Episode 14

Betty’s in Armando’s office, talking on the phone. She tells the person on the other end of the line that she is waiting to hear from her parents before heading out for the dinner at her aunts’ house… Armando is in the men’s room, but when he returns -Betty says to the person on the phone- they are going to continue looking at the at the Oracle of the Goddesses. Armando returns and asks Betty if she’s talking to her father, and is it time to head for the aunts’ yet? Betty tells him she’s talking to Mariana and Sandra, who are in Party Mode.

Betty and Armando continue going over the Oracle and Betty keeps asking Armando about the various categories there. There is one called “Pending Accounts” which Armando explains has to do with things that weren’t accomplished during the first date but which must be during the second. Betty asks Armando if he has any outstanding ‘debts’ in there and he says that the only ones he has are with her… Betty asks about the “Everest” and “Porcelain” categories and is told the “Everests” are unattainable women, whose heights can never be reached, while the “Porcelains” all appear to be sweet and delicate while in reality they’re nothing of the kind.

As he’s explaining this last, the camera cuts away to Natasha and Nicolás, toasting each other in a restaurant. She is even more cloying than ever and tells Nicolás that she is a friend willing to share everything with him: house, car, and bed. To emphasize her point, she puts Nicolás’ hand over her heart/breast [Merci: our Nico just about faints from happiness]. That when he feels lonely, he has but to call her and she will open her house to him. Nicolás can’t believe it! So as not to waste the opportunity, he tells Natasha that he feels lonely [right then]. She tells him he should go with her to her apartment. Just then the witc- er, Natasha’s phone rings; it’s one “Mickey.” She tells Mickey that she’s with Nicolás, that he’s a treasure, adorable, blah blah blah, and that he’s going to go to her apartment with her. Nicolás doesn’t understand the part of the conversation he’s hearing, and even less so when she stops talking to Mickey to tell him to talk to Mickey. Then she resumes speaking with Mickey, going on more about how special Nicolás is, how he even ordered a very fine wine from 1964 that she and Mickey like so much that costs 400,000 pesos… Now Nicolás can’t believe how much he’s spent! He pays the bill and, as is his [bad] habit, doesn’t leave a tip for the waiter. Natasha tells him not to worry about Mickey, he has complete [blind] confidence in her. Leaving the hotel, she puts Nicolás’ hand on her backside…

Back with the Oracle, Betty asks who are the “Warped with Boyfriend” women. Armando explains to her that these are the ones that Calderón likes the best -[Beth: unless i’m reading it wrongly, Merci’s writing seems to be a little unclear here - i think she started to write one thing, then changed it to something else without deleting what she’d already written. hopefully i’ve got this correctly…] they are the single women with children and a precarious economic condition who are looking for men with money, a good social position, and nearly always older than themselves. For example: Aura María. As he says this, the camera cuts away and we now see her descending some stairs in a discotheque with Kenneth. They approach the bar and Kenneth orders a “Virgin Mary.” Aura María asks for aguardiente [Beth: for those not familiar with this drink, it is comparable to vodka or gin - clear in color and quite potent; the name literally means fiery water], but Kenneth says he doesn’t want to drink because he is driving. Aura María explains that aguardiente is the typical drink of Colombia and asks for a bottle. Kenneth is horrified because he only wants to have one drink…. Aura María tells him that aguardiente makes people cheerful, happy, it helps them to ‘tune themselves up’ [Beth: yes, and then it makes them drunk, morose, and cranky. and not necessarily in that order…]. When he tries it, he is left almost breathless and has to ask for a glass of water to cool his throat. At this point we see Freddy arriving with some friends. His friends all greet Aura María very affectionately, and she introduces them all to Kenneth. Freddy greets them and remarks that this is his favorite place. Kenneth comments that he (Freddy) and Aura María have very similar tastes. The girl who arrived with Freddy asks if Kenneth and Aura María are a couple; Aura María replies that they’re not - they’ve only recently met. But Kenneth says (in English) “Why not?” and kisses Aura María on the cheek. Just then Mirella, the woman that Freddy had been speaking to on the phone from Ecomoda, arrives. She remarks that she met Freddy out dancing one night, but hadn’t seen him again because he had a girlfriend. So Aura María explains that she had been that girlfriend. Freddy leaves to dance with Mirella and Aura María, who is obviously annoyed and jealous, takes another drink of aguardiente and tells Kenneth they should go dance - and asks the barman to take the bottle of aguardiente to her usual table.

Back in Armando’s office, Betty comes across the “red screen,” which Armando doesn’t want her to see. But it’s too late - it’s open. This category is the same as the “Quick and Easies” - they’re women who use provocative clothing, are lower-class, willing to do absolutely everything. For example: Jenny.

