Thursday, January 20, 2011

'Cowboy del Amor' ...

My pal Bruce knows that I'm always up for a good documentary, so he passes along recommendations from time to time.

This morning, he sent a note telling me about "Cowboy del Amor," the story of a cupid in a cowboy hat who fixes up willing Mexican women with lonely American men.

Bruce wrote, in part:

"I found myself bewildered, amused, disgusted, and sympathetic, but I was never bored. An interesting -- and sometimes compelling -- tale of a strange business.

The film certainly raises a lot of questions: What makes a good marriage? Why are American men so lonely they will go to another country to look for companionship? Are American women too difficult to please? What happens to these people after the cameras have left?"

Yup, good questions, indeed.

So tonight, I called it up on Netflix and clicked Play.

And 20 minutes later, I turned it off. And wrote back to Bruce.

This is what I had to say:

"(Let me preface all of this with the statement that I have no qualms with the fact that you suggested this movie to me, so don't take what I'm about to say personally.)

OK, I watched 20 minutes of it before I had to turn it off.

You're right that it raises a lot of questions, but the fact that these men stay so narrowly focused on a woman's waist size disgusts me. The ad that went in the paper said any candidate couldn't be more than 130 pounds, then that was lowered to 120 pounds when the translator was on the phone. A woman who was 82 kilos was called "a woman and a half." If 60 kilos is 120, then 82 kilos is 164, which isn't very heavy.

And even if it was, the fact that he says he's a sincere person and just wants to find someone to love, but anyone who's more than 120 pounds is unworthy of even consideration?

I'm sick to death of the objectification of women. Men don't seem to want mates. They want trophies. I blame, in part, shows like 'According to Jim': somewhat oafish, not particularly attractive guy is married to beautiful, skinny, smart woman.

It's like all men think they deserve that, even if they don't bring many things to the table themselves.


I've written about this before. And I don't expect anything is going to change. With most men. Not all men.

But as I wrote in another post:

"... the man who wrote the article for the Telegraph, bless his well-intentioned heart, will never be able to understand the complexities of what women go through, because so much of what we go through is caused by men who don't grasp how much damage they're causing every time they cast aside a woman because she's not thin enough or not beautiful enough.

Those actions might seem insignificant from the men's perspectives, but they are not glancing blows for most women. Most women end up on the mat after taking one of those hits. Yes, we get up eventually, but the effect is cumulative. The damage lasts."

Rick, the one and only man I witnessed looking for love in tonight's doc (so long as that potential love was skinny), seemed like a pretty average guy. Somewhere in middle age, glasses, bald, average face, decent build. I don't doubt that he's an adequate human being. But my ears perked up when he told one woman on the phone that his marriage ended because his wife went through the change of life and wasn't the same person anymore.

Ivan, Mr. Cowboy, waved his arms and made slashing marks across his throat to get Rick to shut the hell up, and that was too bad. I'd have been interested to know just how Rick's ex wasn't the same: Had she gained weight? Had hormones affected her moods? Had she evolved as a person and realized she and the man to whom she was married wanted different things?

And speaking of things, when Rick tells his Mexican prospects that American women want too many things, what does he mean? Material things? Attention? Equality?

Methinks men and women have very different reactions to this film. If you've seen it or someday see it, let me know what you thought or think.


Anonymous Alison said...

You've made me want to watch this.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Alison, if you get through the whole thing, let me know if I should have stuck with it.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Tom Erdman said...

Hi Beth,
I think we're all hypocrites to some degree. I'm overweight (if I'm honest with myself). And, I'm bald, and I've got wrinkles. But, I've never defined myself by that.
My "ex" spent so much time making herself beautiful, and she was, that she forgot who she was. When we walked into a room, everyone looked at her. I appreciated the beauty, but I didn't appreciate what it did to her.
It got to be where her worth was defined by me complimenting her beauty, but we could never have a substantive conversation.
I don't want that again.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Well, I'm certainly not saying looks never matter. They do. Of course they do. Attraction is part of the package.

I'm sorry that your ex was so caught up appearances to the exclusion of what really matters. Looks fade. At the end of the day, you want someone sitting across the breakfast table from you who makes you laugh and makes you think and makes you want to be a better version of yourself.

It would be fascinating to inhabit a man's body for a day (and vice versa) to experience the world through the opposite gender's psyche.

Women are always more judged on their looks than men. The fact that there's a show on television called "Bridalplasty" blows my mind. What drives some women to some of the extremes we see? What gaping holes are they trying to fill inside? To contemplate that saddens me.

My friend Eddie once told me that my "problem" was that I was too picky. I vehemently disagreed. I told him that I didn't expect from anyone any more than I would bring to the relationship myself. Then again, Eddie had gotten married so he'd have regular access to sex.

Eddie's now divorced.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Tom Erdman said...

Regular access. That's a novel concept.
And, you know, I don't think it's up to me to determine what's really important. Maybe looks are that important. I like good looking women. I like smart women, too. It's just when we make them mutually exclusive that drives me nuts. I won't be the judge on that. I just know what's important to me. If you can't make me laugh, you can't have me, no matter how pretty you are.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Beth said...


And my biggest gripe about the film was the male focus on a woman's weight. And that the acceptable ceiling was lowered by 10 pounds in the first day. Hey, maybe the love of your life isn't a size 4, bub.

It's like men on dating sites who list the radius in which they're looking as 5 miles. Really, dudes? You think the universe is so benevolent as to put your perfect match within five miles of your house? So, what, if she lives six miles away you're OK with the fact that you'll never meet her, because she lived one "L" stop too far for you to bother?

The focus on narrow parameters is silly.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Erdman said...

I'm about 100 miles from the "L", so I'd better say 106 miles.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

See? You're a reasonable man.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Jk said...

