Teresina is, as a common knowledge, the diminutive for Teresa. But from the beginnings, in La Cubana, we have used it as an adjective.
We could quite state that we have implanted it as an adjective, or even better, Vicky Plana used it to identify certain women living in Catalonia. They cannot be compared to the rest of Spanish Marujas o Marias, or the English Housewives.
Being a Teresina, it’s not a question of having holding the title or the name. It is not a question that involves women only, since one can also find Teresino-men. It is neither a question of age: In La Cubana we have always stated that Teresina/os are always at their “Terrific age”. Some women aged 65 today have never been and never will be Teresines, but instead, there are girls aged 20 that would be a Teresina throughout their life. To be a Teresina/o, implies a way of life, a way of acting, of thinking, and behaving... We could quite say that being a Teresino/a, is a whole life’s philosophy.
The authentic Teresina is always well intentioned, and what is more: she is always trying to make a good impression. We could say she likes to have one's cake and eat it, have it both ways. She says yes meaning no, and whenever she has to say no, she tries not to be offensive... She takes another way: saying: “Yes, perhaps... but” “I don’t know, do you think?”, “Oh, yes.... I’ve just heard, someone told me that...” “Don’t get me wrong, oh!”, “I may be wrong but here...” Altogether to say a simple no! There is a whole vocabulary for the Teresines. A whole lot of conventional sentences and expressions that they use naturally for everything, but keeping always a second code, a special meaning. They can pretend they don’t know.... but they knew about it ages ago. They can use big words but stay put displaying exquisite forms. They behave badly, but instead they appear to be kind-hearted... it is as if Teresines were beyond good and bad, as if they had never been naughty.
A Teresina is a good worker and a good entrepreneur. She loves tradition, partying, holidaying. She likes to care about details, greeting, asking for someone’s health, congratulating and offering her condolences. She likes going for long walks and enjoys meeting her friends but worries about what people could think about them: where and when, with who, and at what time she is been seen. A Teresina cares about her aspect, or what the other could think about it. She likes to be up to date, although she has her ways of interpreting. She loves to be up-to-the-minute and to know about everything. She likes gossiping but doesn’t want to be taken as a gossipmonger.
She is usually very clean. She loves to have her hair done and perfumed, well dressed but discreet, no flashing.
There are some secrets in a Teresina closet. The corset, her panties, her sleeping gown, and above all, her underwear, which is always white, never coloured, and usually with her initials embroidered.
Teresina takes great care of her shoes and her handbag. Her shoes are always high-heeled, but comfortable. Not in the summer, when she wears flat shoes. Because of her bunions, she often buys her shoes at the orthopaedic shop. She always has a good pair of sleepers to wear indoors.
She has at least pair of them: one in black, which goes with everything, and one in brown, that matches with the shoes. What a Teresina has inside that handbag is very important: besides the keys, the purse and her ID card, the social welfare card and if she is over 65 or a widow, the retirement’s fund card. She has always a picture of her husband, the grandchildren, the sons, or even a religious picture.
She finds important to have a handkerchief set in, a lipstick, a small mirror, some make up powder, a cologne bottle, the prescribed tablets, and also an aspirin, because you never know… A big bandanna or a scarf for if it’s too windy, a plastic head cover, to protect her hairdo, and a rosary if she is a good believer.
Dressing is very important. But a Teresina’s wardrobe will only have what is essential. A Teresina has a costume for every occasion.
It is very important. Now that flannel gowns are old-fashioned, Teresina takes great care of her aspect when she wakes up. She wears usually hose gowns made of pink or blue cotton. Always fastened with a belt and down to her ankles. The slippers go with the gown.
In the kitchen she wears a comfortable apron, always colourful and fresh, so if someone calls in, she doesn’t need to take it off.
A good Teresina, has always special clothes for that occasion: the worst she is got, but good-looking: a skirt and a blouse: She will always leave the pearl collar and the earrings on. She uses a half apron in this case, a bit more vulgar and less flashy. She uses it to protect the skirt, so when she seats to start sewing, the threads don’t stick around her skirt.
Teresina will like to be comfortable but proper. It is an outfit consisting in skirt, blouse and jumper, to go with collar and earrings. The only difference is that, if she is in, she wears slippers, and if someone calls in, she takes them off and take the good shoes.
To go shopping at the market, or at the doctor, or shopping, a Teresina has always her suit ready for this. It is essential in a Teresina’s closet. A woman without a proper suit is nobody.
Going for a walk with her friends, going to mass or going to congratulate someone’s birthday, Teresina will wear something casual and sport. As a complement, she wears her jumper. For those occasions, she has also a purse to match with.
Teresina has two special suits that would wear for Christmas or a party. It is not an expensive suit or a tailor-made suit, but rearranging it is enough. She simply wears a smooth blouse and a tube-like skirt complemented with some flowers, and she can make wonders of it. Jewellery is helpful: A good pearl collar and a good pair of pearl earrings are essential.
A wedding, and above all if it is compromising, is the special occasion that a Teresina is waiting for to go straight to the tailor and have something special done for her. In a wedding, all the attendants dress differently and everybody seems to loose-up a bit. A Teresina wouldn’t be less. She chooses the model from some fashion magazine and goes to fetch the fabric at the shop to bring it to the tailor. The flower arrangement helps to finish the outfit as a complement.