Real Men Don’t Use Umbrellas

A woman walks along the Havana Rampa with an umbrella from the Artex chain of shops. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 16 August 2016 — “A man who is a man does not eat soup or sleep on his stomach,” says the popular quip, to which should be added that nor he does not use an umbrella. Despite the overwhelming heat that characterizes the Cuban summers, protecting oneself from the sun is still “a women’s thing,” a “female affectation,” think the macho.

On the streets of the island, there are hardly any men sheltering under an umbrella, wearing wide-brimmed hats – unless they have just left work in the fields – let alone using sunscreen. Taking shelter from El Indio (the burning sun) is somehow “weak” and masculinity is seldom associated with caution in the face of weather scourges.

However, the most common cancer on the island is skin cancer. In 2013, there were 10,432 cases of people affected by this disease and three years later 461 patients died as a result of this disease, of which 281 were men and 180 women.