A big difference between the middle class in Brazil and the middle class in the US is that teens and young adults in Brazil do not work until they finish college. And sometimes grad school.
No jobs during high school, college or summer vacations. No learning early to earn their own money. Parents pay for everything until their mid-20’s. I heard that the children of the president of Lilly Pharma here in the US had odd jobs in their youth to learn the importance of work. My daughters had odd jobs in clothing stores and departments stores, tutoring kids and day care centers.
Upper class Brazilians don’t want their kids (often white) mixed in with people from the “lower classes”. Jobs like waitressing, babysitting, gardening, etc, are considered beneath them. Work ethic is just not valued. Why make your poor kid work when you can give them everything? I understand the importance of concentrating in your studies, but what about summers? Are you going to let your 20 year old sitting for 3 months doing nothing? How about teaching them the satisfaction of earning their ow money, even if it’s peanuts?
Different cultures, different values. But a lot about the class system in Brazil is based on this idea that some people are better than others, and that lowly work is not dignified.
I was lucky to spend a part of high school in the US. I had a paper route and babysat. I loved not having to ask my Dad for pocket money and buy my records or other things I wanted. When we returned to Brazil and I started college, I worked as an assistant teacher at the American School of Brasilia, because I spoke fluent English. I also taught English in private language schools throughout College. I paid for my first ticket to Europe when I was 22 myself, and was proud of that. I never liked to ask people for money.
I heard about this study on “The View” (a show that has gone down the drain after losing its smart hostesses): women answered a poll about what kind of profession they’d like their men to have and they put military men on top of their list as their favorite kind of man to date.
My theory is that some women may be attracted to “strong brave” types who they think will always protect them…..well, my experience is that some military men can be controlling, not reliable, have PTSD (and that affects the relationship); be mentally or physically abusive and ego-maniacs too. Notwithstanding that those in active duty will be away a lot. I think the attraction to cops, race car drivers and other dangerous profession types could have similar reasons. The big problem I see with any man or woman in the military is that they have all gone through training designed to break down and destroy their natural autonomy. Therefore, they will either be totally given over to the command and control structure in every thought and deed, or will be unhappy and unfulfilled to some extent.
I said SOME you all before you jump on me….
Me, I prefer the boring stable guys. Accountants, economists, doctors, scientists, professors, small businessmen, engineers, computer programmers and anything computer related, government workers, writers…..as long as they are smart. Even a carpenter or a sales person can be smart if they read. Life can be more boring but there will be less drama and ups and downs.
Sophia Vergara is a successful comedic actress and a now a good businesswoman reaping the fruits of her success. Her character on “Modern Family” though, is questionable to me on how it reinforces stereoptypes of latina women. Brazilians are not Hispanic. However, we are all Latins in the sense our countries were colonized by the former Roman Empire. Even though we share many cultural similarities, we are lumped as one by most Americans.
The character is ditzy, obsessed with her physique and looks, wears too tight – too sexy outfits, too much make up, is uncultured (and proud of it), never learns English properly, blindly religious and superstitious. It is true that many Latinas fall into that description, but it is not one we are proud of. A woman who marries a man old enough to be her father to give her financial security (in real life that marriage would never be blissful) and who has no interest in studying and getting a job (or even helping her husband in the family business) is not a good role model for Hispanic women in this country.
Some immigrants may think that using their bodies so they can latch on to a financially secure man and have a good life is the example to follow. Some young women may get the message that all they have to do it dress sexy/slutty and all men will fall to their feet. Staying ignorant is ok; not having a career is ok. Just producing babies will guarantee a man’s financial support for years.
Worse than always trying to be sexy to keep men entranced, is the portrayal of dittziness and ignorance as “feminine” qualities. I hope the American audience does not think every latina woman is like that. I hope young Latinas don’t think that’s the road to success or some dubious financial security. I hope that when Latinas come to mind, more people think of Sonia Sotomayor than Gloria Pritchett.
-Don’t hit on your friend’s boyfriends or husbands (duh!)
