Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

The Russian Bride scam

Just like the Nigerian emails promising you millions, there are some men who still fall for the Russian bride scam. In their enormous desire to have a beautiful woman in their lives, they forego all common sense and believe the emails with profuse declarations of love from a young beauty who falls suddenly in love with a paunchy middle aged, unnatractive middle class American.

I had a friend who was in communication with such a young woman, and started getting all excited until I warned him about it. He poo-pooed me and said she was “serious” about him and he was going to pay for her to come to America. I forgot about the story until a few months later when I asked him what happened to his “Russian beauty”. He relunctantly admitted I was right and that she was phony.

Some men don’t learn! The media,  too much exposure to porn, immaturity and their own incapacity to find a woman who has things in common with them instead of thinking with their “other head” make them very prone to these scams. These men have a Peter Pan complex and do not look in the mirror (see my post about “Men and mirrors”).  They are not looking for a soulmate or a balanced relationship, they are thinking of sex-without even contemplating the improbability of a young beautiful woman really fall in love with them, stay with them and have a peaceful relationship with them. They are not thinking of the consequences or the fact that they might be ripped off. They are really thinking with their penises!

For more information on such scams, see:



April 29, 2009 Posted by | Relationships | Leave a comment

Men who don’t like to be single

From the experience I have gathered by living several decades, I have seen many kinds of couples. Couples who like to do everything together like twins, couples who enjoy many things together but also have their own activities and friends and couples who have very separate lives, seeing little of each other.

Numbers one and two seem to work well, but inevitably when I see number three I later find out they divorced, and I am not surprised. For that matter, I remember meeting a couple a few decades ago who told me they had an open marriage. A couple of years later I heard they were divorced. I guess no one is totally immune to jealousy!

My parents have marriage type number 1 and it works very well for them, but they do belong to an older generation. Nowadays, life has many distractions and offers many more possibilities. It’s impossible to like everything the same way, and it also healthy that men can play sports and relate to other men, and that women can spend some time with her woman friends, although I oppose activities that include flirting with the opposite sex.

Some men (and women as well) cannot be alone. There are men who do not want to be the loner, the bachelor and do not want to “score” many women. All they want is one good companion, someone they feel comfortable with. These men often do not like to dine alone, go to the movies alone or travel alone, and prefer to have a woman to do those things with. Paul McCartney is the first example that pops to my mind.

Paul had a longstanding and happy marriage, and feeling alone, jumped into a fast relationship with a much younger woman who had a shady past as a “sexy model”: Heather.  He admired her work with landmine victims and did not have enough time to see her real personality. Their differences became obvious and unsurmountable and we all know what happened. As that marriage went kaput, we all thought Paul would become a little relationship shy, but it seems that this time he found someone who has her head on her shoulders and is more compatible with him: Nancy Shevell.  Paul is never seen without her, and he is an example of a man who likes to have a woman in his life.

Like my parents who are each other’s best friends and do everything together, Paul seems to like that arrangement. Another couple that comes to mind is Nancy and Ronald Reagan.  They came first to anyone around them, and there was a huge sense of admiration between them.  Besides having common interests and preferences, it seems that admiration is a strong factor between couples who have a very tight marriage.

At the opposite side of the spectrum, I see many marriages where the husband and wife are together out of laziness. They don’t do anything together.  It can take years for you to meet their spouse. When the man refers to his wife, it is with sarcasm. She travels with her girlfriends not with him. He is always seen with his buddies, not with her. For some strange reason (kids, money, habit?) they don’t get a divorce.

In your opinion, which is the best kind of marriage? And in which category do you put your own marriage?

Sir Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell (

              Nancy and Paul

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Relationships | 1 Comment

Susan Boyle is refreshing

Susan Boyle’s success has been astounding not only because she has a superb voice that produces goosebumps, she also looks like the generic middle aged woman you see in the streets. Everyone loves an underdog story, that gives people hope. It also gives older people hope, that someone can still live up to their dreams later in life.

We have grown so used to seeing starlets and singers look the same (think Britney Spears, Madonna, Cristina Aguillera, Lady Gaga and Jessica Simpson) with their beached blond hair and sexy outfits that is very refreshing to listen to a singer and enjoy their…voice.

We live in an era where the emphasis in beauty is everywhere. You want to be a famous writer? You need to look good. Editors will make sure the back cover shows a glamorous picture of you!  You want to be a successful Realtor? Make sure your picture ad is photo-shopped to make you look good-and don’t forget make up and hair to take that picture! You want to report the news on CNN, MSNBC and others? You gotta look stunning.  What happened to raw talent? What happened to not judging a book by its cover 🙂 ?

Susan’s talent is so intense that her appearance doesn’t matter. I hope they don’t give her a makeover. I don’t need to see her looking skinny in black leather, nor does she need to become a blonde. I just want to hear her voice.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Celebrities | 2 Comments

Concerts in Brazil and in America

If you attend a pop or rock concert in Brazil be prepared for a big difference: we don’t sit. We dance all the way. I went to a Pet Shop Boys concert in Washington D.C. a few years ago where everyone was sitting quietly in their chairs while the PSB duo rocked their famous hits on stage. I did get up with a few others to dance but felt guilty of blocking the view of those who sat behind me, so I would alternate between sitting and standing. It just didn’t feel right. For some reason I did not enjoy that show as much as the first Pet Shop Boys concert I attended, which was held in a concert house with no seats.

