The Puerto Rico of the early 20th century was like the dirt-poor waif who's pretty much skin and bones, but has pleasing soft eyes and a gentle voice. Along comes the United States, like the rich dashing hero from the north, clean-shaven and smelling of expensive cologne, his wallet bulging with cash. He takes a liking to the sloe-eyed undernourished nymph and with the consent of her daddy--Let's call him "First Elected Governor of Puerto Rico," the man from the north takes on the girl as his mistress.
Sets her up in a nice apartment, small but neatly-furnished, buys her some nice clothes and gives her a lifestyle of modest comfort by his standards, but reeking of wealth by hers. The man from the north gets his...benefits, while Our doe-eyed gal gets her benefits...and gives them out, too, for the man from the north shares his mistress with "friends," "benefactors" and "partners."
The man from the north is a pimp...and Our dark-eyed waif is now a call girl.
Over time, she gets a bigger apartment, a car, nicer clothes and some jewelry. She's moving up in the world, but the man from the north isn't making any noises about formalizing a relationship and Our gal is making...progress...going from call girl to high-priced call girl.
Most of the time, Our gal is indifferent to her situation. But every once in a while, it bothers her. She wants to break out of the pimp/call girl dyad and move on, make something great of herself.
Instead of educating herself with humanities and sciences, she takes cosmetology and plays the lottery. Whenever the man tells her about a new car or a new gadget for the home or a new trend, Our gal rushes out to buy it, to be more like "his people." Thus she doesn't have savings to break away on her own. She could at least argue for the chance to "serve" clients that aren't brought to her by her pimp, but she backs off when he frowns at this notion. And when told her people to find another way of life--a different profession--she whines about how this is all she knows.
Sometimes she even complains to distant relatives, since none of her close relatives give a damn anymore. She sobs about how unfair her life is, what with her 1,600 square foot home, late model car, plasma screen TV, two cell phones and trips to Disney every other year, but no "ring" on her finger, a horizontal work position and limited options. Her distant relatives, living 4 to a room, with a clunker car, a radio, maybe a pay phone and have seen pictures of Disney in old magazines tell her to stand up for herself, while cursing her for being a wimpy crybaby. And a whore.
Our gal could say "no" to the man from the north or could say "put a ring on the finger or forget it." But every time Our gal tries to make her stand, she stutters, she squawks, her words become mumbles and her eyes fill with fear. So the man--her pimp--waits out her mood and keeps the stream of "friends," "benefactors" and "partners" coming through like a Chinese death march.
So there she sits, in her good-but-not-great house, living in the shadow of greater prosperity and power, bombarded by words and images that are not her own but undermine her sense of self, that create an image of need where none really exists and time flies by with no change in her status--yes, status--no growth in her heart and mind about it and no willpower to see the reality and act upon it.
A call girl at the ready, aging into lassitude, hoping that what didn't happen when beauty was ripe will happen when beauty is not even a memory...hoping that someday, the pimp will go back to being a dashing hero.
She expects him to make the choice. She doesn't believe she can ever make hers.
The Jenius Has Spoken.