This is Part 3 in a series about the time I spent in Cuba not long ago. To see all posts in chronological order, Click Here.
There are two questions I start asking everyone I meet: “Why are the women so flamboyant in flaunting their bodies?” And, “Can the Cuban government change its spots?”
When I tell our tour guide, Liliana, about the women I saw at the Casa de Musica, she shakes her head. “Those were jinateras, girls who sell themselves to make extra money.”
“But most of the women around here dress like that. Why?”
“Ask the men,” she says, turning to a group of locals drinking coffee at the next table. They give several reasons: “the climate,” “it’s the style,” “the custom,” and “the men like it.” Laughing, one adds, “We don’t have dangerous animals in Cuba. Only women.”
Girl with jury-rigged phone on street
Liliana says the two major forms of entertainment are music and sex. At most clubs they have condoms on the menu, and sex education starts early. “They use a banana,” she says.
This is Part 1 in a series about the time I spent in Cuba not long ago. To see all 5 posts in chronological order, Click Here.
I heard music—guitars and maracas—coming from a baby blue building in Baracoa, a small town at the Eastern tip of Cuba, where Columbus first landed on the island. Looking through the door, I saw a four-piece band on a wooden dance floor, with several couples doing a provocative salsa and others sitting in metal folding chairs.
I sat down, alone, intending just to watch. I’d recently come to the realization that I’m at the age where I’m invisible. When I walk along the street, no one looks at me, especially not men, and if their eyes accidentally do meet mine, they carom away like billiard balls cracking off the table rail.
I’d no sooner settled in my chair, however, than a man wearing an orange shirt and a shark’s tooth necklace asked me to dance. I hesitated; he looked younger than my son and I hadn’t done any Latin dancing in years. But he stared straight in my eyes, smiling, and moved me about the floor with such assurance that I was soon dancing better than I thought I could.
This was Cuba, where, I’d been told, “Men learn to dance in the crib. It’s genetic.”