It all depends what kind of venue the concert is being held. Some few show houses do not have seating so you have to stand-and then you can do all the dancing you desire. Some shows are held in theater style rooms, or stadiums, and the space for dancing along with the tunes is very limited.

Concerts in Brazil are usually held in big parks where a stage is set. There is a lot of space for people to dance, with little comfort and lots of sore feet. But the excitement that goes through the crowds, with the cell phones and lights and “the wave” is contagious! If I want to sit, I will watch a concert in the comfort of my TV room! Even the Wolf Trap, a concert venue in Vienna, VA, which has a lot of lawn space…people sit. They bring their blankets or mats and they sit. Chalk it up to cultural differences!

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Difference between cultures | Leave a comment

Do smily kids become happily married adults?

 Our President Obama, a very smiley boy



I read the DePauw University study that says that kids who smile more grow up to have happier marriages:


Even though it seems like a very unscientific assertion, I think there can be a link there. The researchers concluded that those who are usually happier may therefore be more likely to try to work through the difficulties in their relationships.

What came to my mind immediately was president Obama. In all his childhood pictures you see a very smiley boy. Actually, he continues smiling! Accordingly, Obama has a stable and seemingly happy marriage.

Being a mother of two, I can say that my children’s personalities were very clear from the moment they were babies. And now, 2 decades later, their personalities do reflect what I saw as a baby, toddler and child growing up.  Some people just have a sunnier disposition from an early age, and that positive personality and ability to always keep up the good mood may help their marriage and all the other relationships in their lives.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Psychology | Leave a comment

Colleges and the culture of “shots”


It seems College students are doing shots and passing out in parties more than ever.

I heard from my own College student daughter how many of her friends mix alcohol, Xanax and uppers like Aderrol.  I hope I don’t hear about any tragedies.  At least they don’t drink and drive, since most kids do not have a car in campus and walk or take the bus to the bars surrounding the campuses.

I mentioned to my Dad how much kids drink in College here in the US. He told me that during his College days, there also was the peer pressure to drink.  Whenever you get a group of guys living together, drinking seems to be a distraction. My father said he thought it was stupid to drink until you pass out, so in order to avoid the pressure to drink and be known as an outsider, he would go to a bar with a friend before the drinking get together and have a beer. When time came to go to the party, he would already show up “drunk”. Sometimes he had two other really drunk guys carry him to his dorm-while he was in reality sober. I had to laugh at how ingenious that was.

My husband also used to drink -under peer pressure and not by choice-during his Air Force days in New Zealand.  He sometimes employed the trick of throwing the drink out when no one is looking. These stories make me think that young age drinking has less to do with the “loss of values” in American society than with the fact that peer pressure is powerful amongst young people who are grouped together and trying to “belong”. I also believe kids who are shy and kids who have deep hidden pains are the ones who tend to overdo it. Finally, people have different levels of resistance to alcohol, and some can pass out after only 3 drinks.

From my experience, it seems to me that young people in Brazil drink less. Maybe it is the warmer weather, but they drink to get social or to become less shy, so that takes a couple of beers or a caipirinha or two, no more, while it seems the intent in American parties is to drink until you pass out.

My advice to College kids that don’t want to pass out, throw up, feel awful and have a nasty hangover the next day: limit yourself to 2 drinks only. Drink some water, soda or tonic between drinks. Or have your two drinks and then start with the water and soda.  Lastly, you can always employ the tricks my father and my husband used if you want to seem “cool” and belong 🙂





April 20, 2009 Posted by | Difference between cultures, Lifestyle | Leave a comment

What happened to perfumes?

Like many women, I am a perfume lover. I put on perfume on a daily basis, like deodorant. I also love a man that smells nice. Some American men don’t do the perfume thing, they consider it “gay”, but a man who wears cologne gets my attention 🙂

In recent years, I have noticed that most imported perfumes I buy are very weak. They simply don’t last more than an hour or less. They seem to evaporate very quickly. And I am not talking about “eau de toilette”, which is less concentrated, but “eau de parfum” as well. What happened to someone walking by you and leaving a trace of wonderful perfume?

Obviously too much perfume is offensive, especially the cheap kind, but it is nice to get near someone and smell something pleasant.

A friend of mine who works in the fashion industry said the same name brand perfume one buys in Europe and in the USA have different strengths. She thinks they include more alcohol in the perfumes that come to the American market. That would explain why they don’t seem to last, at least to me. It would be interesting to hear the opinion of perfume lovers and conoisseurs.

  Bermuda, by Michael Kors, one of my favorites

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Fashion | Leave a comment

Thanks JLo

I want to thank Jeniffer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and Jessica Biel for making round and not-so-small butts considered attractive in America. I am Latin, therefore I am curvy. I have hips, thighs and a butt. I grew up in the 70’s when hip-less/but-less models were all the rage. All the “Charlie’s Angels” actresses were skinny with no trace of a butt. Panty lines were considered a sin in those days. The butt had to be as non-existent and as discreet as possible. Women who had more generous backsides learned it was better just to hide them with a long jacket or a tunic.

