olane
underskirts. A lot of time and money has been spent on clothes
and cosmetics for the fiesta. Competition is fierce. "Gloria
wore that huipil last year, so business can't be good,"
Giselle, who is visiting
from Oaxaca says some women buy boy lovers. "Once you're
married, you can do anything." Later, Anunciata, 28, tells
me: "A woman's got to be rich to keep a good boy. My Manuelito
costs me about 60 pesos a month. But he's worth it. He's
only 16 but he knows plenty of tricks in bed. Isabella tried
to steal him from me but he says that she's too skinny for
the wisest women of Juchitan, the curandero witches who
heal with the aid of elemental energies, are both thin and
respected. Na Paula, whose magic lives inside a fragipani
tree, is 85 and owns a twig in the shape of a human hand
which she says contains special powers.
Some curadera use the
cactus-derived drug peyote to see into the spirit world
and contact a person's "tonal" or spiritual animal, whose
welfare parallels the patient's. They also believe illness
is caused by "loss of soul" and regained by rituals using
hallucinogenic mushrooms. Na Paula uses the spirit of her
sacred tree to heal. Delia Fuentes took her son to Na Paula
when he had a stomach ulcer which doctors were unable to
treat and "in two weeks he was better."
need to be fatter...
Paula's eyeteeth are capped with gold and she speaks in
a high sing-song voice full of elongated vowels. Interpreted
by Delia, she shows me the temple inside her house. On an
altar against a backdrop of purple cloth, crucifixes and
portraits of saints, sits a stuffed doll, an antelope head,
a piece of pink cloth, the healing twig hand and a large,
me outside to her sacred tree, Na Paula shows me how its
trunk fans out into three branches with a deep cleft in
between. "This is a female tree," she says, stroking the
bark to receive her power. Then she puts her wrinkled palms
on my arm and touches the pulse points, prescribing basil,
lemon and lime tree and muttering a certain charm under
her breath. "You need to be fatter," she says.
words on weight & dieting...
been on a diet for two weeks
And all I lost is two
(Totie Fields, comedienne, 1979)
If you have formed
the habit of checking on every new diet that comes
you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together,
leaving you with only one definite piece of information:
French-fried potatoes are out.
(Jean Kerr, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, 1957)
TV to fashion ads has made it seem wicked to cast
This wild emaciated look appeals to some women, though
not to most men,
who are seldom pinning up a Vogue illustration in
a machine shop.
(Cynthia Heimel, author, 1993)
If one doesn't
have a character like Abraham Lincoln or Joan of Arc,
a diet simply disintegrates into eating exactly what
you want to eat but with a bad conscience.
(Maria Augusta Trapp, Story of the Trapp Family
(Ruth Schenley, 1986)
(Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations By Women)