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Dating a Latina from another country gives me the right amount of separation from my culture

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I love being from Mexico, a strange, folkloric, and melodramatic country — until I don’t. My peoples neurosis can often border on psychosis, and that makes me thankful I also grew up in America, where I acquired a second perspective about #life.

When it comes to romantic relationships, the concept of dating doesn’t even exist in Mexico — or most places, really. If you’re having dinner with a Mexican, and tell them you’ve been trying to hook up with other people as well (“dating”), get ready to peel off some greasy chorizo tacos from your face.

In contrast, telling an American that you’ve been testing the waters might actually spark a better connection: “You went on other dates? How’d they go? Yeah, I’ve had some shitty people too. This dude named Anziz took me to dinner, and he didn’t even let me choose the wine. He’s got no class.”

Americans are quite liberal about other aspects in relationships. Straight American women, for example, are fairly permissive when it comes to allowing their partners to have friendships with other women. In Latin America, most straight men will never attempt to sell their their girlfriends on lady friends because they’ll get some greasy chorizo tacos thrown on their face, plus some wine.

Non-self-hating LGBTQ+ groups from all countries have already broken through old relationship taboos just by being themselves, so they’re usually playing on another field. However, an acquaintance of mine, a therapist who specializes in gay couples, told me that many of his Mexican male patients are alarmingly violent with their partners.

Apparently being sexually progressive is not always enough to shake off Mexican machismo.

That time my GF took a picture of me in front of Shakira’s sad statue in Barranquilla. I’m not sure why I’m showing it to you.

All of this super scientific evidence, which I’m not even remotely qualified to write about, points towards one super scientific conclusion: If you live in America, dating Americans should be, at least theoretically, easier than dating jealous, regressive, possibly violent Latinos.

This is incredibly reductionist, I know, because dating outside of your culture — and class, perhaps more importantlycan be incredibly complicated. Conversely, sticking to what you know order to remain in your comfort zone is hardly challenging. You’ll never grow as a person and it can fuck with your life until it’s too late (see #3).

I’m a curious dude, so I’ve “gone out” with plenty of people inside and outside of my own culture. But for over two years I’ve been dating a lovely Boricua, and she gives me the right amount of separation from certain aspects of Mexican culture I don’t love.

Cultural compatibility does not make or break a relationship for me. Humor, disposition, attitude, and perspective are on the top of my want list. But not having to fully explain the complexities of my peoples to a partner — or at least the weird shit I partake in — does make a relationship more fluid.

I say “fully” because Ibero-American countries have more than enough differences within them to distinctly set them, and their inhabitants apart. But the fact that my girlfriend and I are from Spanish-speaking countries means explaining the ocasional cultural enigma is easy, or entirely unnecessary.

Case in point, a few weeks ago I booked a flight to Puerto Rico. I was scheduled to spend the holidays with my girlfriend’s family, but she warned me: “My family has this… tradition. We go to my grandpa’s tomb on Christmas to sing a few songs before going to a relative’s house to party. My mom said I should tell you, so you don’t freak out if you come along.”

“Yeah, cool” was all she got out of me, because Mexicans invented singing to dead people and making a party out of it.

During the following days I hung out with her family, had a great time, and I flew black to NYC with a red, greasy appearance — not because chorizo was flung at my face, but because Puerto Rico is hot as balls all year round, and it almost gave me skin cancer.


 

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Andrés Cantor, the most important sportscaster of a generation, liked my Tweet

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This past Sunday I logged on to Twitter to see what 45 was up to, and a friend had tweeted a video clip of Andrés Cantor, the Argentine sportscaster, belting an elongated “gooooooool” after Colombia had scored against Poland. I immediately replied with a simple innocuous response acknowledging I grew up listening to him, and his emotion never gets old.

Monday morning I woke up with a notification on my phone: “ANDRES CANTOR liked your reply.” Having worked around celebrities in a previous life, something like this wouldn’t make me  giddy, but this was different. I remember Andrés, along with Norberto Longo, announcing the Italia 1990 World Cup matches on Univision.

At the time, Univision was the only broadcaster airing all the matches, so non-Spanish speakers also got to experience Cantor’s signature phrase.  He made watching the matches so much more exciting. It wasn’t just his particular enunciation, but his narration, which adds nail-biting suspense, and has a way of scrambling one’s feelings.

He knows his audience very well; just this week, during Mexico vs. Sweden, in the last minute of the match, he began to narrate the results of the match, which allowed Mexico to advance to the next stage. His energy matched those of the stadium, as he announced in Spanish: “Korea takes out the champion (Germany), Korea advances Mexico!

OH. MY. GOD. How can you not get caught up in the drama?

