Babies don’t feel pain
Mexico City (Mexico), April 13th 2017

For the first time during our long journey we decided to invest some time and money to learn a language. We are no language people, but now we felt to put some energy in it. We went in Mexico a month to a language school to learn a bit of basic Spanish. Armed with a small toolbox full of knowledge, we left the city of Oaxaca. Our teacher gave us an important advice: practice a lot because it is the only way you can really learn a language.

During the remainder of our trip through Mexico, we obviously came into contact with many Mexicans. Typical conversation topics were Trump, soccer, and the cultural differences between our countries. Especially when they heard that we are from the Netherlands, topics as euthanasia and gay marriage were often raised. And although Mexico also makes steps in this field, for example, same-sex marriage possible in Mexico since 2015, a big part of the Mexicans still have problems with it. On this subject, Mexico is still ultraconservative. This is largely explained by the fact that the country is still strictly Catholic.

A garage-hotel in the centre of Mexico City

This conservatism combined with the macho culture among mostly the male Mexicans, frequently leads to funny conversations. A man in a park told us for example, that there are only a very few gay people in his city of Oaxaca. When we told him that scientific research shows that probably 5 to 10% of the world population is homosexual, his mouth dropped open. "Even though”, he said after a few seconds, "here in the city is also a suburb where many gay men are born, so perhaps those figures are correct for that district."

If homosexuality and gay marriage are discussed, the jump to adoptions by homosexuals is easily made. In 2015, the Supreme Court here in Mexico determined that banning adoptions for homosexuals is against the constitution. However, most Mexicans still see nothing in it. Most Mexicans can live with adoption by a lesbian couple, but the idea that two men raise a child scares them. This has everything to do with the fact that men in Mexico generally only play a supporting/secondary role in the upbringing of children. Raising children is a women’s task. "I don’t even trust myself in the upbringing of a child," a man told us. "Can you imagine that two guys do that?”.

A parking garage of a love hotel with parking spots with curtains to hide the car

We already noticed earlier that baby girls in Mexico do get earrings very soon after birth. When we asked someone about the reason, we were told that Mexicans hate it when the sex of their baby is being misjudged. The worst thing that can happen to a Mexican macho man is that his 'tough' baby boy is mistaken for a girl, or when his 'beautiful' baby girl is seen as a baby boy. A set of earrings for the baby girl does avoid a painful confrontation. And it is not painful for the baby, because babies do not feel pain yet, a tough Mexican dad assured us.

Sexuality has a strong presence in the Mexican culture. Women dress provocatively, cheating is seen as inevitable, scarce clothed women adorn the front pages of many newspapers and the number of teenage mothers is very large. Especially the Mexican man likes to see himself as a macho. Mexicans are the best 'lovers' of the world, is what we often hear. And the act of love is not only done with the own partner. A Mexican who isn’t active outside his private bedroom is not real Mexican, is often said. And men are not secretive about it. "It is deep in our culture." "Friday night is for friends, Saturday night is for the sex, and Sunday is the family day." That probably explains the fact that Mexico has a lot of ‘love hotels’, the so-called ‘garage hotels’. These are places where you can rent a room including a secluded parking lot (sometimes with curtains), where you can spend a few hours with your lover without you or your car being seen. These places are often rented by the hour. If we ask whether it is not disrespectful toward the women, men usually react with a shrug: "soy casado, pero no soy castrado" (I'm married but I’m not castrated).

Love hotels are very common in the bigger Mexican cities

A 'secured' parking of a on Piet Mondriaan inspired love hotel in Mexico City

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