Me tiró bocarriba en su cama para cuatro, me quitó los pantalones con una maniobra maestra y se acaballó sobre mí, pero el terror helado que me empapaba el cuerpo me impidió recibirla como un hombre. (García Márquez, Memories of my melancholy whores)

"para cuatro" means "for four", right? And it has been translated as "for four" (Grossman), but this is meaningless to me in this context. What does the author mean by saying "She threw me face- up on her bed for four"?

  • 10
    Perhaps she had a large bed?
    – mdewey
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 20:36
  • 1
    I know this as en cuatro. It's called a sex position. I think its use is regional.
    – Schwale
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 22:00
  • 5
    I think it's just a bed so wide that even four persons could sleep comfortably on it.
    – cdlvcdlv
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 22:58
  • 3
    @Ustanak if you are correct why did she throw him onto the bed bocarriba (face up)?
    – mdewey
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 11:44
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    @JasonStack No; actually, I'm wrong. I didn't read the bocarriba part so my interpretation is not correct.
    – Schwale
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


I'm not familiar with that book, so I looked for it and read that part. I don't see any "hidden lines" there, I suppose it just about a bed for four (people).

I found a book from Satoko Kawamura called "por los caminos de cien años de soledad" and he says this:

…García Márquez relata esa experiencia con mayor exactitud en la persona de Florentino Ariza. En el barco, una mujer con uñas de halcón lo agarra de la camisa y lo mete en su cabina, lo echa sobre un catre y lo viola.

I suppose that, even if he is speaking of a bed in house (where the whores lived) here, the actual story happened in a ship and I suppose a bed for four is this kind of beds you find on ships where there is a bed on top of another, and another, and another.

  • 2
    What Mr. Kawamura says in that passage is that, in the novel Love in the Time of Cholera, one of the characters is raped by a woman aboard a ship — an autobiographical hint that García Márquez would make more explicit in the Memories of my Melancholy Whores excerpt that you and the OP cite. The event recounted does not take place aboard a ship but at a mansion that had seen better times and was now a brothel.
    – JMVanPelt
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 4:14
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    Yes, I know, I'm not saying is the same thing, but it's kind of related, so the explanation for a "bed for four" should be just that reference to the ship bed (even if it's not the same book). Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 14:19

The expression "Me puso en cuatro" or "ponte en cuatro" it's a very informal shrinkage or reduction of a sentence about the sexual position "on fours" (referring doglegs) in spanish "en cuatro patas (de perro)". It's an animal sex position.

In Latin America we usually use animals to enrich the vocabulary.

For example:

  • "nadar a lo perrito" (to swim as the puppy dogs).

  • To say "I came fast because I drove dodging cars" in Chile we have an informal sentence "Me vine culebreando" ("I came dodging as snakes do" or best "I came snaking". In Argentina they would say "I came rabbiting" referring to rabbits dodging.

  • When a child has a dry cough, we say "dog cough" (tos de perro).

  • When we feel a tingling in a hand, we say "ants in a hand" (hormigueo en las manos. Ant = hormiga). The ending "eo" indicates the feel as if the subject (an insect in this case) are doing to you.

  • The ending "ando" (conejo = conejeando) indicates an human behavior similar to a subject (an animal in this case) that usually are doing.

  • 3
    This answer is about what in English is called "doggy style" and actions related to animals but this is not the answer to the question that has no animal references at all. I think @VladimirNu is correct on his answer about a bed able to accommodate four people.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 15:16
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    There's no relation between the question and this answer. The question is about una cama para cuatro and not me puso en cuatro. Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 16:22

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