As a woman from a long line of people with accents — accents to you, not to me — I have always been at a loss as to why American women’s knees turn to jelly at the sound of a Spanish accent. My sisters are with me on this.
Men are just men. In my case, the men in my Colombian family are brown skinned, long sooty eye lashed, dark haired, and come with the ability, apparently, to make women from the USA tremble just by saying their name. Cynthia trills out of their mouths as Eseentya, Judy is breathed out Hoodeet, Ann becomes the hypnotizing Ahna.
You poor things don’t stand a chance, do you?
While growing up, our home in Wisconsin served as a stagecoach stop to my 500 family members in Colombia that needed a place to stay while they applied for citizenship in this country. My childhood memories are of a Prima/Cousin Paulina, Tio Hernando, Tia Beatriz, or Primo Julio Cesar, and assorted others who stayed with us. Of all the people mentioned here who popped into our lives, it was my Primo, my cousin Julio Cesar who has given me the best glimpse into how a Spanish accent knocks an American woman flat on her face.
Julio Cesar was every bit the personification of his name. He came from South America to stay with us while establishing residency in the US. A single man, he was ready to participate in the swinging life of America. Knowing no one in this country, my older sister and I became his friends. He must have been about in his early 30′s, my sister in her mid 20′s, and I was old enough to go along on nights out.
One year there was a Valentine’s Day Singles Dance at a local community college. Julio Cesar wanted to go, and we went with him. To us, he is just a guy, our cousin, who knows only the bare essentials of English. Latino men are always well dressed, and Julio Cesar took it to the nines that night. He was ready for to meet dah loff.
We entered the auditorium where the the Valentine’s Day dance was in full swing. The three of us, all looking sharp, standing by the bar awaiting drinks. There is a young, young blonde student next to us. She orders a coca-cola, and Julio Cesar pays for it, not saying a word. Up to this point, he looks like the farmhand Eb on Green Acres, but, within seconds of saying ees my plezoor to buy for joo, soh beeeyooteefool, right before our eyes Julio transforms into Andy Garcia in this woman’s eyes. We see the actual visual change occur in her brain by the dilation of her pupils. Her blacked irises now look like something from a Japanese anime.
Her cheeks flush so fast I’m afraid she’ll burst into flames.
Do you see her looking at him like he’s the last man on earth?
my sister whispers to me.
Yeah, what he lacked in looks he sure made up for with that accent, I respond back.
Drooldrool, says the young blonde thing at the bar.
The blonde is looking at him, our Eb Dawson cousin, like he’s the
only popsicle left in the freezer on a 90 degree day.
My cousin decides to start a conversation with her, with his near zero English
skills, Joo are so beeyooteefool tonight..like dees always?
Drooldrool is all he gets back.
Dees iss a skoool forr onlee dee beeyoooteefools, no? he prods further.
Drooldrool says blondie.
A few months later, at Julio Cesar’s Barbizon English Today! class the instructors try to tame his accent, suggesting he temper down the short letter i from his current double ee pronounciation.
He came home from his lesson miffed, Dey want mee too echange dee wayee Iee say dee I’s. Why would I want too looos dees accent? I can ask for aneeteeng and get eet.
I will never understand the lure of the Spanish accent, but ask me about what happens when Gerard Butler turns to the camera in Ugly Truth and invites the twins to finish up with it then so I can wrestle you in jello. Bloody hell the accent makes a man sexy, dunnit?
Alexandra is an overanalyzing, oversensitive mother of three boys who somehow found herself named as BlogHer ’11′s Voice of The Year for Humor. She has been a mother since 1994, which means she hasn’t been right about anything since. She blogs of the sweet and the funny while trying to go unnoticed in her small town. You can find her at Good Day, Regular People. Did we mention socially awkward? We should, which is why the internet was made for her.