My grandpa once told me how he courted my grandma. Those were different times. Romance was nothing like today.
He’d just come from Paraguay, leaving behind his land, his family and a pregnant girlfriend, to better his luck in the promise land: Argentina. Paraguay was a little savage, compared to my Europeanized country. Paraguayan courtship was simple and effective to populate empty land, while Argentinians had the formality that their predecessors had brought with them from Europe.
A few months after meeting my grandma, they had no other choice but to formalize the relationship, and he had to go meet my great-grandfather, a thoroughbred Spaniard, but a Quixotic with firm values, and not a libertine skeptic like most of today’s Spaniards.
A dinner was waiting for him at the table, but first he was left alone with his destiny, the hand which would decide whether he would continue his courtship and my mother and I would ever be born. And so it was that this dialogue ensued:
-So, tell me, please, what you, sir, came to tell me today.
-Well, I won’t hide from you, sir, that I’ve been courting your daughter for two months now. And, so you, sir, don’t learn it from gossiping mouths, I will admit the night is my favorite part of the day, there’s rarely a day in which I get up before noon, I never shun alcohol and I smoke like a chimney. I’m also an inveterate gambler, wasting money on horses gives me a thrill only comparable to that of the Russian roulette, and, fortunately, I’m a ladies’ man; they love me and the feeling is reciprocated.
-Who in God’s name you think you are, sir, coming into my house to tell me these outrageous things. If you think I’ll allow such a debauchee like you to spend one more second with my daughter, even to say his goodbyes, you are awfully mistaken. Have you no shame, sir?
-No, shame I don’t have, but what I do have is 10 hectares of land and a sugar factory in the province of Chaco.
-Well, sir, no one is perfect. Welcome to the family.
Those were different times. Romance was nothing like today.