READING SMOKE SIGNALS
Dear Dolores: I met this charming guy at work and he cajoled me into giving him my phone number. We’ve texted each other a few times trying to know each other. I have now moved away to go to college and although I come home quite often, he always has an excuse not to meet. Then, sometimes I don’t hear from him for weeks, and then he says he didn’t get my message or that his phone battery went dead. But he still hints that he’s interested in me. I’m so confused and I don’t know what to do.
—Liz in Miami
Dear Liz: I get so many letters similar to yours from women wondering why some guy doesn’t call/text/e-mail them and asking me what it means. It seems that in this age of advanced communication technology, we’ve forgotten how to interpret human signals. I guess it was a lot easier in ancient times. People knew that if there were no smoke clouds rising up from there yonder over the hill, then nothing was happening in the next village. Well, dear chicas, if he doesn’t call, it means that no está pasando nada, except some fairy tale going around in your head. Move on.
THE NAME GAME
Dear Dolores: I’m getting married in November and have been thinking about the whole name-changing situation since I’m marrying a non-Latino. Of course, I will take on my husband’s name, but as a proud Latina I don’t want to lose my apellido. How can I keep my surname as women do in Latin America?
—Nameless in CT
Dear Nameless: The best way to accomplish that without getting your identity all mixed up in official documents, etc. is to hyphenate your and your husband’s surnames, for example Fulana González-Murphy or Zutana Martínez-Schwartz. I know some people don’t like hyphens, but without it, the apellido-challenged American bureaucracies will only pick up the Murphy or the Schwartz and the apellidos paternos would disappear or become an initial anyway. In Latin America it’s different because everybody uses two surnames and their Latin-savvy computers know it. I actually think those multiculti, compound surnames sound kind of cool.
—Buena suerte and congratulations, D
PRISONER OF MEN
Dear Dolores: Any day now, my long-time, live-in boyfriend is getting out of jail, where he’s been for the past seven years for selling drugs. I love him and have missed him a lot, but now I’m in a bind. Last New Year’s Eve I met another guy and fell for him. However, he soon became very possessive and jealous. At one time he even broke my walls and my phone, with the excuse that he loves me. Now I don’t know what to do? Should I stay with the man I’ve known for a long time or stay with the new celoso guy?
—Katherine in Cyberspace
Dear Katherine: M’ija, por Dios, why don’t you make the effort to meet better hombres? If you keep hooking up with guys involved in illegal activities or iron-fisted, violent lover-boys, you are bound to be abandoned or killed by one of them sooner or later. Show some respect for yourself and set some standards of quality for the men you give your heart and your body to. Always remember, Es mejor estar sola que mal acompañada. Lose those losers.
—It’s as simple as that, D