Oaxacan Legend

TEXT: “Una vez, en mi pueblo, había una niña bonita y joven. Tenia como dieciséis anos. Ella se enamoro de un hombre muy viejo. El hombre tenia como cincuenta y estaba todo gastado por la vida. Todos en el pueblo le dijeron que no salga con el pero ella deicidio vivir con el. Despise de un tiempo, la niña se empezó a very muy vieja. Le salieron arrugas y su pelo se hizo feo y seco. Empiezo a actuar amargada y cansada. A cambio, el hombre salía y cada día se veía mejor. Empiezo a caminar mas derecho, su piel resaltaba y su pelo se oscurezco. Tenia mas humor y actuaba mas joven.”


CONTEXT: Female, 42, Oaxacan

ANALYSIS: This woman is from a pueblo in Oaxaca. We were discussing a relationship between a woman and man with a very large age gap. She then told me this myth. I asked about the origin and validity and discovered it was a myth that is told to girls when they want to date older men. It is used to discourage inappropriate relationships but also to point out the psychological occurrence of chameleonizing within a relationship. She said her aunt told this to her when she was young and an older man was courting her in her village. It worked and she decided not to go out with him.

TRANSLATION: “Once, in my village, there was a pretty and young girl. She was about sixteen years old. She fell in love with a very old man. The man was about fifty and was all worn out by life. Everyone in town told her not to go out with him but she decided to live with him. After a while, the girl started to get very very old. She got wrinkles and her hair became ugly and dry. She start to act bitter and tired. In return, the man went out and looked better every day. He began to walk more straight, his skin stood out and his hair darkened. He had more humor and acted younger.”

THOUGHTS: I think this myth obviously very dated and I can see the tactics used to instill fear or a bias around taboo relationships. While I think we now live in a modern world where nothing is as rigid and there is room for experimentation I do understand the psychological aspect portrayed here and can see why its use would be employed.