The Brazilian method of keeping a man faithful

Rehearsals for a show at Electric Picnic yielded a little bit more magic than expected, writes MICHAEL HARDING

Rehearsals for a show at Electric Picnic yielded a little bit more magic than expected, writes MICHAEL HARDING

I’M HEADING for Electric Picnic this weekend, to do a show in the Theatre Tent on Sunday afternoon with Steve Wickham from the Waterboys, and Michelle Haddad, a young actress from Brazil.

I know as little about Brazil as I do about Macumba, the African magic that is practised in that country, but during breakfast with the actress one morning last week, before rehearsals, Michelle told me there is a wide variety of Macumba spells that women in Brazil use to quieten their menfolk, and that the most terrifying is that which causes erectile dysfunction.

The spell involves getting a piece of paper and writing the man’s name on it, then opening a tiny hole in the crown of an egg with a pin or other object, and pushing the scroll of paper into the egg.


This egg is then preserved – perhaps in the freezer where it will not smell – and as long as the man’s name is inside the egg, he will have little pleasure either with himself or other members of society.

My friend explained that she knew a woman who did this ritual when her boyfriend was heading for France. He would be away almost a year, and she did not trust him to resist the guile of European ladies, so she was in a sense doing something to help him, as one might help a child.

So he flew away, but he Facebooked her and Skyped her and e-mailed her day and night, saying how dull Europe was compared to the fandango of life in her bed, and how he was working hard in a restaurant, and that soon he would have enough money saved to bring her to Europe as well.

Now and again she asked him was he having any fun, and he would say, “yes, today we went to McDonald’s!” Or “last night we all sat in and watched a movie!” So back in Brazil the woman was content, but she forgot about the spell. In her naive love she did not associate his faithfulness with her voodoo egg in the freezer; on the contrary she was convinced that he was being faithful because he loved her.

After almost 12 months she got money from her father to go and visit Paris, and when she arrived at the airport he embraced and kissed her a thousand times on the train to the city, and took her to his apartment and they closed the shutters – because it was afternoon in July – and they lay among the cheap nylon sheets and proceeded to become intimate.

But she could not understand her boyfriend’s lethargy. There were a lot of possibilities but only one certainty; he could not make love to her. During the following week they tried everything. Some days they ignored it and other days they indulged in erotic conversations that left them both in a lather of sweat, but nothing worked.

Finally she remembered the egg in her freezer in Sao Paulo, lying beneath the frozen peas and the frozen fish for almost a year.

So she phoned her sister, who knew about such things, and asked her to go to the apartment and deal with the matter. The sister went to the apartment and took out the egg, and left it on the table to thaw in order to extract the name. When she returned a few days later, the smell in the apartment was unbearable. But she extracted the name, burned it, and then smashed the egg on the side of the toilet bowl and flushed it down and opened the windows and e-mailed her sister to say that all had been taken care of in Brazil.

In Paris the woman read the e-mail with satisfaction. She closed her computer and called his name. “Fernando,” she cried with joy. He was in the shower. “What do you want?” he asked.

“I want you,” she exclaimed, as she drew back the shower curtain and gazed at him, with pleasure, because his body was at last responding to her alluring beauty.

My Brazilian friend sat across from me at the table dipping nothing more than toast into her lightly boiled egg. She smiled, and we finished our tea and put away the dishes, and set off for another day of rehearsals. I’m looking forward to the picnic.