I've been married to my wonderfully supportive and culturally open minded husband for almost 10 years. Even though he could be considered an expert in Puerto Rican female behavior, which is known to be "passionate" (more like crazy), Steve can still be shocked. What follows is a tale of one of his encounters with my native behavior 3 years ago. The addendum at the end will surprise you. It certainly surprised me. Ay Mama!
Culture shock and marriage
I just wanted to get a manicure and an eyebrow wax. I had made my appointment late enough so my husband could run some errands. I kept the baby all morning, through her lack of napping, went out to lunch with her, my girlfriend Sandra and her 2 daughters. And made it back with plenty of time to take a shower and go get my stuff done.
But my lovely husband did not show up until a quarter to two. My appointment was at 2:30 and Amelia would not go to sleep so I could take a shower. I put her in her crib, let her cry her butt off and showered. By the time he showed up, I had 15 minutes to get to my appointment. I was going to be 15 minutes late. A no, no for a manicurist who is booked solid on a Saturday.
So I couldn't get my manicure or my eyebrows waxed. I called my spouse and sternly let him know what had happened. "You left me at 11:00 AM and returned at 2:00 p.m. Ran errands, bought yourself a nice salad and pranced home 30 minutes before my appointment".
Needless to say, when I came home, Steve was avoiding eye contact for his own good. And that leads to the title of this blog. While I was blow drying my hair, I started a conversation with him, but he would answer while moving all over the room and staying as far away as possible. When I asked about his behavior he said "I'm staying in constant motion so I can avoid getting your heel up my butt".
In my English as a second language mentality I answered "but I'm not wearing heels". And then the Puerto Rican in me kicked in. "What you should be afraid of is the flying "chancla". Loosely translated "chancla" is a house shoe or slipper, a Puerto Rican mother's weapon of choice. That thing is stealth like and has a boomerang effect. It finds the target, does the damage and returns to it's master.
My mother used it to break fights between my brother and I. I swear that she would rub it against us while we slept so that the "chancla" could recognize our scent and never miss. No matter how fast my brother and I ran, the "chancla" would get us.
I'm not advocating violence against your husband and/or your children. Most Puerto Rican moms I know use it out of desperation and trust me, it doesn't even hurt. It's more of a statement of discipline than an actual act of violence. But it's never a bad thing to have your kids or your husband under that threat. That way the "chancla" will never leave your foot but only you will know that. Ay Mama.
This was three years ago. I am proud to report that my husband now knows the power of the "chancla" threat. I haven't used it against him, but I heard this from Steve the other day:
Steve: "Amelia, do you hear that? That's the sound of the "chancleta" (another word for "chancla"). "
Amelia: "What's that Daddy?"
Steve: "The "chancleta" comes after children who don't behave. If you are a good girl the "chancleta" will never get you but if your not... !".
That's my man. Ay Mama!
Yet another disclaimer: THE CHANCLA WILL NEVER LEAVE OUR FOOT. IT'S JUST A THREAT!