Dreaming of a White Dade Christmas
I do just love being looked down upon by a bunch of people my own age. Granted, I made the mistake of wearing jeans (nice, pressed, designer jeans, but jeans nonetheless) to a “dress-up” Christmas Party, but that was no excuse to ignore me all night. Unfortunately, if you are underdressed and American at a Christmas party full of rich Cubans, you may as well have showed up with a sign saying “I have the Ebola virus” because nobody is going to risk talking to you. All night I was pointed at and referred to as “the guy in the jeans,” and as such I blame myself for our little American group’s exclusion from the festivities.
I had the fortune to be invited to Cliff’s Christmas Party this weekend, which was hosted by him and his roommate, also an American. So I figured it would be a good ol’ fashioned White Dade Christmas party full of Palmetto High School’s finest alumni. Dream on. Cliff’s roommate went to Columbus. For those of you unfamiliar with High Schools in Dade, Columbus is a private all-boys school populated almost entirely by upper middle-class Cubans. And Bob Gresie’s kid. Their sister school is Lourdes Academy, a factory for Cuban Princess’ with black BMW’s and oversized sunglasses. Imagine JAP’s speaking Spanish, and you’ve pretty much got your typical Lourdes girl. So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the common room at Whisperwood Condominiums and was greeted with a chorus of “Hey Bro’s” and kisses on the cheek. Lovely. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised going to a party in Kendall, but a boy can dream, can’t he?
Needless to say, there were no girls there that piqued my interest, seeing as how the only Americanas were Miss M and Miss K, who is Cliff’s girlfriend. A minor disappointment but, hey, who am I to be a party pooper? After all, I am fully capable of enjoying myself at Frank’s All-Dominican barbecues he has from time to time, why should this be any different? I’ll just put on some meringue and pop a Presidente and fit right in like I do at his house. Perhaps I’ll even get wasted and start speaking Spanish, something I refuse to do sober. Well, I guess Dominicans in North Miami and Cubans in Kendall are not the same thing. Frank’s guests are not rich Cubans who, unlike working class Dominicans, pretty much regard Americans as clueless cheeseballs from Wisconsin. The only interaction I think I had with any of them was during the “Chinese Gift Exchange” (a term Asia found quite distressing) when I got into a heated argument with one girl over a pair of Stewey Griffin Bedroom slippers.
So, since none of the boys from Columbus or the girls from Lourdes Academy bothered to take the time to talk to any of the Americans in the room, me, Cliff, Asia, and the two white girls sat in one corner of the room and got completely wasted and ate cookies. Asia, who is actually Cuban-Chinese, still sat with the white people since he is from St. Louis and therefore seems to relate a little better with Americans. I still managed to have a good time, despite being relegated to the Whisperwood Common Room equivalent of the Warsaw Ghetto. I had not seen such a stark chasm in social congregations at a party since my 7th grade Winter Formal. I may have said five words to the Cuban guests, and I even knew a couple of them from The Tavern. None of them ate my pepper-crusted round eye and sun-dried tomato hours d’ouvres. I was quite insulted.
It was kind of an awkward night since there was a contingency of about five of us that had to sit in our own little bubble in one part of the room. There should have been a “Quarantine: Americans” sign in front of us. Perhaps we were not overly sociable with the Cuban guests either, and perhaps we just chose to talk to each other instead of mingling with strangers who we had nothing in common with. But by the end of the night it was starting to feel like “The Yard” at Everglades Correctional. And while the party itself was good time and I enjoyed myself for the most part, it just went to show where exactly “Americans” stand in the eyes of the Dade County majority.