In my last mini-blog posting I asked whether anyone was interested in being a guest blogger here at Married A Filipina. Janet had encouraged me to look for alternate views to my own, though she wasn’t quite willing to write anything herself. There was a rousing response to my request. Actually I am being sarcastic – there was no response.
But a couple days later I got pinged on Facebook by a Filipina who said she might be interested. Our first conversation was brief, chopped off by my having to run to work. She asked if she was qualified and I asked if she was in a relationship with a foreigner. I explained what I was trying to do with my blog; document in humorous fashion a relatively new Fil-Am marriage, but that I thought alternative viewpoints, especially a Filipina’s would add spice to the gumbo.
There was a bit of confusion about how she would “profit” from being a guest blogger and I told her she probably wouldn’t profit at all. She encouraged me to join a FB group she was part of which might give me an idea of her point of view. I did and promptly forgot all about it until the next day when she contacted me again.
Somehow we got on the subject of places to retire in the Philippines. She lived outside Metro Manila and believed that area was the best. Cebu she didn’t like, Mindanao was dangerous. “Read the crime statistics” I was told. My life is boring enough without having to read crime stats. “Cebu is not good,” was her conclusion. ”Lots of hookers.” Typhoons also. And too damn hot.
“I have no interest in hookers,” I replied. I thought that living through a typhoon in my post-retirement dotage might be fun. Hot I figured came with the territory throughout the Philippines. I mentioned that I had been to Valencia outside Dumaguete and that was a bit cooler and very nice.
“It’s too damn hot there also,” I was told.
In short the conversation was negative and boring but I did learn that where she lived there were no bars with hookers. I mentioned once again I had no interest or need in hookers, as I had a sexy wife to go home to. That was where I made my big mistake.
“Picture?” I was asked. “Let me see if she is really sexy.”
By now I was annoyed. “You can see her on my blog – there are some pics there. But of course she is sexy to me.”
“Hope you’re not like many expats calling their ugly wife a beautiful wife lol,” she replied.
“Well, if an expat thinks his wife, ugly or not, is beautiful – I think that’s great.”
“You can use the word great but not beautiful,” I was told.
Now I was in the middle of a classic Filipino argument, one that I have had with several Filipinos, as well as several kanos, namely that some foreigners choose unattractive Filipinas for girlfriends and wives. I have touched on this subject before and it is ultimately in my view a silly debate. Tastes are, after all, different. The sort of foreigner who may view the dark skinned, exotic Filipina beauty as his ideal has a different taste than many Filipinos, who value light skin, long noses, a bit of height; in short who value a different set of beauty standards, possibly a whiter set of standards. It’s debatable whether this is a racial issue, a class issue, or just the old fashion “opposites attract.” Bottom line is that I am perfectly happy with Janet’s color and shorter nose, and you can keep all those Caucasian looking Filipina actresses and models they go gaga over in Metro Manila.
But that explanation was not enough for my new found chatmate who insisted that there was an objective notion of beauty and the foreigners didn’t know what it was and that at least instead of declaring his wife beautiful, the foreigner married to the ugly, horse- faced Pinay should merely say “in my eyes she is beautiful.”
Sexy, it was explained was the same. It required a perfect body size. I tried to claim that “Sexy is also an attitude,” but was clearly wrong.
Eventually, I ended the conversation by falsely claiming I had to go back to work. I thought that was the end of that, but boy was I wrong.
That night, over dinner, I told Janet about my weird conversation with the woman from Metro Manila. I was a bit disappointed that she was the only person who expressed any blogging interest.
The next morning I was at work when Janet messaged me on Facebook. She had read the conversation between us and went ballistic. She messaged the woman with an f-bomb laced tirade using adjectives I didn’t even know she knew how to use. Janet is normally such a sweet person, but get her mad and she can go off. Thank goodness I was on the other side of town.
“You’re mad at me too,” I said. “Why?”
“You should have defended me. She was attacking me and you tried to be nice to her.”
“She really wasn’t directly attacking you.” But I understood what Janet meant. In her view the subtle remarks about expats claiming their wives to be beautiful and sexy were, at least to a certain degree, about Janet.
“I don’t yell and curse at women,” I replied. And I realized that there is a vast difference between how I would react to a man and woman. I suspect that if a man insulted Janet I would be pissed and at least unleash my very skilled tongue at him. I might do more, but at my age and with the shape I am in – it’s probably a bad idea. But with a woman – we’re trained to be polite and respectful, so the most I could say to her was “if the man thinks his wife is beautiful, who am I to say she is not.”
None of this satisfied Janet. She had been disrespected and “wanted war.” I think she was ready to hop on the next flight to Manila and meet this woman head on. I was appalled and reminded myself that when we are in the Philippines not to ever allow Janet to get a bolo. That could prove costly to me.
BTW, I couldn’t find any pictures of Janet looking mean or tough, so I had to fall back on Janet’s standard look – cute! And yes, yes, I know that’s my opinion and not based on objective reality. But it’s true and anyone who says otherwise is gonna hear about it – from Janet 🙂