Cut to the hotel room, where we see Don Hermes speaking to the Pinzón aunts by phone and telling them he’s been delayed. Jenny comes out of the bathroom in her black negligée, ready to attack. Don Hermes cannot restrain himself and tells her she’s “divine.” She starts to complain about how sad she is at having to spend the night away from home in a cold bed… Don Hermes says he’ll take care of the problem for her by asking the hotel staff to bring her a hot water bottle. She responds that the cold is of the soul, for lack of human warmth. Don Hermes tells her that as soon as she gets into bed, her own body heat will give human warmth to the bed. He is just saying goodbye to Jenny when her cel phone rings - it’s Efraín. He’s calling her from outside Sofía’s house to ask how and where she is, and to ask her to reconsider her decision; he’s going to spend the night at Sofía’s because his children invited him. Jenny shouts at him to leave her alone and hangs up on him. Then she lies to Don Hermes that Efraín is threatening to never leave her alone, and she’s afraid. She begs him to stay with her until she falls asleep. As she heads for the bed, she asks him not to call her “mija” [Beth: the word is a sort of corruption of ‘mi hija,’ -my (girl) child- and is used as an endearment such as “sweetie”] - call her Jenny. And she wants to call him Hermes because “Don Hermes” makes him sound as if he’s a little old man, which he isn’t [Merci: Ha! Beth: HA!]. She tells him she’s cold and he hands her the stuffed animal [Beth: which is the size of a child - it’s really big], but what she wants is for him to be in bed with her. He tries to cover her up -since she’s “so cold”- and so as not to be seeing her in all her glory. She puts her head on his thigh and asks him to tell her a story!

Betty now asks Armando about the “Hot Separates” category. Armando tells her that these are women who are always on the verge of separating but never actually do it. The desperate “separates” have the problem of not having had frequent “relations” (sex). Mario figures they’re super-hot. Betty asks what Armando thinks of them. Armando replies that that Armando died and the only women he remembers now are his mother and Betty. He kneels in front of Betty and tells her that she won’t get rid of him so easily and he’s never going to leave her. And they kiss! [Merci: They’re so sweet, those two…] They get to the “Separated Veterans” category, Sofía being a prime example.

At home, Sofía explains to her two children that she doesn’t want them to get their hopes up [for a reunion] just because their father is spending the night at the house. She asks them to go to their rooms and as soon as their father has arrived and she’s had a chance to speak with him, they can come down to see him. Sofía seats herself alone at the dining room table and says aloud to herself that she really hopes the kids don’t get all excited (hoping). The doorbell rings; it’s Efraín with three popsicles (? maybe lollipops, can’t tell - something to eat on a stick, at any rate) in his hand. He greets Sofía, who tells him they have to talk. He replies that he didn’t come to hear the same thing as always and calls to the kids, who come running. They hug and kiss, he gives them the popsicles, and the girl remarks that he’s very thin…

Back again with Betty and Armando, they are now in the “Embittered” category. These are women who are stuck in relationships they can’t get out of, with obsessive, jealous and dangerous men…

And we are back again in the discotheque where we see Freddy dancing with Mirella. Aura María is being very lively with Kenneth, who still hasn’t caught on to the rhythm of the vallenato. Kenneth wants to sit down and he tells Aura María he wants to stop dancing to this music - if they would put on rock and roll, jazz, or any other type, he could dance. Aura María serves him another drink and goes to speak to the DJ to ask him to put on some “American” music only to be told that that kind of music is only played on weekends. She tells him to put it on or else, because she doesn’t want to spoil the date with Kenneth. Meanwhile, three very friendly women have gone to greet Kenneth. When Aura María returns to the table she startles them. She chases them off, telling them to go learn English somewhere else. Just then the DJ plays “Rock Around the Clock,” and Kenneth gets a second wind; he happily starts to dance with Aura María. Freddy immediately goes to the DJ’s booth on the second floor and demands that the DJ, who he calls ‘patillón de los 60 joven viejo’ because of his sideburns and hairstyle [Beth: i think, basically, a retro-nerd], put the vallenato music back on. The poor DJ is going crazy… Mirella, meanwhile, leaves Aura María dancing with Kenneth and goes to sit down. Freddy returns, passing next to Aura María who sticks out her tongue at him. Mirella tells Freddy she wants to dance but he says no. Aura María and Kenneth sit down again. Kenneth is already tipsy and in the thrall of the aguardiente. In English he says he’s so in love with Aura María that he wants to take her to the States and marry her. Aura María wants to know what he said, but he doesn’t translate. Mirella explains it to Freddy and wants to tell Aura María as well but Freddy doesn’t let her. Kenneth tells Aura María he can only say it in English. Mirella stands and goes over to Aura María and explains anyway. Aura María gets offended and tells Kenneth not to be fresh. Kenneth asks for the bills and Freddy says he’ll take care of it, but when he finds out it’s 50,000 pesos he tells Kenneth to pay it after all. Kenneth and Aura María say good-bye, Kenneth saying in English, “Bye, guys” to which Freddy responds, “Bye, gay.”

