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Should Latinas “tone it down” for gringo husbands?

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Getty Images

If you’re a Latina married to a güerito, you may have questioned whether you need to “tone it down”. By this I mean taming our overly passionate, boisterous side, and our constant need to include family in everything we do. Let’s face it, we can be a lot to handle sometimes, but that shouldn’t mean that we have to sacrifice who we are. The question most likely creeps up when our gringo husbands utter these common phrases:

You don’t need to dress up, we’re just going to (insert location here). This is often followed by why must you take so long getting ready?

Must we include your family in everything we do?

Do I have to greet your entire family with a hug and a kiss?

Shh honey, I’m right here, use your indoor voice.

When people ask for my opinion on the fine art of balancing cultural norms and managing expectations, I’ve often wondered how my grandma would respond, and how that would differ from my opinion.

The following advice is shared from both the Latina grandmother and young Latina’s perspective:

The Abuela says

M’ija, a woman should never walk out of the house without lipstick and nice shoes. People treat you with the same amount of care that you put into your outfit. You’re young, beautiful, and you should look as such for your husband, you can leave the drabby looks to viejitas like me.

Family is all we have, our time on earth is finite and we should surrounded ourselves with family – how is it possible that your husband doesn’t get that? I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but you have to teach him to “get it” – start by telling him to call his mom more often.

Y la verdad, you could benefit from lowering your voice a little bit – you’re gonna burst your ear drums muchacha! Worse yet, your children will be born deaf with all that yelling you do. Recuerda, las niñas se ven más bonitas calladitas. (Remember, girls look prettiest when they’re quietest). Now stop worrying about all of that and go make babies.  

Ariana Says

My husband fell in love with the woman in heels, sexy dresses, and full makeup, so don’t expect me to change one of the reasons you fell for me in the first place. When familia is around, everything we do becomes a party. Be it a road trip, making tamales, or simply sitting around and chatting. Yes the two of us can have fun alone together, but family brings out other elements of me that you and I don’t experience when we’re alone – it’s just a different type of fun. So when you see my family, you will greet everyone with the hand-shake hug-kiss combo – it’s disrespectful to do otherwise. In the book of Latino culture this is a major rule, it’s one of those things you don’t have to get – you just have to do it.

The truth is I’m not loud, I’m just passionate. When I get the “hush” from him, I feel like a deflated balloon. So I’ll stop being so loud, but that goes out the window when my family is around.

Want relationship advice from Ariana and The Abuela? Tweet your questions to @AriMontelongo using hashtag #AskAri.

About Being Latino Contributors

Being Latino contributors consists of individuals and partner organizations. They join us in our goal of providing our audience with a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum. Together we aim to break down barriers and foster unity and empowerment through informative, thought-provoking dialogue and exchanging of ideas. Giving a unified voice to the multitude of communities that identify with the multidimensional culture that is Latino.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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