Before you go crazy and start foaming at the mouth, this is a personal article. Everything that follows is MY personal opinion, and HAS NOTHING TO DO with the companies / organizations I am affiliated with or their parent companies. If you are offended by anything expressed in the following paragraphs, IT IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM – NOT MINE!
That said, this has been one of the more difficult posts I have written precisely by its deeply personal content. Offending people is not my goal, but recently I came to the realization, that no matter how careful I express my opinions, someone will feel “offended” simply because my opinion differs from theirs. We have reached a tipping point where those of us who are not professional douche-bags become “the worst type of person” simply by having a different opinion.
Now, why did I title this post “FYI”?
This post is FYI because I have found that many, many people make their assumptions about me and El Casque (a character based on my personality) and 99.9% of the time, those assumptions are completely wrong. So, to avoid further stupid assumptions during the new year 2017, let me share with you a few bits of information you should know…
You Should Know…
That I am not U.S. American. No matter how many times I remind readers / followers / subscribers that I am Puerto Rican, people still assume that I have the same cultural references that the average U.S. American.
Let me remind you once again: I am Puerto Rican, born and raised on the Island. Yes, I am an USA citizen like all other Puerto Ricans – after all Puerto Rico is a USA
colony territory – but culturally, I am Hispanic. You will tell me “I have Latino friends! In fact I have a Puerto Rican friend in college!” – and I will tell you that I am completely different from your Puerto Rican friend from college. We share some common characteristics, but we have different mindsets. Why? Because most probably, your friend was either born and/or raised in the USA from Puerto Rican parents or grandparents. It is possible that your friend had never been on Puerto Rico beyond a summer vacation – meanwhile, I came from PR 10 years ago and still go there every summer. Speaking honestly, I can bet that your Puerto Rican friend barely speaks Spanish…
To be blunt, I have more in common with a Colombian or a Mexican than with your friend simply because I share more cultural points with them than with your friend. Spanish is my first language – both the Puerto Rican “slang” and the other Spanish versions spoken in Latin America – so I consider English my third language. Before I moved to the continental USA, I did not have to speak English on a regular basis, I watched mostly Puerto Rican TV shows, and 99% of my friends and acquaintances were Hispanic. That means my VALUES, BELIEFS, and TRADITIONS are Latin American – and by default, a lot more conservative and traditional than the ones practiced in the USA. Therefore, my opinions – no matter how liberal they are in Latin America – will always be seen as conservative or “centrist” in the United States…
That I am NOT in my 20’s. Because I write about a topic dominated by guys and gals in college age, many of you out there think I am also in college. Well, you are wrong again…
I have mentioned many times that I am in my 40’s. Yep, I could be YOUR FATHER (but I cannot be 100% sure until you send me a photo of your mom during the 1990’s). Why is that important? Because there is something called a generational gap between us. As an “older person”, I had gone through life experiences that maybe you have not experienced yet. Because I grew up in a different era when social media did not exist, all media was physical (you know, books, magazines, cassettes, VHS tapes, DVD’s), and people had conversations face to face, I have a different perspective on life. Add the fact about me being a cultural immigrant, and boy, it is like I am from Mars and you are from Saturn.
That I am fairly “educated”. For some reason, when I disagree with other people, the first thing they write / tell me is “You need to get educated”. To their benefit, I do admit I talk, act, and look like the average ghetto middle age guy BECAUSE I COME FROM THE LOWER CLASS.
I grew up in a lower middle class family in Puerto Rico and I was the first one in my family going to college right after HS. I worked with my dad doing manual labor / physical work since I was 12 and the neighborhood where he worked was (still is) a fucking ghetto. I was exposed early on to drug addicts, drunken fuckers, prostitutes, crime, and lots of street violence. I was shielded by my father – who grew up in that ghetto – but I still could see, hear, and experience some shit that some of you would NEVER imagine.
