Last night I took my first salsa class in a year – that’s right, people, a year. It was incredible. And not only was it a great class, it was a Cuban-style class. And since I didn’t have a partner, I got to dance with the teacher. Amazing.
The classes are held in the posh Vivian Pellas gym, which is owned by the richest woman in Nicaragua. As far as I can tell, these classes constitute the entirety of the salsa scene in Nicaragua, since I saw everyone that I met the one time I successfully went out salsa dancing in Managua.
I was on a total high after the class, until a guy I had met dancing those several months ago came up to me and said, “Are you looking a bit more ‘hermosa’ than the last time I saw you?” ‘Hermosa’ translates literally as ‘gorgeous or lovely’, but in Nicaragua it means something like ‘big and beautiful. Ergo, “more ‘hermosa’” basically means “fatter”.
So I said, “Hey, I’ve been in this country for a while now, and I know a thing or two. I know what hermosa is. You mean I got more gordita.”
And he said, “No, I didn’t say that. I said hermosa.”
Sadly, this guy is no the first person to tell me that I’m looking a bit more big and beautiful these days, even though as far as I can tell I haven’t changed since I got here. I think it may be some kind of compliment. But to my gringo mind, fatter is definitely not more beautiful. “Más hermosa” seems like a pretty backhanded compliment to me. But then again, maybe it is my perspective that is messed up. Maybe I should be embracing the fact that in Nicaragua women are considered more attractive with a little more junk in the trunk. Maybe instead of trying to cut back on carbs (as if there were anything else to eat) I can just roll with it. More beautiful. I can live with that.