Karma is a bitch.
My dad was a bigot.
My dad was the sort of bigot that society permitted and even supported. I cannot think of a time when my dad would not criticize or judge people. I mean everyone was grist for the mill: men, women, children and even animals!
My dad was a sort of charming hater…..he made the jokes that no one else would make and people around him would laugh nervously. Despite his humor and charm, there was a deep dislike of all things that were foreign. That pretty much meant everyone except himself.
You might imagine that my dad was deeply homophobic. Not an easy thing for me growing up or even existing in adulthood. Mexico is a very macho society where men are men and women are women. Misogyny and homophobia run deep in the country’s culture. I think my dad very often made attempts at setting that bar. In English, we have words like faggot, pussy, queer, and many more hateful slurs to marginalize homosexuals. Mexican Spanish has their own crass speech Puto, Maricon, Huanga, Marimacho, Marika etc. etc. I cannot tell you the number of times my dad would use these words around me, pointing at a homosexual, speaking of them as a disease.
There’s a part of me that truly believes he threw this in my face because he knew what I was and he wanted no part of it. I’m sure there were other motivations: this is the way you forge a man from a child, men are not sissies, men are better than women, blah blah blah. It’s pretty amazing that considering what I do for a living, my father was the only person I never told I was gay. So here’s a little story about karma and bigotry.
It’s Spring Break 1991(ish) and we are staying at the Punta Mita Four Seasons in Nuevo Vallarta Mexico. Although my parents were not yet divorced, the marriage was in the shitter. My dad had begun asking for separate vacations for himself with my brother and me. This request served two purposes: 1) to hurt my mother by separating her from her boys during their time off and 2) as a cover to bring his mistress along.
Because my dad was friends with one of the co-owners of the hotel, (a huge person at Pepsi in Mexico) we were upgraded to spectacular suites! My brother and I were sharing a beautiful room and somewhere down the halls my father and his mistress had their own piece of paradise.
When this type of trip happened, my brother and I worked hard to get along. I think we recognized we were each other’s only life line. We would both lie to our mom about the trip in order to protect her. My dad would be much more cavalier and push the envelope to create drama between them. As a way to fill the day, rather than having to spend time together, my brother saw a brochure for ATVing in sand dunes near by.
My brother is very fearless and very lucky. He loves all types of sports adventures and never seems to get injured despite often being reckless. Although he invites me to come along, I am not interested. All I want is a massage: hopefully from a hot masseuse! Already the tall tell signs of homosexuality were peaking through.
Left with no choice, my dad and my brother book the trip and head out to the dunes. I stay behind and immediately make myself scarce because I was not interested in hanging out with the mistress. I’m sunburnt and my massage is awesome! Not the fantasy I hoped for, but a brilliant massage all the same. I’m feeling physically good and fancy with my virgin Pina Colada!
I’m chilling in my room when my brother returns. He has a look that immediately tells me something has seriously happened. It’s the gleam in his eyes that meant something happened to dad.
“You won’t believe what happened…” he sets his stuff down and sits on the side of his bed. “So it’s just Dad and me, right? We get into the van and there’s another family, a couple and an interracial gay couple. One of them is black and he is super feminine and full of piercings and the other one is white in the tiniest shorts and tank!” You’ve caught my interest, I say to myself!
“So we get there and everyone is outfitted with safety equipment and ATVs. They had to get Dad a special vest and helmet to fit him.” he giggles every possible detail. “The gay guys were super fit so that was fine. But they were all cutesie with each other so you can imagine Dad!”
“How bad did he get?” I cringe.
“Just his usual shit, ‘faggots, blacks, pussies……you know,” he says. “So we start on the ATVs and it’s super fun! there are huge sand dunes and you could super take off and catch great air if you floored it up the face to the lip. Anyway, we’re about 2/3 of the way through the run and I’ve pretty much got the hang of it. So I throttle it up this super steep dune and take off! I caught some serious air!!! I can hear dad behind me yelling ‘Alejandro no! Alejandro slow down! Wait for me’. So I stick the landing and I double back to see what’s what and at the bottom of the dune is dad laying down and his ATV is nowhere in sight. The only two people with dad are the gay couple!”
“So what the fuck happened,” I clamor.
“Turns out dad tries to catch up to me but doesn’t make it all the way up the face. Because dad is so big as he got higher up he was losing traction. Eventually, the ATV started to flip over on him, so he launched himself off the ATV backward, somehow spins in the air and rolls up into a ball!” He is crying he is laughing so hard and I’m on the edge of my seat.
“So he turns into this ball, and like a pillow bug rolls all the way down this giant dune. He ends up at the bottom, face down like a starfish! And who’s waiting for him at the bottom…..the gay couple!” I can’t even speak!
“So the black guy, who’s ripped, picks him up like nothing and starts dusting him off with his wrists flailing and his voice so high. Meanwhile, the other dude keeps clutching the pearls and telling dad that he’s so amazing, he kept saying ‘you are ssssssssoooooooooo flexsssssible!! Oh my……’. I thought dad was going to shit himself!”
“So what happened?” I ask.
“Nothing, Dad was super embarrassed and banged up. We finished the ride and came home.”
As it turned out, my dad was pretty open about the story too. Of course in his version, my brother was wildly reckless and the gay couple was basically on fire and coming onto him. Still, he was pretty proud of the fact that they both thought he was flexible and reacted quickly and of course, the story was filled racial and gay slurs. He had to spend the next three days in bed with his mistress tending to his bruises. It was the vacation we each deserved!
For your musical enjoyment: I’m Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 at 10:13 pm
Posted in: Blog Stories