Back to the States

It's so strange being back here (I'm visiting home [the U.S.] for a few weeks) for a number of obvious reasons, but also for so many of the little differences in my life in Zacatecas that I had started taking for granted. They don’t have tortillas with every meal here in the States; the majority of people begin their day before 9:00 a.m.; there are not corner stores every 1/2 mile; going to the movies is way too expensive; people assume that you were born here, that you speak English, and when you don't fit into these categories…people are really thrown off and can have very interesting reactions.

Then there's the whole fact that I feel I have lost every ounce of sexiness on the plane ride over the border. It's as if everyone is so terrified of being offensive or inappropriate that even a glance here or there of appreciation is beyond the acceptable limit. Now, I'm not out there looking for turning heads on every corner or even a Friday night date (might prove uncomfortable with my partner at my side), but what I do think lacks every now and then is a general acceptance of natural attraction, appreciation of others’ attraction, and just a little more warmth between the people. Interestingly enough, I have noticed that in both Mexico and the States, when women find other women attractive it’s not as big of a deal to make public such feelings.

Oh, and back in Mexico my partner always feels the need to walk on the outside when we walk down the street on the sidewalk together. Now, it’s hard to understand his inclination outside of a place where something like this is an integral part of the culture, but it is understood that if you are walking down the street with the woman on the outside (open to the street), it’s and open invitation to yell out with those famous cat calls I refer to so frequently. So anyway, my partner unconsciously is always on the outside. I’ll admit, I’ve let my irritation and anger dissolve into understanding and general ambivalence. But here, in the States, not once has my partner even made a move for the outside. It’s just a different feel here.

People are so afraid to be warm. Friendly, kind, outgoing, if you want, but really it's just a matter of acknowledging other people around you, saying a few words in the 7-11, or smiling as you cross walking in and out of the metro station. I can remember after moving down to Mexico for the first time, I would meet people and literally after five minutes, they would be inviting me to stay with them and their family in their hometown. A very common thing to do in Mexico, all parts of the country, is to describe your own house as someone else's. For example, the following could be a common convo:

Person A: "Hey! It's good to see you again! How are you today?
Person B: "So great. How are you? You look really nice today.
Person A: "Oh thanks! Hey, I can't remember, where did you say you live again?"
Person B: "Oh really close. It's on Rayon Ave. Just go to the end of the street and right there you'll see your house!

It's tough to really get the feel without the Spanish language, the warm tone of the voice, and the…mariachi music in the background (did you pick up on the sarcastic stereotype right there? Tricky, I know), but it's just a simple example.

I think I also had grown accustomed to the engraved gender roles that are ever-present way down south but for some reason they don’t' freak me out as much anymore. It's all your experiences, ya know? Education, people, you know, things you've seen. When something becomes commonplace, and you have a stronger understanding about where people are coming from, where that behavior is coming from, you don't fear it as much. Not gonna lie, I see it to be refreshing and yet terrifying at the same time.

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