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My weird family made Candlemas its new Christmas because praising a baby in drag is better

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I love living in New York because the city can be impervious to certain American traditions. NYC one of the least American cities in America, and therefore some holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, can pass almost unnoticed.

There might be less people on the streets during Thanksgiving than on a regular day. But, living in the Lower East Side, I’ve gone grocery shopping on Christmas day — both in the Chinese-owned market that’s located below my apartment, and the Pakistani-run deli on the corner — only to see loads of boricua grandmas, orthodox Jews, and broke college students wandering around like they never heard of a virgin woman who possessed a self-inseminating, magical baby-sprouting vagina.

I don’t dislike Thanksgiving or Xmax. I can do without the convoluted significance of the former, and the blatant consumerism of the latter, but I’m not one to pass on any excuse to eat, drink, and mingle with others.

Still, I never visit my family during the holidays. Although they’re practicing Catholics, my parents stopped making a big deal about Santa Claus after most of my immediate family moved all over the US.

We used to celebrate navidad in a more conventional way many years ago. The last time, when I was barely a teenager, my whole family spent Christmas in our home in Jalisco. There my mother propped up a nativity scene under a sad, wilted, white plastic tree. “Santa” bought me a black BMX bike. My sister got a pink one.

But those sweet Huffy knockoffs were not enough to keep my family together — at least not during Christmas. In the ten plus years I’ve lived in New York, we tried to have one traditional Christmas, and it was a mess. We made plans to meet at my sister’s house in Oklahoma City, but flights were delayed, relatives got stranded, and the entire experience was unpleasant for everyone.

My family came up with different tradition: Meeting up in our small Mexican hometown for Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas), which is celebrated on the 2nd of February. If you’re unfamiliar with the holiday, it’s a follow up to Three King’s Day:

“In Southern and Central Mexico, and Guatemala City, Día de La Candelaria is celebrated with tamales. Tradition indicates that on 5 January, the night before Three Kings Day (the Epiphany), whoever gets one or more of the few plastic or metal dolls (originally coins) buried within the Rosca de Reyes must pay for the tamales and throw a party on Candlemas. In certain regions of Mexico, this is the day in which the baby Jesus of each household is taken up from the nativity scene and dressed up in various colorful, whimsical outfits.”

We still call each other on Christmas, and occasionally send gifts. But ignoring a chubby, gift-giving bearded man in order to praise a holy baby in drag has become a practical solution for us.

Or for me, at least, because in January airfare is a lot cheaper, I get to leave New York during the middle of the freezing winter, and I get to see kids getting their asses whipped by devils on the street:

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It’s a thankless job, but would you like to rant for Rictus?

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Are you Latino, Latina, or Latinx? If you’re not, it doesn’t matter. Maybe you lived in Latin America, or know Latino culture well. More importantly, do you have a funny, witty, dumb, eye-opening, or virgen María-blessed insight about something? A personal story, a political view, groundbreaking analysis, or dissenting review about a movie, record, city, art show, or something nobody cares about?

Maybe nobody cares about whatever you’re interested in because you haven’t written about it. Share your thoughts with strangers! You may get even some virtual likes on social media, and that’s how people count happiness in 2018, right?

José and I have a lot of fun here at Rictus, but it’s fun to publish contrasting voices. We don’t make any money, so neither will you. This is really just about you loving the written word, as we do.

Some shit to consider:

  • Can be as short as 300 words, or as long as you think you can hold people’s attention with your awesome wordsmithery.
  • It’s a lot more important — to us, anyway — that you’re funny, insightful, or engaging about whateverthefuckyouwriteabout than a being a super professional writer, so don’t be shy.
  • In English, please. We may add a Spanish section later, but, yeah, English werds, for now.
  • You can use a pen name. Maybe you work at some conservative think tank and and don’t want to be found out. That’s fine. Use your superhero name.
  • You should already have a good pitch. What do you know, or have strong opinions about, that others don’t? Are you mad about something you recently saw in the news? Does your aunt drive you crazy? Have you noticed an interesting pattern in penis owners? Are you a media geek? Do you love celebrities, but hate their dumb looks?

