Saturday, March 27, 2010

Prior to the not-very-spiritual pilgrimage I’m making with old friends in June, I’ve been reading up on the holy city of Santiago. Specifically, I’ve been enjoying Richard Ford’s somewhat sceptical take on the origin of the story of the 1st century arrival here in Galicia of the body of St James (Santo Iago/Santiago). “The legend of St. James the Elder” he says, “when not purely Pagan, is Mahomedan.” And, spoilsport and stickler for detail that he is, Ford points out there’s no evidence of the existence of the legend until it became a rallying cry for the wars against said Muslims in the 10th century. When the body of St James was miraculously rediscovered, having been carelessly lost several centuries before. And the saint himself appeared on the battlefield, slaughtering the infidels in their thousands. I’ll be posting the chapter on Galicia from Ford’s Handbook for Travellers in Spain to my Galicia page any day now.

There’s a lot of talk these days of Spain having to up its export game in order to get out of her current financial bind. This, however, would call for a good understanding of international customer service requirements and I sometimes wonder whether this might be a bit beyond most companies only used to the domestic market. Where the customer is rarely king. As my recent experience with the two estate agents handling my house in the hills attests. Always pleasant but rarely efficient would be my description of the service provided. Which may cut the mustard here but not elsewhere.

Talking of economies in trouble, here’s a good article on the problems facing the UK, both now and in the years to come. I suspect many of the points would be relevant for Spain as well. And more than a few other countries as well. As the writer says:- Politicians never prick bubbles. Politicians across the Western world knew that we were building up too much debt. . . . Gordon Brown knew that his lauded economic miracle was built on sand.” Which holds good for Presidents Aznar and Zapatero too, I suspect. Looking to the future, the columnist stresses that “we are lying to ourselves that tinkering with the pension age and small changes in savings regimes will make a difference. If today’s state-subsidised pensioners feel poor, tomorrow’s will feel destitute — unless they work for the public sector.” Which is certainly true for Spain as well.

Finally, I’ve been sent this advice for young Spanish women, allegedly issued by the fascist Falange party in 1958 and forming part of the Domestic Science curriculum. Possibly because it’s so outrageous by today’s standards, I’m a little suspicious it’s a spoof. But, if it is a true bill, my overview is that it owes as much to Islam as to Catholicism. Which takes us back to Richard Ford, I guess. Anyway, apologies it’s only in Spanish. But even a Google translation should give you an accurate flavour of its (hilarious) contents. Perhaps some kind reader would care to oblige us with a translation:-

-Ten preparada una comida deliciosa para cuando el regrese del trabajo, especialmente su plato favorito. Ofrécete a quitarle los zapatos, habla en tono bajo, relajado y placentero.

-Prepárate, retoca tu maquillaje, coloca una cinta en tu cabello, hazte un poco más interesante para él. Su duro día de trabajo quizá necesite un poco de animo, y uno de tus deberes es proporcionárselo.

-Durante los días más fríos, deberías preparar y encender el fuego en la chimenea para que él se relaje frente a el. Después de todo preocuparse por su comodidad te proporcionará una satisfacción inmensa.

-Minimiza cualquier ruido, en el momento de su llegada elimina zumbidos de lavadora o aspirador. Salúdale con una calida sonrisa y demuéstrale tu deseo de complacerle. Escúchale, déjale hablar primero, recuerda que sus temas de conversación son más importantes que los suyos. Nunca te quejes si llega tarde o si sale a cenar o a otros lugares de diversión sin ti. Intenta en cambio comprender su mundo de tensión y estrés y sus necesidades reales. Haz que se sienta a gusto, que repose en un sillón cómodo o que se acueste en la recamara. Ten preparada una bebida fría o caliente para él. No le pidas explicaciones acerca de sus acciones o cuestiones, su juicio o integridad. Recuerda que es el amo de la casa.

-Anima a tu marido a poner en práctica sus aficiones e intereses y sírvele de apoyo sin ser excesivamente insistente. Si tu tienes alguna afición, intenta no aburrirle hablándole de esta, ya que los intereses de las mujeres son triviales comparados con los del hombre. Al final de la tarde, limpia la casa para que este limpia de nuevo en la mañana. Prevé las necesidades que tendrá a la hora del desayuno. El desayuno es vital para tu marido si debe enfrentarse al mundo interior con talante positivo.

-Una vez que ambos os hayáis retirado a la habitación, prepárate para la cama lo antes posible, teniendo en cuenta que, aunque la higiene femenina es de máxima importancia, tu marido no quiere esperar para ir al baño. Recuerda que debes tener un aspecto inmejorable a la hora de ir a la cama... si debes aplicarte crema facial o rulos para el cabello, espera hasta que él esté dormido, ya que eso podría resultar chocante para un hombre a última hora de la noche.

-En cuanto respecta a la posibilidad de relaciones íntimas con tu marido, es importante recordar tus obligaciones matrimoniales: si él siente la necesidad de dormir, que sea así, no le presiones o estimules la intimidad.

Si tu marido sugiere la unión, entonces accede humildemente, teniendo siempre en cuenta que su satisfacción es más importante que la de una mujer. Cuando alcance el momento culminante, un pequeño gemido por tu parte es suficiente para indicar cualquier goce que hayas podido experimentar.

Si tu marido te pidiera prácticas sexuales inusuales, sé obediente y no te quejes.

Es probable que tu marido caiga entonces en un sueño profundo, así que acomódate la ropa, refréscate y aplícate crema facial para la noche y tus productos para el cabello.

Puedes entonces ajustar el despertador para levantarte un poco antes que él por la mañana. Esto te permitirá tener lista una taza de té para cuando despierte.

4 comments:

mike the trike said...

Recuerda que es el amo de la casa. Very interesting. Seems to fit the men of northern England and some parts of Ireland.

Anonymous said...

dream on

ANA said...

I read an article for women in the 1960's in England recently which was very similar.

Colin said...

Yes, truth to tell, my own father was clearly brought up to believe in this model of marriage. And, at 87, still does. But, then, his mother was an Irish Catholic and he was the first-born son.

So was I, in fact. But things had changed for the worse by the time I came along . . .

Looking back, it seems neither of my wives read the document that Ana says was circulating in the 60s in the UK. Probably just as well as they might have stuffed it up my fundament.

Now, if I could just find a lovely Spanish woman educated in 1958 . .