A couple thoughts...

1. Yes, I can't imagine being a woman and not being offended by the men in the movie. Besides the weight issue, they also spend some time explaining why American women are so unmarryable. (Which is ridiculous...If you automatically exclude 150 million women as undesirable, the problem is obviously on your end, and not theirs).

2. I think you're misjudging the phone conversation about weight. I he think said a lower weight to get the point across to the woman on the phone that it was not going to be a match. And given that most Mexican women are fairly short, I can understand 82 kilos being an undesirable match...(82 kilos is 180 lbs, by the way, not 160). I think it's reasonable to exclude a date if they are at an unhealthy level of obesity. (5 foot, 4 inches and 180lbs is technically obese).

>> men who don't grasp how much
>> damage they're causing every
>> time they cast aside a woman
>> because she's not thin enough
>> or not beautiful enough

Aw, boohoo...
I'm a mildly unattractive male, and have been all my life. Guess how many cheerleaders or "hot girls" I dated in high school or college? Zippo. Now I'm self employed and thirty-something, and make a large amount of money, and guess what? Suddenly attractive women are getting flirty. Life's not fair. Everyone's seeking the best mate possible in life, and everyone has different criteria as to what "best" means. Being excluded by men like these is a blessing in disguise, as it is a quick and easy way to get an inside look at a person's true belief system.

I've watched documentaries glorifying the drug trade, and glorifying communism; documentaries about pedophiles, and documentaries about third world slums...and I've never felt the need to turn the movie off. I think you should watch the whole movie. The men come off as very human, and a little sad, and a little desperate... I won't tell you the ending, but I'd be interested in your take on that, too.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thanks for weighing in, Jk. No pun intended.

As for your Point No. 3, see your Point No. 1. While, yes, being discarded for not being "enough" is a good shortcut to knowing someone's belief system, it takes its toll on women in ways I don't suspect it does for men. Though more and more it seems as though men are feeling the pressure from our information society that they should be better in many ways, too.

As for watching the whole movie, I won't be taking the time to rent it again. Perhaps if I run across it on satellite TV someday and I have no compulsion to lift the remote to change the channel, I'll watch it. But I suspect I can find other ways to while away my time.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last I've found at least one voice of sanity in all the crazy. I am the woman Mr. Thompson was married to for 17 1/2 years. You know the one who treated him poorly, the one he never could understand, the one who made him swear off American women. You.Are.All.Welcome. While he paints himself with his colorful aw shucks lover of women paint brush, please allow me to tell the rest of the story. Mr. Thompson has 2 biological children who have not had the luxury of visiting him and receiving money, hugs and praise. His beautiful and accomplished daughter worked 3 jobs to put herself through college and is married with 2 children of her own (neither of which Mr. Thompson as ever laid eyes on.) He shipped his own son home from NM because he claimed he was trying to sleep with his lovely Mexican wife. The boy was 17 years old. His tired jokes and cliches are the stuff my nightmares are made of. He was a verbal and physical abuser to me and he used me to help him start numerous businesses in which he eventually conned people out of large amounts of money. Then he would send me back to the kitchen to keep my mouth shut until he needed me again. In the course of our marriage I certainly did many things I am not proud of but I also did many things out of the desperate need to survive. No one cares about my story or the story of my children because it isn't sensational - it won't sell. It is too common. But do you not find it interesting that no where in the documentary was there ever any interview of anyone who knew him before he became the Cowboy Cupid?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm sorry for your experiences. And sorry that you haven't had more of an opportunity to tell your side of the story. I hope life is better for you now.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Milton said...

All I can say is that, in the Midwest, a part of the US where our traditional foods were very heavy and calorie intensive so that we might build and farm from daylight to dark with only manual labor, that since we have settled into suburbia, we are all heavier here. I will also say that the US is a shallow place where women tend to choose men. It is a fact that a man must earn an extra $10K per year for every inch in height that he is below 5'-10" (back at you ladies, real stats). So, women don't want no under-employed, short man (see these as top issues on dating sites based on studies by psychologists). Men are turned off by overbearing women who spend a lot of time withholding - saying the list of what they are not going to do first and foremost. But all in all, we are all a heavier and more selfish US society. Women look to a new future designed by Oprah, Ellen and Rosie. Men look back, not to a time of a cooking and cleaning wife, but of a time where men were appreciated more and women did not feel so independent that they feel self-entitled to always seek greener pastures (self-actualization/superego). I would work, and do the cooking and cleaning (I enjoy both) for the right woman. Someone spiritual of any faith is ideal. Someone that values marriage more than 'drinks with the girls' or 'social media probing of past sexual partners or close calla'. Weight is the least issue, but I do understand natural attraction. Water seeks it's own level. All in all, the modern era is not kind to relationships. I would go out of country to seek a traditionally-minded woman, for they are rare in the US these days. I don;t want a trophy wife, unless they give trophies for just a really sane and fair female human being that tries to take care of herself and those in her care. A husband in partially in her care and vice versa. I think you should watch it all. One female applicant turns it around and wants a certain kind of man...and maybe the suitor didn't meet her expectations. Watch and judge the whole film.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

The one man I might have married is 5'9". I was not aware of the need for him to therefore have extra income.

But seriously, yes, finding someone is difficult. And yes, many women have ridiculous standards, too.

Perhaps I should watch the whole film and judge it in its entirety. But unless I find it on able some day and I literally have nothing else I could possibly do with my time, I won't be revisiting it. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are without a doubt the epitome of why back in 2007 I ran to other countries throughout the world searching for a wife.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

That's quite a skill, Anon, to determine from a single blog post that I epitomize everything that's wrong with women in America.

I hope you found love in your international wanderings.

7:49 PM  

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