Shoot us an email with ideas: rictus.co (@) gmail dot com, or use the contact form, or reach out privately is you follow us on social media.

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Broke, youthful & repressed: Things you’re too dumb to appreciate in your 20s

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Are you trying to get through your 20s gracefully? Then you’ve come to the wrong place — and I don’t mean this website, I mean this planet. But this website too, maybe.

Listen, you will make horrible mistakes during your existence because #youth. But pay attention because, even if you don’t get past your 20s with some grace, you may be able to get by with some dignity.

1) You poor, endearing bastard

Ah, to be young, dumb, and full of cumulative social issues. As a broke twentysomething, you’re usually too self-conscious to realize that your youth, in a strange way, sanctions your destitution. You realize you’re poor — that’s obviously not the issue — but instead of making it your warcry, and finding strength in a nothing-to-lose attitude, you burden yourself attempting to portray the opposite.

Maybe you’re still trying to prove to society — and your parents, most of all — that you’re an independent, responsible, adult-ass person. You really want that vindication, especially if you spent tons of money on getting edumacated. Yet, you’re between a precious little window of time when society is still willing to forgive your poverty, access to influence, and lack of experience.

Ah, but once you reach your 30s? Let’s just say the Eye of Sauron has nothing on people’s judgemental gaze.

There are exceptions, of course, and if you come from money, none of what I just wrote will make sense to you. But in short, youngsters tend to misuse the grace period their youth affords them.

2) Foooreeever young. You’re gonna be, foooreeever dumb.

So you’re a young blood under the impression that your physical and mental machinations will go on forever because you can, like, totally wake up in the middle of the night with tons of ideas and inspiration, even if you got wasted at a party the day before.

And, whatever — you still have a baggie full of coke in your coat, even if it’s 60% baby formula. You can snort it at any point to get an extra kick, but why not save it for the next party? Because your work ethic is just unstoppable, and the thought of physical deterioration seems incredibly foreign.

Little do you know that nature is maniacally cackling behind a crystal ball in a deep lair within your body. It’s waiting to play a cruel joke on your dumbass, and when it’s time — in your 30s — it will begin by sabotaging your stamina.

That’s only the first part of nature’s cruel plan. The second phase is a lot more sinister because, although you’re left with a portion of the physical energy you used to have, a psychological hangup will turn all of your unfinished, half-realized ideas into regrets.

Suddenly, when you’re in the middle of a Netflix ‘n chill session, half-watching the 25th episode of some stupid show you don’t even like, nature will bitingly turn to your formally unstoppable will to say: “Where’s your messiah now?”

Its grim, I know. The point is, if you come to terms with the fact that age will physically slow you down, and you do so when you’re still young, it may push you focus on whatever you think is truly important.

3) Unlike complicated emotional bonds, sex stupid, but fun.

Sex is fun, but incredibly stupid. Stripped of all of the symbolism polite society instills on copulation, either through romcoms, music, books, or coming of age parties (see quinceañeras), the physical act of rubbing genitals with another person is messy and mundane. Conceptually, cooking chilaquiles is a lot more complicated than getting your gross body to secrete fluids.

I hate to go all Sex at Dawn on you, but modern culture has done a number on everybody. Current social taboos still conflate sex with all emotional sensations. A person can be sexually attracted to another while not being intellectually stimulated by them, and that’s fine. But most people still expect every sexual partner to be a perfectly-matched significant other, and that’s dumb.

Very few youngsters internalize a sexually-positive outlook. Their hormones are out of control, just like their clouded, repressed judgement, and too much emotional stock is placed on what could be a fun, pleasing, but ultimately near-meaningless experience — just like cooking chilaquiles.

Deep, rewarding, emotional, or enlightening bonds can be had with just about anyone — your aunt, a garbage man, or even a piece of clothing. You probably can’t have rewarding sex with any of those three — maybe the garbage man, if he’s hot — but you can have good sex with a dumb stranger.

Do it, and don’t feel guilty about it.


 

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