La Cuarentona Fulfills Her YearsTuesday, August 27, 2013
|Rosemary, Lauren, Ale, Rebecca & Hilary|
It had to happen inevitably. My two daughters are cuarentonas. Hilary is 42 and Alexandra was 45 today.
The Spanish term cuarentona (also sometimes, but rarely used, to describe men of that uncertain age) and the even worse one cincuentona are often used when citing the age of a famous actress. We who speak Spanish have yet to adopt the North American and most politically correct actor, or such terms as server, fisher and sex worker. In fact cars are feminine, la máquina and sexo is firmly in the male gender. Women would be classified as sexo femenino with even the latter femenino being grammatically in the male gender, too.
My two cuarentonas, my wife and my two granddaughters were there at the table with only my son-in-law Bruce Stewart and me to represent the dominant sex.
I was particularly happy to see my two daughters beautifully made up and well dressed and beaming at me across the table. Ale and Hilary were obviously experiencing what I call the Brother Edwin effect. This has to do with the fact that as people get older the differences of three and four years which can be a gulf in our youth or early teens, they, the differences diminish and disappear. Both my daughters used to differ and quarrel and now they are on the same page.
But not all Spanish terms relating to sex and age are defamatory or deprecatory. Consider a cumpleaños or birthday.
In English the word birthday is a mathematical term that measures where you stand or are about to die in reference to your first lungful of air.
In Spanish years, años is preceded by the verb cumplir which my on-line RAE (Real Academia Española) gives as its first definition:
(Del lat. complēre).
1. tr. Ejecutar, llevar a efecto. Cumplir un deber, una orden, un encargo, un deseo, una promesa.
The word promise can be discerned there. Consider then that cumpleaños means literally to fulfill a promise in years.
Since I take that meaning, that wonderful meaning at face value I can assert that today, August 27, 2013, my daughter Ale has achieved much in her life. She seems content and happy (difficult to be both in my estimation).
Of this I am proud and I believe that my taciturn wife Rosemary would agree, too.