So Halloween night, after the big church party and chili cookoff was over (I didn’t place, oKAY?), after the last trick-or-treater left and my own trick-or-treaters were finally asleep, after the magic and the mystique and the makeup had worn thin, I closed my front door, took a deep breath, and decided to forego cleaning up my cluttered house and instead honor the remainder of this holiday by—naturally—watching Evita on Netflix. Because next to garlic and a crucifix, Antonio Banderas’ muscle-bound tango has got to be the most efficient (and delicious) way to stave off evil spirits.
With tired legs but the happy mother-heart that comes only with the end of Halloween, I plopped on the couch and asked my husband to join me. He agreed, and was surprisingly accommodating when I suggested Evita. Five minutes into the show, I looked over and understood why: he was dead asleep on the couch, snoring softly to the march of a million Argentines shouting “Peron!” It turned out to be a win-win, however, as the absence of his awareness allowed me full access—and unbridled devotion—to Antonio.
Oh, Antonio! Antonio in a peasant shirt. Antonio in a butcher’s apron. Antonio in a (gulp) wifebeater. Antonio, marching for his people, crying for his people, singing (most gorgeously) for his people. Antonio, writhing and wrenching and sweating (most gorgeously) for his people. But mostly—most importantly and above all else—was Antonio dancing for his people. The tango, the rumba, the mambo; all done with the passion and ferver that only a Latin lovah can exude, and the most passionate of it done in the arms of his fiery blond female counterpart. Blond, but still Latina. Which got me thinking:
I should have been Latina.
I am blond (ish.) I am fiery (high strung.) I am definitely female. And I am perfectly willing to throw myself in the wifebeater-ed arms of one sinewy, glistening Antonio Banderas. Add to these the fact that I
- like the sun
- can roll my Rs effortlessly
- make really good salsa in a blender (which I say counts)
and you see that, somewhere long ago and far away, a mix-up occurred and my Great Latin Spirit, trembling with excitement to enter a balmy bronzed body and cha-cha my way into this thing called Life, was somehow channeled into the long, quiet line on the other side of the room, over which hung a plain white wooden sign bearing, in reticent script, what was offered me instead: DANISH.
I am Danish, through and through. My mother’s family is Danish, my father’s family is Danish and dangit if, instead of marrying a Latin lovah to give my kids’ complexion a fighting chance, I didn’t marry a man who’s one hundred percent Swedish (i.e., Danish + IKEA.) Stock up on the sunscreen, people. No golden glow in this house.
Now just so we’re clear and my great-grandparents don’t get mad at me: I have nothing against my Danish heritage. I mean, we do have fair skin, fair hair, and tinned butter cookies. It’s just that, well, that seems to be all we have. Oh wait—I forgot about the wooden shoes. We do have wooden shoes. Or is that Holland? (I get all those cold countries mixed up. Yellow braids, wooden shoes, lederhosen–it all lands somewhere in that general region north of wherever.) And of course we also have minimalist decorating, clam chowder, and lots and lots of cyclists.
It’s not that Danish culture is so bad. It’s that Latin culture is so good. And before you go accusing me of ingratitude to my forebears who left their fisheries and braved the icy Atlantic to give me a better life, answer these questions and answer them truthfully. Then judge me if you will.
Would you rather have:
- Chipotle chili tamales or open-faced herring sandwiches?
- Salsa or remoulade? (What, you’ve never heard of remoulade? Think green tartar sauce that Danes smother on everything. I rest my case.)
- Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Enrique Iglesias or Mette Lindberg and Rasmus Seebach? (What, you’ve never heard of Rasmus Seebach? I rest my case.)
- Piñatas or “hide the thimble?” (What, you’ve never heard of hide the…oh forget it. I rest my case.)
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez or Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson?
- Beaches or fjords?
- Motorcycles or bicycles?
- Muscles or spectacles?
- Tawny or pasty?
- Steamy or stone cold?
- Dance shoes or Danskos?
And speaking of dance shoes: At your daughter’s wedding, do you want this…
I rest my case.