It’s not the same, but there have been some improvements with soccer matches called in English. Fox’s F1 has the English language rights for the world cup. They had two Latinos with thick accents announce Mexico vs. Sweden, and they added their own flair with dramatic cadences in English. But it’s Andrés Cantor who has laid the foundation for dramatic futbol game calling.

I remember during the 1998 World Cup, when Mexico played Germany in the round of 16, the match was tied 1-1. Pavel Pardo tried to do some fancy footwork against a German player, and Cantor quickly commented to stop it and not to do this against Germany. I was thinking the SAME thing — what an idiot! That match had me on the edge of my seat, and Cantor read my mind. Mexico ended up losing the match and getting eliminated.

I heard Andrés for the first time during the 1990 World Cup, but it was in 1987 that he was hired at Univision to call the matches for the Liga MX. For most, it wasn’t until the 1994 World Cup that Cantor came into the limelight. He was recognized with several awards, including a regional Emmy and a National Career Achievement Emmy, for his work during the tournament. He even made an appearance on the David Letterman show.

From a 1994 interview in the LA TIMES:

He said his ‘Gooooooaalllll!’ call isn’t really a trademark, and not even unique. That’s the style of the announcers he listened to as a youngster in Argentina.

Andrés Cantor is very much the voice of soccer in the USA. He came up a time when there was only one network broadcasting the World Cup, and he called the matches like the announcers from his childhood. Ultimately he’s written the announcers playbook, and many who’ve come after him have been influenced by his style. Yes, Cantor’s booming voice has become an unmistakable trademark, but for me his observations are just as important. He’s always saying what I’m shouting at the screen, and, apparently, liking my tweets.


Tizoc Schwartz co-wrote a short film on the word ‘Chingar’ and has written other stuff you’ve never heard of.  He’s a carb enthusiast, and dislikes social media.


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Drunkards in the night: A hallway, two keys, and one lasting memory

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Last night I met a student from upstate New York. She was drunk and locked out from the apartment across from mine, which she leased through Airbnb. She was given two keys; one unlocked the front door of the building, the other one unlocked her anxiety, frustration, and some other door elsewhere, but not the front door of her leased apartment.

I asked her if she was okay and she said “yes” with plenty of confidence. I entered my apartment only to be distracted by her weeping a few minutes later. I don’t know my neighbor — I mean, I’ve seen him, we wave at each other. But I don’t know his name and definitely don’t have his number because, well, it’s New York. Not having to speak to your neighbors about pleasantries — or at all — is one of the perks of the city.

I walked back to the hallway and asked the woman, who was in her early twenties, at most, if she had my neighbor’s number. In her state, my question barely registered, so instead I asked for her name, and to unlock her cell phone, which she was fumbling with. “Nawn…cie. Here.” She handed me her phone where, coincidentally, a group text was blowing up on the screen.

I got in on that: “This isn’t Nancy, but a stranger who found your drunk friend in a hallway in the LES. Someone should come get her. She’s locked out.” I offered her a glass of water, but instead she bolted inside my apartment, ran directly towards the toilet, and threw up. She figured out the layout of my place almost instantly, which was very surprising considering her altered state.

After handing her a wad of napkins and the glass of water, Nancy crawled towards the living room. “Sorry. You’re so kind, and decent, I think. I’m from Ithaca. That’s not relevant to this situation, but yeah, I’m from Ithaca,” she explained while climbing on top of an office chair (I don’t have real living room furniture).

Her friend, Rachel, texted back: “OMG. I’ll be there in 20 minutes! Please take care of her.” I relayed the information to my sudden guest. “Well, Nancy. I guess Ithaca rolls pretty hard on Monday nights,” I quipped. “Naw. Just me,” she replied, before adding that she’s a “computer science student.” “Is that relevant to this situation?” I asked. “Yes. There’s nothing wrong with computer science, actually, but my dad forced me to study that. I’m not good at it, so I’m always getting wasted.”

Nancy’s struggle was all kinds of endearing, but it wasn’t my place to dish out advice because 1) she didn’t ask for it, and 2) she already knew shit was wrong, but simply decided to deal with it in an unhealthy, self-destructive way, just like most young people. It’s actually an important stepping stone in youth, the kind that simply needs to play out.

Rachel finally showed up, adding: “Thanks for taking care of her. We didn’t think she was this drunk when she left the bar.” Still woozy, Nancy looked in my general direction before she left, and mentioned a parting gift. “It’s next to your toothbrush. Thanks, dude.”

She left a memory — yeah, figuratively, but also literally. A 4 gigabyte Samsung DDR3 RAM laptop memory module.

Nancy’s funny. Nancy’s gonna be alright.

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