Monday, July 16, 2012

"Hey lady, nice legs!" "Are you being serious or are you making fun of me?" "Naw, I'm being serious!" "Oh, well, thank you!"*

    Ever since I moved into my new apartment, other people have been moving out. I don’t think it’s necessarily because of me (narcissist), but it is curious.
    But what else is interesting/highly irritating, is the fact that the building management has been systematically gutting each apartment and putting down hardwood (a.k.a. laminate) floors, so there’s been a great deal of extremely loud construction work.
    And here’s the thing about construction work in Los Angeles (or pretty much any other job in Los Angeles from farming to medicine): it’s usually performed by Latinos (hey, they’re not a minority here!). And this is why that is awesome: Latino men almost ALWAYS take the time to pause what they’re doing and admire the females as they walk by. Almost any females. Even me!
    So I take a little time out of each day to walk past the various apartments in a skirt or shorts so that they can stop their work and stare at me. You’re welcome, Latino men of L.A. But more than that: thank you. Muchos, muchos gracias.
    It’s funny, because I don’t have great legs or big boobs, but men from Latin America are so damned appreciative of the ladies. All the ladies. I feel like maybe I should spray on a tan and move to Guatemala or El Salvador. Do you think I’d get to feeling too good about myself?
    I know, women (even Latinas) say the “machismo” thing is off-putting; that sometimes the way they treat women is no better than the way you’d treat a prize-winning pig. But seriously: I don’t really care. Besides, the Latino men I know personally are just flirtatious and sweet, not condescending or patriarchal.
    I used to go to salsa dance clubs in the Valley with my friend Lucia. She and her husband, Jose (one of those amazing, wonderful Latino men I mentioned) would drag me along to these clubs where I stood out like an extremely white, extremely quiet, sore thumb. I don’t speak much Spanish (very close to nada, actually) and I’m white for even a white person. (Just a notch above albino, actually. When I buy foundation, I have to buy the palest shade they sell, and even that makes me look “painted”.) But despite how I looked or spoke, these perfectly friendly, delightful men would come up to ask me for dances. They didn’t grope me or treat me like a piece of meat. They simply salsa-ed their heinies off while I did the “Marcia Brady Dance” (which I think my Aunt Mel invented—it’s that thing of swinging your thumbs back-and-forth in unison with your feet). They never judged me or made me feel like I couldn’t dance (and I can’t). Some of them even asked me for my phone number (which I gave out indiscriminately, and then never answered...not their fault.  It just seemed awkward. I’d had numerous cervezas on each occasion and couldn’t remember what any of them looked like). 
Salsa 2000 in North Hollywood. More exciting inside.
     But white men here are too self-absorbed to stare or whistle or even glance up from their Pabst Blue Ribbons at a bar. The men in LA (the white ones, anyway) are far too busy looking at themselves in the mirror (or the storefront, or the silverware, or the sunglasses of whomever is sitting across from them) to pay any attention to a woman who isn’t famous. They're mostly concerned with their huge muscles (though then they're usually gay) or their tiny skinny jeans (in which case, they're still gay or they're straight but I feel like an elephant standing near them). Neither of these scenarios helps the dating scene. It’s infuriating. And sad.
    So, I guess I’m going to Pollyanna the situation. That is: I’m going to be happy for the construction in my apartment complex, as it gives me a chance to interact with some truly friendly, appreciative men…
    And maybe improve my Spanish. (Estoy aprendiendo español.)
*Quote is from an interaction that actually happened to Gabe at a gas station. Love it.

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