Dear Mexican: What Is the Bolo Tradition for Godparents?
Dear Mexican: My boyfriend is Mexican, and I love him very much. We have a very good relationship, and most of the time he is sensitive to my needs and feelings. On some occasions, however, he will act in a VERY stubborn way. If something I said or did is disappointing to him, rather than tell me he is disappointed or hurt, he will insist that whatever we are doing has to stop. One time we had a disagreement on New Year’s Eve, when we were getting ready to go out. He got so angry, he yelled and said the evening was off, so we didn’t go. Another time, I didn’t feel like dancing when we were out, but I wanted to stay to hear the music. He was so angry that he said, “If you’re not gonna dance, we have to go home,” which we did. In these instances, he demands that I do as he says. It’s as if he has to punish me if he doesn’t get his way. Is this behavior part of Mexican culture, or is it his own pathology? Or am I being an overly sensitive gringa?
Dear Beautiful Gabacha: Dump this llorón NOW. I’m not going to pretend that Mexican men aren’t capable of domineering, irrational actions toward women. And at least you didn’t mention anything about physical abuse, thank Dios. But acting like a chavala when things don’t go his way? A real Mexican man wouldn’t even talk about his emotions to you, instead saving it for his borracho buddies. Continually melting down the way your guy does suggests someone with the maturity of a Donald Trump supporter — so dump the pendejo now and get yourself a man with actual huevos.
Dear Mexican: I just had my first child, and I plan to have him baptized Catholic. However, I married a Whitexican: His mother is white and his father is Mexican. I tried to explain to them the Mexican tradition of giving bolo by the godparents, but I was bombarded with questions as to how it started and why we do this. To give bolo is the tradition of the godparents giving money to the attendees for being part of the celebration, usually quarters, dollars, etc. This is my understanding, but I might be wrong. Any help would be appreciated.
Dear Pocha: Perhaps the biggest difference between Mexican and gabacho Catholics is the importance of godparents. For gabas, it’s an excuse to dress up for a day and pretend to be Catholic; for Mexis, it signifies a blood oath between families. The tradition of bolo is for the padrinos to show their worth as godparents by giving away money, much like the potlatch tradition in the Pacific Northwest. But warning: If you’re an adult expecting bolo at a baptism, everyone will think you a loser deserving of the ugly cousin in the familia.
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