La Rubia de CategoríaThursday, July 20, 2017
As a little boy (I have begun at least 100 blogs with that line) in Buenos Aires most of the people I knew had brown, dark brown or black hair.
The few that had blonde hair were either my English relatives or American girls at the American Grammar school I attended. I was besotted with Mary Lou Chase when I was in the fifth and sixth grade. She had very light blonde hair. I dreamed about her every night for a long time. The only other blonde of note was Evita. She had her hair pulled back into a bun very much like my mother’s hair. She came to our school to plant a tree. I could not get my eyes off her face and her blonde hair.
When we moved to Mexico City in 1954 rubias (blonde women) became güeras (with one special exception mentioned below). For many in Mexico in that time there was an expression (a most racist one) in that when one was about to get married the person was invariably asked if he or she were marrying a light-skinned person. The expression in question was, “para mejorar la raza,” or to better the race by lightening the skin of one’s subsequent children. I remember seeing many ads in Mexico City buses featuring skin lightening creams. TV beer ads of the makers of Corona featured American blondes (with obvious American accents when they spoke in Spanish) and said, "Corona, su rubia de categoría."
It wasn’t until the Mexican Olympics I968 that Mexicans began to trumpet themselves as the bronze race. There was by then a genuine effort to put away a racism imposed by the lighter-skinned Spaniards who conquered Mexico in the 16th century.
But I was not going to adopt any of those ideas. It was in 1968 that I saw (from behind) a blonde woman with very long hair, wearing a mini-skirt to show off her legs. I determined then that I was going to marry her. And I did.
Sometime in 1979 I was befriended by the son of the Chief of the Mexico City Police who had been sent on exile (for safety reasons) to Vancouver. He had a neat business of importing shoes into Canada that were made by Mexicans in Mexican prison. He liked to come to my house to build my collection of 1000-plus jig-saw puzzles. One day he asked me to photograph his lovely Mexican girlfriend who happened to be blonde (not a real one to my eyes).
I used Kodak B+W Infrared Film which I knew would lighter her skin to the satisfaction of her beau. I have long forgotten her name.