The Spanish equivalent of Madonna is also pickled in hair dye and cigarettes

29 Jun

July 28, 2011

On one of my last nights in Mexico, my friends and I went out with our gay Mexican doctor teacher and his boyfriend to a 30-and-up bar to see a band cover all the hits of a Latina 80s pop superstar, Yuri.
The  ambiance of the bar was sophisticated, but laid back. I think it’s a little unfair that hangouts for 20-year-olds aren’t that classy. And don’t have 80s cover bands.
There were huge leather couches around little coffee tables and polished marble floors, and my friends, Jorge Uno, myself,and Jorge’s 22-year-old boyfriend, were the youngest people in there by a good 15 years.
Three ladies, friends of Jorge (and at least 40), sat near us. After introducing us all to each other, Jorge turns to me and points to one of his friends, exclaiming “Don’t her boobies look nice? She went all the way to Victoria’s Secret in New York to get that bra.”
I learned two valuable lessons from that exchange, the first: there are no Victoria’s Secrets in Mexico (although I did see a store that flagrantly abused international copyright laws and used all the VS logos and pictures of their models).
The second: I asked if there was a word for “push-up bra” in Spanish, and learned that, like “nerd,” it’s a direct translation from English to Spanish. (For the curious, “OK,” and “Lady Gaga” are also direct translations).
Before the Yuri cover band went on, the DJ was spinning 80s favorites and projecting the videos that went with them. Think Pat Benetar, David Bowie, jorts, big hair, and other 80s music video staples, except with the lyrics all in Spanish.
When I wasn’t too distracted by the videos, I chatted with Jose, Jorge’s boyfriend, about dancing and his most recent role in a production put on by his acting school. My friend and I had gone to see the performance earlier in the week- it was essentially a Shakespeare comedy, except all in Spanish. I felt like what those four-year-olds with cultured parents must feel like when they are made to watch “Taming of the Shrew” as toddlers. “WTF mom? I just want to see some cars or princesses.”
Jose was great in the play, but we left after about 30 minutes, because as entertaining as it is to understand absolutely nothing that’s going on, sometimes its more fun to just watch American T.V. shows in bed.
Jose told us his character in the play, “Fortuna,” was a diva (and, you guessed it, in drag), and so he had to bedazzle his 5-inch stilettos with aquamarine glitter himself to fit the role. I think he is a method actor.
When the Yuri band went on, it was pretty much exactly what I expected. Slightly-synthesized sounding with a persistent drum beat, the music videos for each song perfectly aligned with the cover band.
At one point, the band did Yuri’s version of a high-energy remix of a classic salsa song, and Jose pulled me out onto the dance floor. Or rather, the short strip of open floor in between the door and the rest of the tables.
With his dramatic acting school lead, we did a slightly erratic combination of salsa, merengue, samba, and freestyle booty-shaking.
After we sat back down, Jorge asked me if I was part Cuban, but then revised his statement with “You need bigger boobs and a bigger butt to be Cuban.”
It was the nicest thing I’d heard all week.
The band continued with some of Yuri’s more soulful tunes that everyone in the club (except us American girls) knew by heart and crooned with the same amount of passion that most Americans reserve only for karaoke versions of “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Party in the U.S.A.”
After the band played Yuri’s version of “Karma Chameleon,” we decided it was time to call it quits. It was hard saying “Good-Bye” to Jorge and Jose. Jorge Uno was easily one of the most unexpected, but most entertaining, parts of my trip to Mexico, and bidding him “Adios,” meant leaving his renditions of ABBA and Susan Boyle, infinite knowledge of contraceptive devices, and obsession with pygmies.
But, as Yuri once sang “Pero No Te Olvido”: But I don’t forget you.

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