Betty realizes that the Oracle’s category list is seemingly infinite… Armando says it would be best if they went home to sleep [Merci: although from the way he says it and the sly look on his face as he does, it’s obvious that the last thing he wants to do is to go to “sleep…"]. Betty is concerned because they haven’t heard from her parents yet, and calls Doña Julia who tells her that Hermes is at a funeral and had called her and the aunts. And they’re definitely not going to the aunts’ house now because the aunts are likely already asleep since they get up with the sun. Julia is very hurt and worried because this is the first time that Hermes has stood her up like this and especially for something so important as a dinner with the Pinzón aunts. Armando tells Betty not to worry - although he understands her concern that something has happened to her father. Betty replies tartly that it might be something very good. Armando tells her she can’t have doubts about a man who has been happily married for 30 years and is in love with his wife. Betty asks him if he believes the man exists who has gone to his grave having been faithful to his wife for his whole life. Armando says that the problem men have is that they get something called the “mid-day devil” [Beth: i don’t recognize this phrase but am guessing it’s the same as a mid-life crisis]. It’s this big anguish when they start to feel like they’re saying good-bye to their youth, and their egos betray them…

Cut to Jenny asking Don Hermes to lie down. She unbuttons his vest and starts to caress him [Beth: eeeeewwww…!!]. Don Hermes jumps a little and says he has to leave. She gets “offended” [Merci & Beth: shameless hussy!] and tells him it’s not what he’s thinking. Don Hermes replies that both he and she are in a state of confusion…. She calls him a silly and cuddles up in bed with her doll Miguelito. Hermes finally escapes from the room like a soul the Devil’s tried to steal, and standing in front of the elevators repeats his favorite saying, “El Diablo es puerco…”

Armando swears there’s no way that Don Hermes would allow himself to be tempted by a “90-60-90” [a/k/a 36-24-36 inches; a shapely woman], [he’s] a man who knows El Diablo es puerco.” Betty replies that that’s just what Sofía thought about her husband and he left her for Jenny. Betty and Armando don’t know if that relationship can be fixed, although they hope so. Armando says Sofía’s problem is that she suffers from memories fueled with resentment, which can recall every detail and every problem in the relationship, and she speaks about it with the deadly aim of a sniper.

In Sofía’s house, Efraín is seated at the dining room table eating with the children. He tells them that the next day after school they can go to the park, but to ask their mother for the money to do so. The kids are very happy to be with their father. Sofía comes down the stairs and tells the kids it’s time for them to go to bed because they have to be up early for school. The children say goodnight to their father and ask him if he’s going to sleep with them. Sofía tells them he’s going to sleep on the sofa, and he tells Sofía that he has to get to bed as well because he has to get up early. Sofía asks him why he has to get up early and adds that anyway, what she has to tell him will only take five minutes. Efraín retorts that five minutes with her are like five hours… Sofía says that it’s her house, so she makes the rules. Efraín replies that if that’s the way it is, he’d rather sleep under a bridge, that he’s there only because the kids asked him to be, that he didn’t come to pay for four years of separation, hatred, and vengeance. He congratulates her on how nice the house looks and says it’s a shame she hasn’t got anyone with whom to share it. Then he asks her to hug the kids, tells her to have a good night, and leaves. Sofía sits down and starts to cry.

Betty tells Armando that Sofía is very bitter. She comments that women have the right to protest, or -would he prefer a silent and resigned woman, perhaps? Armando tells her he doesn’t know because she’s not like that and they kiss again.

Don Hermes arrives at home and we see that Doña Julia is already in bed, crying. He asks her if she was asleep and she tells him yes. He tells her that Parrita and his wife wouldn’t let him leave the funeral. She doesn’t believe him, obviously, and tells him to go to bed because they he has to get up early the next morning. He changes and gets into bed and tries to talk to her but she won’t let him. He says, “Julia, I love you,” but when he tries to get close to her again she tells him that he reeks. He tells her he’s not drunk, he loves her and this won’t happen again. He tries to touch her but she gestures at him to leave her alone, and continues crying.

Betty tells Armando that she’s ready for when he reaches his midlife crisis, but she hopes he won’t leave her after having enjoyed the best years of her life. He replies that that won’t happen, but what about if she leaves him? They get on the elevator… She tells him that women don’t do that sort of thing. He remarks that, moreover, he one of those incurable kinds of husbands who cannot conceive of spending a night without his wife and that he wants to be with her now and forever… And they kiss again! [Merci: So divine!] And the elevator door closes…

Advances for next week: HORROR OF HORRORS! Armando goes out with Gabriela and she complains of feeling very alone. He asks her if he can do anything to help her - and it looks like they’re going to kiss! [Merci: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!]