The other day I was walking on El Conde and saw a man who owns an apartment building in the Colonial Zone. I have rented 3 apartments for clients in his building, so he is always ready to tell me when he has something available for “extranjeros.” As he and I were talking I could see in a distance several buggarons approaching. As they approached I knew what was about to happen, they saw me and in very loud voices said, “Papa!” I tried to give them my prim and proper nod, as if to say, not right now. But, they weren’t having it.
Mr. Quirino smiled at me and said in Spanish, “why do you associate with those buggarones sucios?” We both laughed and he said that he would introduce me to his nephew who was gay. I was kind of taken aback, as I never expected him to say something like that. I immediately said, “no, thank you.”
I then got to thinking, why? Why is it that I have always liked bad boys, for lack of a better word?
I think it all started back in NYC, in Spanish Harlem. I grew up around Puerto Ricans and was often mistaken for one myself. When I was growing up in the 70’s, there were a lot of gangs around, the Savage Skulls, Renegades and Spanish Kings come to mind. This was the time when graffiti was very popular and you went to different neighborhoods to leave your “tag.”
There was a guy who lived on my street named Raphio (pronounced Ray-fee-o), and he was the leader of all the boys on the block, Black and Puerto Rican. He was respected by the adults on the block, even though most knew that he was a gang member. He kept our block trouble-free, and helped the elderly, etc. Then at night he might go raping and pillaging somewhere else, but that was okay.
Raphio was the most masculine, handsome man I had ever seen. I always wanted to hang with the big boys, but then I had a few problems. One was that I was blossoming into a pretty young gay boy, and people were starting to take notice. I was one of those renaissance young gay boys. I could jump double-dutch with girls, braid hair, etc., but then I could also play cops and robbers, baseball and stuff like that with the boys. Ahead of my time, I tell ‘ya.
The other problem was my mother. Bless her heart. When she started seeing changes going on she decreed that I would now have to be in when the street lights came on. In the winter this was not too bad as I had school the next day, but in the summer it was MURDER. From my window I could see everyone playing in the fire hydrant, jumping rope, and just having a good time. This was the time that I absolutely HATED my mother. She would make me read books and give her a book report, I did the laundry, cleaned the house, etc. Today, I am very grateful that my mother did what she did, because I could’ve ended up in jail, or on drugs, like so many of the people I grew up with. But at the time I was willing to risk it.
As I got older and sexually active, I was only attracted to hooligans. As I entered adulthood I still only wanted people who were “bad boys.” When I started working if I had to attend a special function I would bring a change of clothes and couldn’t wait to hit the after-hours clubs and hang with the misfits. When I was young and lovely and started dating, I would meet these educated, smart, handsome men who liked me, but I was just not interested. That has always been my downfall.
So, yes, I like buggarones. Sue me. Now, if I could only find a Dominican psychiatrist who speaks some English, then maybe I could change these destructive patterns.