The irony is that I have more formal education that most of the people nagging me. Don’t like to brag, but I have spent 10 years of my life in college – and have the degrees (undergraduate and graduate) in Engineering, Management, and Education to prove it. Just for fun, lets add the certificates in Life Coaching, Training, and other areas and I have enough diplomas to cover the walls of my apartment. Fuck, I even taught a semester in a NYC college!
Well, maybe they are talking about “sexual education”. OK, I do not have a degree in psychology or sexology simply because those are careers that are useless until you get a doctorate degree – and coming from the low middle class, that was something I could not afford. In exchange, I had been attending to adult educational seminars since the mid 1990’s, learning about the changes in cultural acceptance of the formerly called “alternate lifestyles”. Of course, learning about different lifestyles than my own does not mean I have to embrace them. It means I acknowledge them and not demonize them, even when I do not agree with them.
That I do not need to know your sexual preference. Look, unless we have a romantic / sexual relationship, I don’t need to know about your sexual preference. Whoever / whatever you share your sexy bits IS YOUR DAMNED BUSINESS! In the same way, I am not shouting to the world that I love petite Asian women with round asses, because it is no one’s business. If you are heterosexual / gay / lesbian / pansexual / solosexual / or any of the other 200-something sexual preferences, good for you. I DO NOT CARE.
I prefer to deal with you as a HUMAN, no more labels needed. What you do with your holes and dongles is your choice. Basically, it is YOUR life, YOUR body, and YOUR choice of partner – whoever or whatever you exchange fluids with IS NOT MY BUSINESS unless I am involved.
That I do not care about “your” pronouns. In the same spirit, unless I have ANY type of regular relationship with you – friends, relatives, roommates, sex partners, etc.- I do not care about your gender identification and whatever pronoun you decide to use for yourself.
Before you start calling me “trans-phobic” or any other name, let me remind you what I wrote about 11 paragraphs above: English is not my first language. If you have ever studied Spanish, maybe you understand that Spanish is a gender-binary language. Everything in Spanish has a gender – either it is feminine or masculine. In fact, the “neutral” gender is the masculine version of the word.
Since gender neutrality is a concept that does not exist in the language that I still use most of the time, all this argument about gender neutral pronouns is nonsense to me. It is simply an alien concept. Yes, I can read and write in decent English, but it is still my third language – and one I am still struggling with in its oral form.
In fact, I consider rude on your part the demand of using a non-standard pronoun when referring to your person – and even the use of they / them / theirs is still not standard practice. Understand this: I deal with more than 300 people on a regular basis and only 8 people in the last 10 years had asked me to use “neutral” pronouns. From those 8, only 1 person had a regular interaction with me – and we agreed in just using her given name. The other seven? People belonging to different munches that I haven’t seen in person in more than a year (due to schedule conflicts, not personal issues).
If you eventually become part of my circles of friends (or closer), THEN I will do my best to use whatever pronoun you want me to use. At that time, I have had considered you someone important in my life, and I care about the well being of people in my life. Other people? Nah, I don’t.
So if I just met you, I am not going to ask you about “your” pronouns, nor will give a rat ass when you look like having a seizure pointing at a “pronouns pin”. It is not that I do not respect you as a person…I do. It is simply that I do not care. Nothing personal…
That said, you should know something else…
My best friends and I disagree on almost everything. I am a man of few friends, but those are solid relationships that had been established for years. My three closest friends were my roommates in college – something that happened at least 21 years ago. Since then, we have been friends IRL and online, and guess what – we don’t agree in anything besides our friendship.
In politics, I believe in the independence of Puerto Rico from the USA. My friends? One is a politician for the party pushing statehood, the second have never voted, and the other votes by convenience. Socially, I am the most liberal of the four with gay and lesbian friends, reviewing sex toys, and having sex with dolls. My friends are very traditional, with one of them being an open homophobic since the years we were in college. Religion? I am agnostic, one of my friends is an atheist, another a hardcore Catholic, and the other a Jehovah Witness. The only thing we had in common was that all are straight guys – but even our preference in women is totally different.
The thing is I do not need you to agree with all my views or opinions for us to be friends. I hope you agree with me at least on that single thing…