By KRISTINA MORGAN, BLC EDITOR –
Note: The following article was written several years ago, but remains just as relevant and entertaining today. We have reprinted it for your enjoyment, courtesy of Kristina Morgan and Focus on Mexico.
Those of you who have read my article covering the curative properties of Lake chapala already have some knowledge of bromide, the therapeutic volcanic mineral which evaporates from the lake into the air here. I call it our Happy Gas. But unless you live here you may not know about what I call the Hot Babe Fairy Dust, a phenomenon that occurs at Lake Chapala.
I feel like living in the Lake Chapala area has kind of taken me back in time. There’s the obvious fact that it is like stepping back 50-70 years here regarding the pace, culture and values but that really isn’t what I mean.
I’m turning 40 on March 8th but I look younger than I did when we moved back here in 2002. I feel younger now than I did when I lived in Colorado and I was in my late 20s. I’m not the only one. Many of the people I talk to have had the same experience. Some people have chalked it up to this being a retirement area so there are always people older than us. I don’t think that’s it though, because there are also many young people who live here with their families, working or retired early.
Here’s what I think: like other Latin American countries, as well as Italy, Spain and Greece, etc., Mexican men love women … young, old, skinny, plump…whatever! Their love their bodies, their femininity, their curves. They love women with a little more meat on their bones than we deem acceptable in the US. They love the chase; they love to flirt, and they are experts at it. And I think that’s the secret to our youthfulness as women.
When I was 9 months pregnant a Mexican man whistled at me. I actually did the comical look around thinking, “Who? Me?!” I looked at him with a shade of skepticism and intense gratitude. He looked me straight in the eye and called me a mamacita! Which is like calling someone a hot tamale here in Spanish.
I was recently chatting with a couple of women who were here visiting from the US. The first woman said that there comes a time when women in the US begin to feel invisible. The other woman added that she could almost tell you the day. She said she was a very attractive woman (frankly, she still is) but that as she hit her late 40s and 50s, she said no one would even look when she walked in the room.
I told both of them they were in for an experience here in Mexico. I don’t mean that we derive our self worth from catcalls and overt cow eyes, but I do think that we, as women, like to be appreciated. Adored and worshipped is good, too, but most of us just don’t want to be invisible! Inconsequential! Superfluous! This holds true for women who are in committed relationships, too.
This is one of the surprising benefits of living here. From what I can tell, this is the system: You get decades shaved off on your appearance on a sliding-scale. Women who are 40 look 30, and women who are 50 look 40 and so on until you reach about 70 and then you get a 20-year bonus, and so on.
While I was in Colorado I noticed that the predominant shades there (unless it’s winter white) are beige. Look at the houses. Look at the plains. Look at the clothes people wear. I bought a rockin’, hand-dyed, hand-crocheted fuchsia skirt in Colorado. It was half-off! The store had slate blue and sage green skirts in the same style that were full-price. When I asked the sales lady why the fuchsia was 50% off, she splayed the fuchsia skirt gently and said, “Isn’t it beautiful?” She had thought it would fly out of the boutique but the color was too bold for Colorado while the more demure green and blue did sell.
One of the things I tell people when they come here is to wear all their bright, bold clothing that has been pushed to one end of their closet because they feel they can’t wear it north of the border, for whatever reason. Themore vivid the better. We are like tropical birds in our plumage here. And clearly, because it is so warm the women who come here gradually begin to dress younger in beautiful skirts, embroidered tops in flashy colors, dangly chili pepper earrings. And before you know it a little cleavage is OK, a little leg, etc.
How we feel on the inside never seems to change much. My friends in their 80s say they are the same person now as they were when they were in their 20s. Age really is just a number. I think that the pace here helps a lot. Most people aren’t in a rush or stressed about anything unless they go out of their way to create drama in their lives. So when you take the peaceful and simple rhythm of life into account here and you also add in the fresh, whole food, gentle breezes, beauty, and special magnetic and mineral properties of the lake, there could be something more scientific to our feeling younger and more vital and relaxed here.
You really are only as old as you feel! The cherry on top is that most people who move here lose some weight. We walk more, dance more, laugh more and eat healthy foods, and the pounds melt away with practically no effort.
There is also a refreshing lack of cattiness in the foreign women I have met here. First of all, the women who come here are a different breed. We have many more single women here, ages 35 and up, than we have single men. (Men, are you listening?) Most of the women here are adventurous, secure, self-assured, confident and a little (just a little) wild. I call it being comfortable in our own skin. We are able to celebrate who we are without all the qualifiers or conditions. No, we’re not perfect. The difference may be that we are OK with that.
I want to add a disclaimer here: The hot babe fairy dust wears off a bit when you go back across the border. You really need to be at Lake Chapala to feel its full affects. But you can make it last a bit longer with the right attitude if you’re just up for a short visit. When you begin to feel “beige,” tired and invisible, it’s time to come back to Lake Chapala.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristina Morgan, BLC Editor
Kristina has lived and worked in Mexico and the Lake Chapala area for 17 years. Three of her four children were born and raised here, and are now north of the border furthering their academic studies. Kristina is an Unlimited License General Contractor and PR/Relocation specialist. Although she divides her time between Mexico and the U.S., her heart was claimed by Lake Chapala long ago.