-Don’t call your friend’s boyfriend/husband without asking her first
-If your best male friend is dating, don’t see him alone or have long conversations about his relationship. See him with his new girlfriend and try to befriend her too. No dinners behind her back.
-Just because he is your male friend, don’t defend him if he treats his girlfriend poorly or lies and cheats on her. Remember it can happen to you too..
-If your girlfriend complains about her boyfriend, listen but don’t butt in. If they stay together you will pay the price if you tell her to leave him.
-Never be a married man’s confidante. Tell him to find a therapist.
-Avoid emotional cheating by being civil but not too close to married men at work.
-If you hear that your girlfriend’s boyfriend or husband is cheating, or if he hits on you, tell her. You may lose her friendship but you will help her get rid of an asshole.
-Don’t tell your girlfriend’s boyfriend or husband her secrets or anything that can make her uncomfortable.
The same can be applied to men.
There is a lot of shaming in shaming nowadays. The era of political correctedness became “you can’t shame this, you can’t shame that”. Fat shaming, gay shaming, slut shaming, etc. I want to discuss slut shaming. What men or women do with their bodies and how they lead their sexual lives is nobody’s business, really. When women dress sexy, men should be able to control themselves and not see that as a sign these women are up for grabs (pun intended).
However, as the mother of two females, I see with sadness some behavior in young women that isn’t very attractive. And it reeks of desperation. Looking at Brazil, for example, or American reality TV, I see some women who will do anything to embarrass or devalue themselves. And that has little to do with how they dress. If there is one thing I think is still attractive in people, it is class. Good manners, respect. Sometimes women sell themselves short or think that sexuality alone will take them places, land them a rich or famous boyfriend or make themselves famous. That kind of fame is fleeting. The kind of men they will attract is not the desirable kind. Sexy and attractive young women are a dime a dozen in this planet, especially with all the body enhancements available. A Brazilian starlet (see picture above) humiliated herself for Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, planting herself in front of his hotel during the football World Cup in Brazil and following him around after saying she had had an affair with him. Another Brazilian uses nudity to become a famous piano player.
There is nothing less attractive than an over made-up woman who opens her mouth and talks trash….no education, culture or information. Intelligence is sexy, and class is just another name for self-respect.
This is a comment made by a Brazilian, in broken English, when asked what he missed about Brazil. We hear a lot that even poor Brazilians, sometimes living in slum-like environment, seem happy. What is the reason for that? Brazilians put friends, family and celebrations ahead of possesions. True, Brazilians love an iPhone and a flat screen TV or even a nice imported car. But there are other things that make them happy: football (soccer), churrasco with friends (barbecue), beach (free), cold beer (cheap), open channels on TV (free), nature (free). This capacity to be joyful and playful even in the face of bad living conditions, long lines for healthcare, packed public transportation, low minimum wages and high criminality in big cities is inherent to a population that doesn’t take life (or work) too seriously. Here are some reasons that may make Brazilians happier than other nationalities:
1) Warm engaging personalities, curiosity. Brazilians are usually extroverts and like to talk to everyone, even strangers. Brazilians are people-people. They like to live in dense population areas because they like to be around people. Brazilians are not fond of living too isolated.
2) Brazilians don’t take religion too seriously. Even if they call themselves Catholic, they don’t frequent church with assiduity and don’t let religious doctrines run their lives, prejudice and all.
3) Brazilians are more open to sexuality. There is less guilt about revealing clothes or showing the human body.
4) Tighter family ties. It is more common than in developed countries for families to live in the same city and see each other frequently. There is overall less loneliness.
5) Brazilians love romance. People don’t stay single long, or live without relationships.
6) Brazilians work hard despite their fame of being party people, but they do not let work be their everything. Making a lot of money is not as important as survival.
7) Brazilians take vacations, 20 to 30 days a year. That says a lot.
8) Brazilians love to celebrate carnaval, soccer games, weddings, etc. Social life is important. That is good for mental health.
