By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
It might have been the best night of my life, Friday, if one could say that about a night where no one was naked. Not only were Suzette and I the comeliest lasses at Costa Mesa's Harp Inn, a perfect daydream of a place with handsome young men out trawling for trouble and friendly, social girls clustered in the ladies', not only were there interludes of bloody filet mignon at La Cave, and not only did we have each other (I got you, babe!) but we got, as we long to do, to fight. (The next night I tried to fight Ed Giardina at the Artists Village First Saturday opening, but it wasn't really the same.)
You maybe can't tell it from looking at us—we so classy!—but Suzette and I are always just one ill-considered word from a bloody pile-on, eagle-eyed in our lookout for wrongs that must be righted with our stiletto tongues. We are, like that craaaazy screaming lady on Trading Spouses, Warriors. Warriors for Christ, maybe, or perhaps good manners, or just truth, justice and the American way.
But on to our tale. After closing down the Harp with a hundred of our new best friends, after dancing to the choice cover selections of The Creepers imbued, Bloodhound Gang-style, with lots of nasty lyrical reworkings (I guess the Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" does lend itself to masturbatory imagery, now that I think on it), after drinking our fair share and making eyes at and giving our digits to predatory men, we were invited to an after-party full of handsome young Irishmen, a few Costa Mesa local yokels, and some various girlfriends and neighbors.
Do we want to go to an after-party? You betcha!
Between the front house and the back house on a Costa Mesa lot near the Harp was a pimped outdoor living room, with velvet couches, tenting, a TV for satellite radio and a bar. It was very Black Flys, and pretty damn perfect for post-2 a.m. We sat, ladylike, on the couches in a corner, drinking a beer and chatting. Were we hoochie-mamma-ed out? We might have been mistaken for the Amish. Were we pole dancing? Not in the least. Were we within 20 feet of "Johnny," who lived there with his girlfriend, "Lucia," and another friend, "Brian"? In fact, we weren't; "Johnny" was across the room, sipping his beer without a care in the world. Which is why when "Lucia" came home and started screaming that we were fucking bitches she didn't know and we could get the fuck out of her fucking house, Suzette and I were delighted. It's always good to have the unassailable moral high ground in any situation. You know: like the Bush administration when it comes to torture.
"I know you! And I know you!" shouted "Lucia"—aw, fuck it; her name's actually Lucia—to a couple of girls who were there with their boyfriends. "But," and here Scarface put her fingers in our faces. "I don't know this fucking bitch! And I don't know this fucking bitch!"
"I'm Suzette," said Suzette after an ironic moment or two, and graciously stuck out her hand.
"I don't care who the fuck you are. I don't like fucking bitches I don't know in my fucking house!" Lucia predictably screamed.
"Um, she's with me, Lucia," Brian whispered, seeing as how it was his house too. Until then I wasn't aware there are men who will let their roommates' girlfriends determine their guest list, but clearly Brian had already learned the first rule of abuse: the hand goes up, the mouth goes shut. She looked at me. "And you!" she shrilled at me, gesturing to an Irish kid sitting next to me on the couch. "Are you with him?!?"
"Yeah, sure," I replied, out-ironicizing Suzette by five. I win!
Well, then, everything was peaches and cream! Lucia sat herself down on Suzette's lap and started kissing her on the cheek. "I'm sorry I was rude," she said charmingly, and I could almost hear, "You know I love you, baby, but why do you have to make me so mad?" But it was better. She continued. "I can't help it. I'm just a bitch!"
Ah. The old "I'm just a bitch." Possibly the finest excuse in history for one's unavoidable, can't-help-it behavior besides "we need every weapon in our arsenal in the war against terror."
If there's one thing George Bush and I have in common, it's our dislike of those who don't take personal responsibility for their actions. And blaming her actions on "just who she is," as if "who she is" somehow wasn't attributable to her at all, well, it was almost as bad as when, in the next breath, she said, "I can't help it! I'm Mexican!"
Oh, no, she didn't.
Oh, yes, she did.
I gave Lucia my well-considered thoughts on the subject, most of them having to do with my own experiences of the brand of hospitality proffered by the Latinas I have known (usually including pan dulce and coffee), the inaccuracies in her cultural stereotyping (jealousy I could see—I'd just seen Tosca with my dad the night before—but unladylike rudeness? Never), the wisdom of abusing everyone in sight, the unfeasibility of psychosis as a solution to keeping your relationship spicy, and the fact that as far as I had been able to divine, nobody wanted her boyfriend but her. I didn't have a chance to add that there are many who interpret the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as God striking down the cities not for their sexual and homosexual license but because the citizens thereof treated strangers with a lack of hospitality. I figured that might be getting a little abstruse.
"If you don't like it, you can get the fuck out of my fucking house!" she rejoined, and we did, although not before we ceded a small bit of our moral high ground when Suzette's switch flipped a 180 and she stood, the better to look down from her 6-foot-1 and threaten to kick Lucia's ass, which, frankly, since we were in fact in her fucking house, I didn't completely approve of, but at least Suzette had done something, unlike all the cowering men who kept whispering to us, "You do not want to argue with her. You won't win."
What do you tell a man with two black eyes?
Nothing. You told him twice already.