Here's a letter my awesome brother Dave sent me a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you:
How are you? So I´ m going to confess that I finally took the time to read your blog, which was really awesome!! Our family has the eternal ability, among many others, to say incisive comments on literally every subject, so your blog couldn't be different.
I wanted to find a way to keep in touch with everyone and thought you could add a David comment on your blog once in a while. So while I was reading your beauty comments (which by the way has a picture of my sister Mary and some guy I hope has been doing no more than holding hands. I´m serious!!!), I couldn't help but comment on how badly people dress and make themselves up in the North of Brazil all the way down to Rio compared to the Southern part of the country.
I don´ t consider myself a metro-sexual because they do the whole plucking eye-brows and dying hair among other near gay activities, but I do consider myself an admirer of beauty and would like to share something that has been quite puzzling to me. When you see people dressed up in Rio it´s either a wedding party or an Evangelical church gathering (I said dressed up, not pretty). There is an obligation in most beach cities of Brazil for everyone to have a perfect body, and the idea is to show it off as much as possible, either at the beach, night clubs, changing rooms, public bathrooms, etc, but when people are not in g-strings or Speedos is when we start looking at people as a whole, and then things start getting sad.
When you check closely, (especially without drinking) the concept of beauty reaches a real dilemma: beautiful face and hair vs. hot body.
Living in the South for some time now, I've come to admire the woman's European style of beauty which has as it's main characteristics straight hair and smooth milky skin, mixed with a touch of well done make up and discrete but feminine clothes. This is what is seen here on a normal ordinary day at a bus stop or in a supermarket. You see college girls walking with high heels at 6am going to school and elderly women dressed like Queen Elizabeth shopping.
Boys here also take their time to gel up their hair, dress in expensive brand name clothes and indispensable accessories such as watches, sun glasses and jewelry. It may seem a little much and in some moments look like those cheesy movies where everyone was brain-washed to all look the same (Stepford anyone?), but you can't help but enjoy the agreeable environment with very little visual pollution and potential nightmares.
When I arrive in Rio every year I try to prepare myself during the previous few weeks for what my dear little peepers will be exposed to, but I always end up forgetting the seriousness of what I'm about to behold. The first thing you notice is girl's hair. Desert bushes and tumbleweed is an understatement! Even girls with potentially nice hair seem to make an effort to look like a cavewoman on a bad hair day. I imagine the 40 degree sun mixed with salt water and three dollar shampoos will do that to anyone's hair and skin.
I'm not some pervert with a hair fetish or anything like that, but hair makes a world of difference on girls, especially when the face is in need of an international extreme make over team's help, which is the next issue on my list. I think the exaggerated importance of a perfect body makes most people forget to look a little higher in the mirror, which in a way is good if you don't want the suicide rate to go through the roof.
So after a few days looking at these girl wannabes I always make the same last attempt to change my opinion of my hometown “beauties”; I go out at night. You would imagine two hours making themselves up and choosing clothes would make things a little better, but in fact it makes things even worse when you see the end result. They look exactly the same, just half naked again!! I guess instead of washing their fro and putting make up on, they go to the gym for another two or three hours to make sure their silhouette looks fit. So you look around and see guys drinking like there's no tomorrow, and after a few liters of vodka mixed with beer and whiskey, the most important thing becomes “anything”, and then everyone's happy.
So Flor, what I'm trying to say is that you have great taste for make up, hair styling etc, and you should really think of doing some charity work with 90% of the city's population to spread a little beauty to the needy women there. You, Mary and Brunie always look great, and that’s probably the reason all the guys wanna hold Mary's hand (grrrrr).
Luv you tons,