You Can't Fake Being Cuban If You Don't Know How To Pronounce Guayabera

Don't chew gum and try to speak to a Cuban at the same time. A word like "guayabera" rolls off the well-educated tongue -- Americans get hung up on the "g" starter and try to put in a "u" too but it's really a matter of "y" getting the head start.

"Wah-ya-ber-ah" is my phonetical spelling. A man's pleated dress shirt became to Cuban men what a teeshirt does for young squirts.

The guayabera is believed to have originated in Cuba, where it spread from the peasantry to become a symbol of elegance in Havana with such foreign devotees as Ernest Hemingway.
It's always worn untucked over trousers.

One ex-wearer said the shirt "makes you look like a Cuban grandfather at a funeral."In its classic, long-sleeve form, with lines of pleats tightly sewn into crisp linen fabric, the guayabera has long been a comfortable and appropriate to dress suits in the steamy tropics.

Nowadays, most guayaberas -- with short sleeves and long -- are made in Mexico or China, mainly from cotton or synthetic fabrics that conveniently dry quickly when washed.

Attitude in different latitudes changes with each generation. It's a repeater with pleats. No pockets, thank you. They mess up the streamlined look.