“El Guapo, Eddy wants to meet us for dinner tonight. He has something he wants to tell us.”
I like Eddy. He’s that friend who mysteriously disappears for months at a time only to reappear without skipping a beat, as if he hadn’t been gone at all. In my single days I liked to have Eddy around because he always had a horde of women with him. Everywhere we went the ladies would run to him to hug and kiss the famous Eddy.
What does he want to talk to us about?
“Who knows with that chico? I just hope he’s not selling Amway. Mi tia pulled a fast one on me with that Amway crap. Look, I don’t want to buy your stupid soap!”
Amway is a touchy subject with Miguel. Anyway, we left about 10 minutes later than our agreed upon meeting time. Late, you may be wondering to yourself for two reasons: 1) We’re Latino and late by nature; 2) Eddy is always later than everyone else.
We arrive and take our usual booth in the back, sitting across from each other. Miguel gives me a humorous look when we both realize that Eddy has yet to arrive. I order a Miller Light, but changed to Corona after getting a look from Miguel. Where is Eddy?
“Who decided to let criminals into this fine establishment?”
Ah, here was Eddy is all of his glory. Eddy always puts a smile on everyone’s face when he’s around. He was just blessed with being Guatemalan and extremely personable. We loudly lock hands and hug like two brothers who haven’t seen each other in a long time.
“El Guapo, you’re looking guapo as always and Miguel, Miguel, bueno, you’re a good kid.”
“Ha, ha, Eddy, you disappear for weeks then come right back making fun of me. So what’s the big news? Are you going to be a daddy?”
“Sit down boys. Let me go ahead and tell my two amigos a story.”
We sit down and are expecting Eddy to tell us about his latest escapade. He’s a great story teller who usually has us gasping for air with his descriptions and impressions. Eddy is one of those people who can get out of any uncomfortable situation with his sense of humor. Miguel slides over towards the wall as Eddy scooches in next to him.
He puts his hands on the table, takes a deep breath and says,
Miguel and I were caught smiling at him as we had been expecting to laugh. I looked up at Miguel and his smile was frozen. The interesting thing is that I doubt he was surprised. I say this because I wasn’t surprised. It all made a little more sense to me now, but I wasn’t ready for this announcement. In the Latino community, you will call someone “well-mannered” or “with good culture” before you call someone gay.
“So, does this mean you want to make out with me now? Slap my ass?”
Well, if anyone is going to break an uncomfortable silence it’s Miguel.
“Are you going to start wearing a lot of plaid and tell me my clothes are out of season?”
“You’re pretty fast, Eddy, are you going to enter those drag queen races in Dupont Circle next year?”
“Miguel, you’re an ass.”
“What? Did you think we didn’t know you were gay? It’s only taken you 25 years to tell us?”
“I never knew how you guys would react.”
“Amigo, you’re the most color coordinated person in the world. I always see the look on your face when I wear flannel in the summer. You hang around the most beautiful women in the world and I know you’ve never touched them. And while we’re on the subject, I saw you one night with your collar popped. I don’t care if you’re gay or not, don’t pop your fucking collar. That’s the gayest thing in the world.”
Agreed. Don’t pop the collar man. You’re gay and Latino. Please. You need to give yourself a chance for people to like you a little bit.
“You breeders love the stereotypes. I never popped my collar!”
“Breeders? Is that some kind of gay world word? Mira Eddy, we’re all breeders. Don’t make me slap you.”
What Eddy did was pretty courageous. Many homosexuals in the Latino community rarely come out of the closet to their family and friends because of the negative stigma around it. Miguel and I make up part of the new, more liberal generation of Latinos in the United States who are open to new ideas and ways of life. In the end, a friend is a friend.
“I thought you guys would be weird about it.”
“Why? Mira, you will always be mi amigo and mi hermano, regardless of where you put your burrito. Just admit that I’m cuter than El Guapo.”
“In your dreams Miguel.”
In your dreams is right.