“El Guapo, you have to walk on the outside of the sidewalk when you walk with me.”
Mi abuelita was always making rules for me when I was growing up.
But abuelita, why?
“Because you are a man. When a man walks with a woman, he should walk on the street side of the sidewalk.”
But, I’m just a boy abuelita. And you’re mi abuelita.
“El Guapo, every respectable man with manners walks on the outside of the sidewalk. It’s the polite and gentlemanly thing to do.”
But abuelita, why does it matter?
“When was I was a girl growing up in Guatemala, the streets were made of sand and rock. There weren’t any sewage drains, so when it rained, the sides of the streets would be muddy puddles. When carts went by, they would splash everywhere. The man, the man with manners, who would be walking on the outside of the sidewalk, would be splashed and his woman would stay dry.”
But wouldn’t she get splattered?
“Oh, El Guapo. Your imagination… Si, maybe she would get splattered, but the important thing is that most of the water would be on the man. The man with good manners and respect. You should always do this when walking with a woman.”
Even when it’s not raining?
“Si, El Guapo. Even when it’s not raining.”
Mi abuelita would always move me to the outside of the sidewalk when walking with her. Always. She did it so much that it became second nature for me to always walk on the outside.
Later in life, I was able to tell my hermanitas about this. I would tell them that they should only be with a man who walks on the outside of the sidewalk. No real man would ever allow a woman to walk on the outside.
The other day, mi hermana told me that for the first time in her life, she had found a man who walked on the outside of the sidewalk. She told me this with a smile in voice because he did it on his own, without any prodding. I am happy for mi hermana.
Even if the man was a gringo, with spiky hair.