The African American community has always embraced their big “derrieres”. White America however, was still firmly obsessed with big breasts. Things started to change in the 90’s, not only with hip hop culture but also with the large Hispanic population that started coming to this country. Some new celebrities emerged, and a new body shape started becoming more popular: slim women with round and toned butts. The market even has padded underwear to sell those less gifted in that area!

The good thing about that is that the strict standards of beauty have expanded, and women of different shapes can feel attractive.  However, the skeleton look that is in vogue in Hollywood is unhealthy and unattractive.

As with many things in life, a good balance is better than extremes.  Since many studies show that men prefer women with a few healthy curves, “some meat on their bones”, I think that unwittingly, JLo, Kim, Beyonce and Jessica have made a lot of women feel better!

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Fashion | 1 Comment

Intercultural marriages even more difficult

That marriage is tough we all know. Starting with the fact that men and women have structural brain differences, that people evolve and change over the years, that life’s disappointments and major changes can impact the marriage, that it is hard to keep lust alive after a while and that some couples do not have the interpersonal skills to communicate and handle their differences, it can become even harder when you add to this list the fact that each partner may have been raised in a different culture.

More and more intercultural and international marriages are happening in America, especially in big cosmopolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. When it comes to marriage between an American man and a Brazilian woman, there are those cultural differences I already alluded to in my post about dating between these cultures.

The David Goldman case brought to light how sometimes the cultural differences become too much. There is the risk that the foreign partner may want to go back to their country and the consequences of that for couples with minor children.

There were probably several elements as to why Bruna, his ex-wife, decided to return to Brazil:  she probably felt more comfortable in her own society, she probably liked having her folks around and spend the holidays with them, she might have missed the food and weather and the lifestyle and she probably thought it is easier to have a husband who speaks your language and shares your culture.

In the website, you can read that Bruna felt neglected. She also did not like the fact that her husband was always busy doing “things around the house”.  As a Brazilian living in the USA, I can understand that comment: in Brazil, labor is still cheap, so people with more money hire handymen to fix things in their properties. Brazilians do not spend their Sundays working around the house or fixing things. They spend it in leisure: the beach, a “churrasco” with friends, lounging by the swimming pool with family, a visit to the mall or the park, visiting with friends or relatives, or simply relaxing over a movie on a rainy day. It is almost as if Sunday is a “sacred” day not made for working.

Second marriages, merged families, different religious beliefs and marriages with different educational and financial levels all have added stress.  International marriages have the added pressure of overcoming different worldviews, and sometimes even some language barrier. Even though I am fluent in English,  sometimes there are little misunderstandings with my husband that can be caused by a different interpretation of a certain word.  Some habits are hard to break, and things we grew up with sometimes stay with us forever.

While it is enriching to be married to someone from a different country, it is also more of a challenge. Immigrants sometimes are in  a difficult situation because once adapted in their new country, they find themselves not being a typical citizen of the country left behind either, which makes them have cultural differences with someone from their native country. Almost like having a split identity.

As my mother says, “if there is love, all these things can be surmounted”. She is still a romantic and believes in the concept of everlasting love. I would like to be so optimistic, but my cynical side does not allow me to. Instead, I think men and women who are married to a foreign-born person have to create with their partner their own habits, their own family culture, and be open to discuss their different perceptions and views about things. You can end up with a lot richer marriage at the end.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Difference between cultures, Relationships | 1 Comment

The Twitter Phenomenon

I am a bit of a internet addict/techie/trend lover, I confess.  In the early 90’s I already was on the BBS before it became the World Wide Web! I had an email address that I don’t even remember than. So when I hear about something new, I want to check it out.  I heard about Tweeter and was not too impressed initially. I thought to myself: what’s the attraction? Isn’t Facebook good enough? Who cares about short messages? 

Being the trendie lover I decided to give it a try. Ok, so this is a mix between text messaging and social networking websites. I started sending some tweets, especially when I am waiting for something somewhere and trying to fall asleep while having my addiction, oops, my iPhone in my hands.

I realized that Twitter is like sending text messages to all your friends at the same time instead of only one. And I also realized that there is a responsibility with what you say, because you can get in trouble with impulsive messages sent in moments of anger, spite or cattiness.

The last thing I would do is add that to my cell. Who wants to get messages from several people all day long? Most of them silly like “I am going to take a shower”? Does Ashton Kutcher check messages from 1 Million people?

On the other hand, imagine the power it gives you to reach people. Ashton can get 1 M people listen to him extremely quickly. He can send vital information out asap. If I were the head the United States Homeland Security department, I would have Ashton working for me. For politicians, another invaluable tool. Get their message across.

It amazes me that the internet still has endless possibilities. When you think that everything has been thought of, there comes some new amazing tool. Twitter has achieved the maximum honor: to become a verb. People are “tweeting” like they are “googling”.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Technology | Leave a comment