The Young Woman

DALAGA: THE YOUNG WOMAN

The role of the dalaga or young woman, like other roles, is delineated by society. The code of ethics is learned via role modeling and by direct instructions from parents and teachers (e.g. young girls are often told girls should sit with their legs together).Behavior is controlled by teasing, by gossip and the fear of being the subject of malicious gossip.

Society expects a young woman to conduct herself with decorum and to appear modest and shy, especially among men. She should never flaunt her sexuality otherwise she will be labeled a flirt and considered sexually loose.

Perhaps the most complicated aspect of her role is the part she plays in courtship. Courtship in the Philippines is a game which parties (young men and women) enjoy tremendously. The young lady is supposed to play hard to get she should not show great an interest in a man, some even going to the point of ding total disinterest. How hard a time she gives her suitor increases her worth in his and in others eyes.

Young men go all out in courting a girl. They send her flowers, her presents and ring her up every night. A young man's Inn is measured by such overtures. A girl does not usually say yes to the first invitation from a new suitor. He may have to ask several limes before she agrees to go out with him. Her first few Is are not taken as rejections but rather interpreted to mean she is playing hard to get. The disadvantage of this system is that a real ton ma) not be detected and some men are very persistent!

The men try to outdo each other in sweet talk or bola which may best be translated as bull. Corny lines and clichees such as you are the only in my life and I dream of you every night flow freely.

Since these lines are used on many different girls they lose a bit of their sincerity and when a girl is taken in by them the young man boasts to his friends that she was kagat an kagat which, loosely translated, means she realty hit into it, she took the hail- hook, line and sinker.

This sometimes backfires on a young man when he meets a girl he really cares about who warily regards his now sincere remarks as merely bola. Young ladies are thus faced with the challenge of how to tell when a guy is making bola. As with all boy-girl relationship there are many who get hurt. But it's all a game and if you lose one round there's always a chance you'll win the next one.