Los Heartthrobs of the Young and Old (Video)
There was a framed Sacred Heart of Jesus portrait at the foot of my grandmother’s bed.
There also was a framed photo of Jose Luis Rodriguez: ”El Puma!”
This, when she was in her 70s.
If you don’t know who he is, El Puma is a Venezuelan heart throb. He starred in telenovelas and sang sexy Spanish pop songs, mostly in the ‘70s and ‘80s. (El Puma also is actress Genesis Rodriguez’s papi. She plays Claire in What to Expect When You’re Expecting.)
Back then, El Puma was “el novio” de mi abuela.
My grandmother called him her “boyfriend.”
Of course, El Puma competed for my Cuban grandmother’s affection with Bob Barker of the Price is Right, my grandmother’s daytime TV boyfriend and the person I believe taught her to understand the English she never would speak.
El Puma was hot. Muy hot. Though his look was too macho for me at 13.
I was more Andy Gibb then. My mom took me to an Andy Gibb concert and when he sang “I Just Want to be Your Everything” I shouted “You are! You are!” from the nosebleed section. The adult women in front of me laughed.
Whatever. I loved him.
Weirdly, I mostly had forgotten this deep love of Andy Gibb, who died way too young, until I started writing about my grandmother and El Puma.)
Don’t know Andy well? Check out I Just Want to be Your Everything. (Video!)
My daughter only is 8. She’s not yet wildly into idolizing stars. She likes to listen to the teenie-bopper music channel, really likes Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber and was quite intrigued to learn they were a love match.
She is not swooning yet though. She doesn’t scream in a high pitch yet when a pop culture idol sings from our stereo or flashes a bleachy smile from inside the TV. Bendito, gracias!
But, I know it is coming. I see it in the older children around me. I, like my mother did, will have to one day drive her to a loud concert and listen as she melts for the sparkly dude on the stage.
I wonder which kinds of stars will hold her attention in the long haul? (I still love you Rick Astley!) She knows all the words to Justin Beiber songs and she loves the girls and music from Shake It Up! I like them too. So far. Gracias a Dios!
I do know this: If she is anything like her great-grandmother, my daughter will go for the talented macho men stars.
Y oye, I also know that if my abuela was alive, she too would be taping Dancing with the Stars and speeding up to watch William Levy, and only William Levy, do the mambo and salsa. P’a-you-know-what with the rest of them.
My vieja had good taste.
And, I also think El Puma would have had to compete with William for space next to Jesus.
Why the Puma Fuss?
A final Taste of El Puma — Culpable Soy Yo, 1983 (Video)
photo credit of the Hallmark Cards collage © 2012 Bieber Time Merchandise, LLC under license from Bravado Merchandising, All rights reserved.