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Quinceaneras in Question

March 19, 2019

By Gerardo Osorio


            Don’t get me wrong, I love being Mexican, but there are somethings in our culture I find a little outrageous. Somethings, like the Quinceañera. For my melanin deficient friends who don’t know, the Quinceañera is a party for 15 year old Mexican girls, to celebrate their transition into womanhood. Obviously, I’m not a girl, but after being in over way too many Quinceañeras, I have a lot to say about them.

            There are three main components that must be addressed to ensure a successful party. First, you must rent out a ballroom big enough to accommodate at least 1000 people. You wouldn’t want to forget to invite your cousin, or your cousin’s boyfriend, or your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister-in-law’s great grandmother.

Another thing I find completely baffling is why the girls choose to spend money on centerpieces. Sure, they complete the look of the auditorium, but at the end of the night, there will always be someone who goes around and takes them off of all the tables, doing who know what with them.

            The next item on the prep list is the girl herself. As the guest of honor at this party, she needs to look part. Really, I don’t think the dresses they wear are worth the money. Imagine spending $2000 dollars and expecting a beautiful with sparkling crystals, but what you end up getting is nothing of the sort.

            The last part of the preparation, and truly the reason I and so many others agree to be in fifteens, is the food. Of course, we Mexicans aren’t going to hire caterers- we’re going to do it ourselves. This is no easy task. In the week before, everyone in the girl’s family spends every waking moment making hundreds of tamales, pots of beans, pans of rice, and so much more. Mexican women will keep making food, unless you physically stop them. 5000 tortillas will be enough, Mom.

            Another important aspect of Quinceañeras is the traditions. The most important of these involve many dances.

            This is where my participation comes into play. The honored 15 year old asks a group of boys and girls to dance in her fifteen. I have been in several of these dances. Anyway, each girl, called a dama, has a partner called the chambelan. Sure it's flattering to be asked to be in dances, but practicing for those very dances is one of the last things I want to spend my time on. At the practices, you have to deal with the girls talking every chance they get, or the guys playing soccer, or making the person teaching us the dance cry, and yes, that did happen once.

            Along with that, there’s the father daughter dance, the real tear jerking moment of the night. Don’t cry Dad, you still get to pay for her phone, her car, her clothes, her college, she’s not leaving you quite yet.

            As much as I try, I will never forget this party because I now own far too many different-colored suspenders and matching bow ties, and a rainbow of dress shirts.

            The effects are everlasting. I have scars on my feet from blisters made by dancing in my dress shoes for so long. I’ve hurt my back lifting girls in the dances, I am in debt from my cousin’s party, and I am never staying up that late again.

My message to girls having fifteens in the future, after so much experience in the field, I have sworn off Quinceañeras--- sorry ladies, you’ll have to find another guy.

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