Fred praises the Mexicanas:
Now, young and beautiful has its charm. Men do not, as a rule, seek out withered crones. But—and I know many of these men well—what draws them is the warmth and womanliness of the Mexicana. In Mexico you don’t marry one of the guys. You don’t marry a child-support bomb waiting to explode without visitation. You don’t marry a hundred pounds of irrational anger looking for an excuse. You marry a woman. The difference…my God, the difference…. Yes, money is the only effective aphrodisiac, anywhere, as any man knows who has been in the Philippines with a paycheck. Drive a flashy car in Washington and leave hundred-dollar tips and you will have women all over you….
Violeta was suddenly, utterly, and in the short term irremediably without work or money. She also had a daughter of nine to care for. For a long time it was beans, tortillas, and water. Mexico does not have the social safety net that Americans rely on. So they stayed home and read. Violeta got through the Decameron and four volumes of Borges.
While I don’t even know that I’ve ever met a Mexicana, I can’t help but wonder how many of the self-professed strong, educated American women, who require intense therapy and Prozac the first time someone dares to disagree with them, have even heard of Boccaccio, still less the Chinese Encyclopedia.
A word of advice. If men tend to smile nervously and back away from you on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean that they’re intimidated by your stupendous brain, it means they think you’re a lunatic.