Walking in the streets of Rio or any other city in Brazil, you see happy people. Are they really happy? Isn’t there depression and sadness? Of course. But it is a general impression that people are slightly happier than in other places, even if it is just stereotyping.
The Barbara Walters special on her career was a great ride through history. Amazing life. I would have loved to have had her life. She is, after all, the most fascinating person. I tried to analize the reason of her success and it is, in my humble opinion:
1) She speaks calmly, softly, clearly and intelligently. She never loses her cool (despite the nasal voice).
2) She worked hard, long hours (no wonder she neglected her adopted daughter who greatly resents her).
3) She was not a beauty, but she adopted a classic style and made the most of her looks.
4) She prepared extensively for every interview, getting to know the interviewee better than himself/herself.
5) She famously developed a list of questions that she would spend days on. The questions were thought provoking and dug deep into these people’s personal lives, making them cry and bringing viewership. The order these questions were asked were important for building momentum.
6) She made her interviewees feel comfortable and open up because she demonstrated respect, care, wisdom, class (even if it was fake). She became Ms. Respectability.
7) The woman who had problems in doing anything practical, like cooking or driving a car, had a knack for what makes people tick. And knew how to kiss asses and network.
8) She loved what she did, and still does. Even though she is retiring from “The View”, she is going to continue being its Executive Producer even though she’s 85. When you love what you do, you never want to stop doing it. Lucky few love what they do. Yes, I would have loved to have her life.
A lot of first marriages break when people reach 40, unfortunately. In your late 30’s and early 40’s most people who were married in their 20’s and early to mid-30’s have children. There are many family obligations when your cuhildren are dependent on you. You still interact with your ex, and sometimes that is a source of conflict for the new boyfriend or girlfriend.
Merging familes is not a piece of cake. It is much easier when one of you do not have children and are willing to become a step-parent figure; as long as you don’t demand exclusive attention from your partner. If both have children, it is easier to understand the demands that parenthood entails. It is easier to arrange your routine around the children. However, it can also create a whole slew of problems, namely because you are trying to integrate two families with different values and habits into one. There is also interference from the other parent. No easy task, and I don’t envy couples in that situation.
When you become single in your 50’s though, a lot of the complications with children are generally gone. They may still be in College, but they are not dependent on their parents on a daily basis anymore. That is a great phase for dating again: you both have time, freedom to travel when you wish and lot’s of energy-you are still young. I see the greatest harmony in couples that age.
Finally, the maturity they have achieved make the petty stuff not so important; jealousy is not so much an element any longer, a sense of calm and understanding prevails, a sense of “we don’t have that many decades ahead so let’s make the best of life”, a sense of accomplishment, may it be professional or having successfully raised your children, an interest in causes and other bigger things than worries about money and kids, less need to impress, more personal confidence, less attachment to material things and less sexual addiction-relationships are more based in common interests and companionship than lust. Hopefully, 50 plus folks get to find someone who they want to spend their old age with, since being single and isolated in your later years is one of the biggest causes of early death.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.
What are dinks? That is how you call couples who have double incomes, no kids. Obviously childless couples that make a choice not to have children fit into that category, but I want to discuss the ones who are now empty nesters and middle aged. If you happen to have a good marriage and your kids are grown, living on their own and financially independent, you can have the best of lives.
When does middle age start and end? Somewhere from 45 to 65. Some say middle age starts at 40, some say at 50. Anyhow, since we are all living longer and looking a lot better at 50, I think that age group has been pushed forward.
This phase of your life can be the best in many ways. Your health should be good, provided you take care of it. Your finances are usually more secure, provided you have not been a victim of the job loss and economic upheaval of the 2008 recession former President Bush left us with. Having two incomes, sharing a house and not having any financial or time obligations with your kids does allow you to travel more, invest more, remodel more, enjoy hobbies, eat better, exercise more…the list of benefits is long. Not everyone though is lucky to have a companion at this phase of their lives, especially with the high divorce rate. And some people do very well on their own, financially and emotionally. For people like myself though, for whom having a loving relationship rates as a priority, being part of a DINK is just the ideal situation to be.
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