Submitted to the New York Times “Modern Love” essay competition.
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” she says and turns to the sink full of dishes. I stand behind her, munching on a piece of cold cheese, and try to see things from her perspective.
When she was twenty-three, my age, my mom was married, simultaneously going through law school and learning on the go how to be a wife and a mother. A year earlier, before she said I do to the man she had been in love with for three years, she had never experienced physical intimacy or even talked about it much. My father was the first man she ever kissed. Continue reading →
Appeared in an archived Pomona College online publication on 2.14.2011
In Argentina they call it el piropo. It is when a man of any age, shape, and form calls out after a woman on the street and tells her she is pretty, beautiful, sexy, skinny, curvy, delicious, divine, a goddess, a princess, a “mammy,” a star, or a bonbon. Sometimes the description is accompanied by a more detailed account of the pain or pleasure caused by the woman’s looks, presence, or indifference, and, sometimes, with a short but vivid description of the things the man would like to do to her in a different time and place…
It came over the ocean with the hot Italian blood that flows through the first tango verses, some of the dirties and most sexually evocative pieces of writing I have ever read; but it also comes from the rich earth of this land, its vegetation, and its sweat, which collects in puddles and trickles down bodies leaving traces of desire. It is generously given and it is far from a beauty trophy: the only thing it shows is that one looks like a woman. Continue reading →
A scene common in movies: crushed by life’s hardships, the heroine gets on a bus and spends long hours going nowhere until her internal turbulence calms down and she is again able to face the world with still determination. What takes me to the bus stop on Claremont’s First Street on a strangely autumnal day, however, is not internal torment, but pure curiosity. I want to test the popular student theory that public transportation in the Inland Empire is “sketchy,” even “scary,” and that the non-recommended use of the Foothill Transit Line might have… consequences. Continue reading →