White guys called her the “Queen of Sin,” but everyone else called her the “Queen of my Pants.”Posted: July 21, 2011
For shame! has gone real European on everyone’s asses lately. I mean, I guess we do have some of our favorite sex-driven ex-pats coming up in the next couple of weeks but let’s get real. Gertrude Stein was about as American as a French fry. Fuck! We even wrote about English royalty for the 4th of July. Shit’s fucked up. But listen, everything’s about to get a lot more patriotic because we’re heading to…the border. Uhhh…all right, so maybe the stigmas attached to the border between us and the poor part of North America (like the tendency to illegally cross it) aren’t the first things you think of when someone chants “USA! USA!” but just go with it, ok?
Today we’ll be zeroing in on the historical scandalosity of New Mexico at the very time that it was becoming the 47th United State. (That’s SO American, what am I talking about?!) Specifically, we’re going to sexplore the sexploits of its capital city, Santa Fe — a place steeped in more Mexican and indigenous cultural influence than you can shake a stick at. And hey, what’s more American than a city with a Spanish name within a state named after a foreign country? Uh…Fuck it. It’s more American than some french guy who paints other people’s girlfriend’s vaginas, amiright?
So, fuck the Moulin Rouge! (Not literally. There’s gonorrhea all over that vag castle.) You know what had way hotter prostitutes? The wild, wild west is what. And I’m not just talking about your favorite Will Smith movie, either. The American Frontier, specifically turn of the 19th century Santa Fe New Mehico, was home to some of the hottest, most badass, most scandalous women practicing the world’s oldest profession.
But let’s get specific, shall we, because that’s kind of our thing. We’re talking about the Mexican mistress of the night, La Dona Maria Gertrudis Barcelo. Quite a mouthful. (THAT’s WHAT SHE SAID!!) When she made it big [insert penis joke here], girlfriend went by La Tules — which made some people think she was French and some peeps started calling her Madame Toulouse. But Bitch was Mexican (New Mexican), and don’t you forget it.
Before she hit it big time, she met a guy whose name…isn’t in her Wiki article. So we’ll call him Juan. Seems like a safe bet. She and Juan fooled around in the back of a wagon or something and then 5 months later, she was like, “Uh…I haven’t had the bleeds in a while.” And then they got married. Sadly, her first child, a boy, died in infancy. Not funny. Getting married 5 months pregnant in the mid 1900s, not funny then. Kind of funny now? Dead baby, never funny. Baby number two also died in infancy and it was probably her husband’s, but no one’s really sure because she was also sort of kind of a prostitute and her husband was like, “Whatevs” about it.
Before you put your judgment panties on, just fucking read on for a hot sec, will ya? Because being a prostitute in the American Southwest, in mining towns or big cattle towns or transportation hubs was NBD. Actually, it was kind of a sweet gig. It was a great way for women to get out of isolated farm-life childhoods, make some cash, and find herself a nice cowboy to marry. You could also wear those fun saloon girl outfits. Win win, I think. Granted, finding herself a nice man to settle down with wasn’t really La Tules’s thang since she already had herself a baby-daddy. What she was into, however, was winning a shit ton of money.
Girlfriend was the best monte player in the west. Early in her 20 or 30 year career as a madame, gambling house owner, monte dealer, and gambler, she won a few big hands and made it big. And instead of trashing her all around town, the men who lost money from her (mostly Mexican) went around telling people how freaking amazing she was. So she kept winning money from the guys who heard about her skillz from the first guys who she beat. The white guys who she beat ran back to their mommies and told them about the scary Mexican whore who stole all his money. The quickly earned the reputation of dirty, Mexican prostitute in the Anglo American community as stories of her gambling house/brothel made their way into some of the first travel logs and reports back east of frontier Americans. For white Americans looking to annex New Mexico at the start of the Mexican-American war, our Latina harlot came to symbolize the immorality of the New Mexican territory and its need for moralizing white influence.
But bitch didn’t give a shit because she was busy making a crap ton of money and developing a taste for ‘spensive thangs. Like diamonds. And houses. And wealthy men.
Her most famous illicit affair was with Manuel Armijo (pronounced ARM-ee-HO, you yanks). He was at the time, no big deal, the governor of Mexico. To be fair, no one knows for sure if they were hooking up. But they spent a LOT of time together and I bet did some major eye fucking at political balls and shit, so my conclusion is: he was putting his pepe in or on her for a number of years.
And she was fiiine with it because it meant she got to meet a lot of important politicos (I believe that is Spanish for “politician,” but don’t quote me on that — I grew up in Texas and took French in high school. Idiota!) at a really exciting time for politics in New Mexico. She died in 1852, just a year before her long-time loverrr, in her early 50s, most likely. (Mexicans didn’t keep great birth records in the 1800s apparently.) She had, like, four different houses to her name and about $10,000 — which according to a nifty inflation calculator I just used would have been like well over $250,000. Not bad, Madame. Not bad.
She used that money, posthumously of course, on a lavish and extraordinary funeral that lasted days. A funeral fit only for a high class prostitute who was, of course, a devout Catholic and could deal any man in the West under the table, while giving the governor a handy. Also probably under a table.
I’ve pretty much said it all about this badass Mexican frontierswoman/harlot/gambler, so I’ll conclude simply by saying that I’d give anything to enjoy a tamale or two and a game of cards with Gertrudis. And by anything I mean, like, several pesos.