1. We are romantically independent.
We are like a mix of Amor de Perdição by Camilo Castelo Branco, Os Maias by Eça de Queiroz, a few soaps we watch at night, and a long lineage of strong, hardworking women who ran the house, raised children, and fed them with the little money their husbands sent! So don’t be surprised if we know how to fix the plumbing while (if we like you) dying to hold your hand. Deep inside we are very romantic.
2. We love food.
Do not be surprised if while you are trying to enjoy an Açorda de Gambas in a local restaurant, we keep telling you about all these dishes you must try in other restaurants. But it does not end there. You must know mum does the greatest caldeirada, dad cooks an exquisite sopa da pedra, the café shop next door the tastiest chocolate mousse on the planet and did I tell you about Grandma’s food!?
3. We love sex.
But we most likely will not say that out loud. We are upfront, honest, and we do not see ourselves as conservative. Maybe it’s because we were brought up in a Catholic country, or maybe there are certain things that should stay between the sheets…or on one of Portugal’s many secluded beaches.
4. We love cooking with you.
So be a sweetheart and chop the onions! Of course we can do it, too — we do it all the time. But this time we are doing it together, so please do not dare use your time with us to complain that we put onions in all of our dishes. We also use a lot of olive oil, garlic, and tomato which you do not complain about. So don’t even bother saying you do not like the taste of onion, because we will slip it past your taste bud defences anyway. You must know we are not revengeful if you do not eat it, but next time we go to anyone’s house there might just happen to be sopa de cebola (onion soup) followed by cebolada (onion stew) on the menu!
5. We truly appreciate honesty.
So be yourself! Yes, it’s a cliché. Maybe because of the current political situation, or maybe because our mothers taught us how to use a wooden rolling pin, just say what you mean and mean what you say. We want to hear the truth, not what you think we might like to hear. It’s not because we want to get angry or to fight over it, it’s because we like to look for honest solutions.
6. Feminists or “Familiarists?” “Freedomists!”
If on one end of a stick you have feminism and on the other end family life and motherhood, we can be on either end, simultaneously. As you can tell we come in all shapes and sizes — (okay, mainly short), but what we appreciate the most is our freedom! You can blame it on the Portuguese dictatorship, and how we were brought up listening to our grandparents and parents saying “Oh, this would not happen in the time of Salazar…” but we really need freedom. The 25th of April 1974 was not that long ago. Now we can freely choose to wear or not wear a miniskirt, we can decide to show or not show some cleavage. Freedom may no longer have to be our lifelong quest, but being with you, that’s our choice.