A Mexican Mother And Her Virgin Daughter
A bride to-be recalls receiving the sex talk
Elia Esparza, Spicy Cilantro
Originally published at Spicy Cilantro
Published on LatinoLA: August 30, 2012
Every year on the anniversary of my mother's passing, September 7, 1991, I take the day off and spend it with her in my heart. I take her flowers and each year I write down one memory I have of our lives together. I call my journal "Mami Memories." This year marks 22 years and I can hardly believe two decades have passed, thus to date, accumulating 21 entries.
For my "Mami Memories" I write as if I'm an outsider looking inside. About this story… well I could have written my own version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Remember, this was during the early days of women's lib…and I still had not liberated myself from my strict mother. Here is something I wrote on September 7, 1996:
A Mexican Mother and Her Virgin Daughter
It was one of 1975's hottest summer days in southern California's history, and nothing was going according to schedule. A day before her wedding, Eliana, a young woman of 20 years, frantically yells into the telephone furious with the florist. Adding to her stress is her overbearing mother. Doña Olivia, an old-fashioned and traditional Mexicana, has been trying to corner her little girl for the mandatory mother-daughter sex talk.
"Míja, you have to stop and listen to me," she insisted in front of an audience of her three comadres, the most chismosa women in all of Escondido.
Eliana knows exactly what is coming and has been doing all she can to avoid it for the past two weeks. But Doña Olivia is relentless. "[i[Mami[/i], not now."
"When then? When you are naked in the bed of your new husband and you know nothing?" Doña Olivia pressed on. "My little girl is innocent, after all," she bragged to her friends who sat around the dining room table as they finished the bridal veil beading.
Shit, she's not going to let up! She's going to do it. Right here in front of all her pinche comadres, neighbors, and my niña. "Por favor, mama," Eliana pleaded.
But it is too late. Doña O is already spitting out the words in her broken English. "Míja, remember all those things I told you about sex? How it's evil. How good Catholic niñas don't think about such vulgarities. About how all men are evil and only want one thing from a girl? You recall?
"Yeah, ma," her doomed daughter answered. How can I ever forget? Every Goddamn warning about the evil sex is permanently tattooed in my brain since I was eight.
"Mami, you gonna tell me about orgasms and how much pleasure I'll have after I'm married?" Eliana enjoyed pissing off her mom.
Eliana received a slap on the side of her head. "Don't be disrespectful. Sex is not fun. It's a wife's duty. Your husband will support and take care of you from now on and you'll give him sex. It's as simple as that. And, don't you go and say stupid things to embarrass me," Doña O threatened.
Sweat beads roll down the future bride's face. She's furious with her mother.
"Mami, this conversation is what is embarrassing." Eliana walked to a nearby window and stands in front of the portable air conditioner, trying her hardest to restrain herself from strangling her mother. Soledad Hernandez, her scandalous Godmother, feels sorry for her, and pours Eliana a glass of iced tea and hands it to her.
"Are you or are you not a virgin?" Doña O asked.
"There you go," she turned to her friends satisfied. "So you need the talk."
Boiling mad, Eliana sipped her ice-cold blood red Jamaica tea. "You talk about his sexual demands only, but what about me? What are his sexual responsibilities to me?
"There is no ME!" her mother yelled. "And, there is no such thing as an orgasm for women. And, if there is it is evil and will only corrupt you."
Godmother Soledad rolled her eyes and felt so much pity for her Goddaughter. Wiping her forehead, Doña Olivia, pulls out a folded paper from her apron pocket.
Oh no! She's going to stab the fucking stake right through my heart! "Mami, please don't," Eliana begged. But it was too late.
There is no stopping Doña O. She knew her comadres were gossiping about her girl and she was going to prove them wrong and boast all that she could. "See this," she pointed to the slip of paper in her hands. "Dr. Daniels says my Eliana is 100% virgin. Her hymen is not broken!" Doña O hands the note to one of the ladies and they proceeded to pass it around. The women are impressed.
Eliana drops her glass and it shatters into a zillion crystal tiny pieces and the red liquid splatters everywhere… all the ladies dive on top of the delicate white veil.
"Mami, you just managed to ruin my wedding!"
"No, mira," Doña O said holding up a tiny corner of the veil. "We can cut this part out. Thank God it happened on the bottom end. It can be saved."
"Forget about the veil! How could you show them! It's private and it's stupid! Dr. Daniels also thinks you are nuts for insisting I have this examination," Eliana yelled wishing she were an orphan!
"Not true," Doña O said to her comadres, with tears in her eyes. "Dr. Daniels wouldn't have given me this certificate if you were not a virgin!"
Eliana recalled how Dr. Daniels never examined her. He couldn't bring himself to do it and he was disgusted and felt sorry for his patient. He only wrote the note to appease his patient's mother. Eliana gave it to her mother only to shut her up, never expecting her to wear the friggin' note as a badge of honor! Still, Eliana could tell her mother was hurt and once again, surrendered to her.
"O.K. ma, tell me what it is that I'm supposed to do on my wedding night?"
Not missing a beat, Doña O starts her sermon. "Nothing to it," she said. "All you gotta do is lay there perfectly still and he'll do the rest. Oh, and under no circumstances do you ever do oral sex. That's a major sin," her mother paused and then adds, "Even good husbands can be nasty dogs! She and her comadres agreed in unison and give themselves the sign of the cross.
"But you remember this," Doña O said, "there is no such thing as good sex for woman! All you do is lay there, spread your legs and that is it!"
"Got it, mami. No orgasms, no nothing," Eliana said with sarcasm. "Sounds simple enough even for me."
"One more thing," Doña O said. "You can stop being such a grosera (smart ass). You should be grateful to have a mother who has sacrificed so much for you and is paying a lot of money to make sure you have the biggest, most expensive and elegant wedding this city has ever seen!
Eliana finds solace as she sneaks a peek through the window and sees her fiancé. She is mesmerized by how gorgeous and sexy her shirtless fiancé looks. He's all sweaty and looking like a God as he strikes the ground with his shovel, digging the pit for the reception barbacoa. He feels her presence, turns to see her looking at him lovingly. He blows her a kiss.
Eliana's posture almost went limp with anticipation as she sent him back a devilish smile and winked seductively, as Helen Reddy declared on the radio, "I am woman, hear me roar."