Cut through your ribs

Jeffie writes from Bolivia:

I NEEDD ADDVICE!!!!

so, I’ve gone out on dates with this girl for, like, 7 nights in a row, and I admit there is a language barrier, but I am pretty sure we like eachother.  Our first date was a month ago, and i go to her work for coffee everyday.   I have been pretty clear, saying things like “quiero ganar tu corazon”.

The problem is, as she told me on our first date “tengo novio, pero es lejos”.

I don’t understand whats going on with her, but I’m pretty sure I’m falling in love.  The thing is, relationships between men and women are so different here, and I’m so confused.

WHAT SHOULD I DO????

To which I respond:

Jeffie, you say that relationships are so different there, but how am I supposed to know anything about that? To try to crack into it, I looked up some Bolivian poets writing about love and relationships. I didn’t try that hard, but I found a few poems by Jaime Saenz which give enough of a glimpse about love to assume that’s how an entire country’s culture approaches it. Here are a few lines from his High Above the Dark City:

I’ll cut off a hand for each of her sighs I’ll gouge out an eye for each of her smiles
I’ll die once twice three times four times a thousand times
just to die on her lips
with a saw I’ll cut through my ribs to hand her my heart
with a needle I’ll draw out my best soul to give her a surprise
on Friday evenings
with the night air singing a song I propose to live for three hundred years
in the loveliness of her company.

Based on what he’s written, I would say that the general approach to courtship one takes in Bolivia is one of melodrama and hyperbole. Throw yourself at her, profess what you feel to the most extreme degree that you feel it and beyond. Also don’t forget to ask her the following question: “Cuando regresa tu novio?”
Interior chest cavity

Image from Stanford Medicine

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