Monday, April 28, 2008

The Other Man


Some women spend ages complaining they have no man in their life. If they'd like to give me their contact details I would be happy to provide them with one. I have a spare, you see. There are 2 men in my life here in London. One is my lovely boyfriend. I don't write much about him because I can't think of anything bad to say. Gushing never makes for good writing. It's far more interesting to read about the misfortunes and weird antics of others. So, for the sake of my readers, I turn my attention to 'the other man' in my life, my flatmate.

Almost 31 years old, tall, with eyes so dark you have a hard time finding the pupil, my Peruvian amigo embodies the essence of all things Latino. I should know, I've done a lot of research on the Latino man... fieldwork mostly. I first met him 5 years ago in Strasbourg, France. We went for a beer one afternoon after class and he proceeded to tell me about Peru. "You know, Cait," he said, "my grandfather was the last of the Incas." I was very impressed.

"Really?" I asked, eyes wide with appreciation for his heritage.

"No," he replied, laughing, "not really. My God, you gringas will believe anything!" Our friendship began there.

Four years later we discovered we'd both be in London for our Master's degrees. We decided to live together. That decision has made this year much more interesting than it would have been had I taken a place in the university residence.

It is a bit like living with a child. He doesn't cook for himself, and has to be reminded of everything. He has a terrible tendency to say exactly what he thinks with no filter between his brain and his mouth. When I came home from Christmas in France, decidedly a (teeny) bit more rotund due to gorging on cheese, it did not escape his notice. "Dude, what did you do with my flatmate?" he asked, pointing at my small belly, "did you eat her?"

I had hoped to improve my Spanish with him around. But he won't teach me properly, and now we speak a mixture of Spanish and English. A 'Spanglish' of sorts. I remember trying to ask him to help me extend my vocabulary. I pointed to the small crocodile on his name-brand shirt and asked, "Cómo se llama esto en español?" His response?

"Lacoste."

He sings in the shower. Mostly Frank Sinatra, or whatever song happens to have inspired him from the night's dancing before. It is loud and off-key, but it makes me smile.

He is very charming, and usually has more than one woman after him. Some of them send him chocolates, which he gives to me. He doesn't really like chocolate... they obviously don't know him very well.

But I know him. I know he is possibly the only Peruvian to dislike spicy food. I know that he dances like a gringo. I know that he uses my iPod and computer, and naps on my bed when I'm not around. I know he likes the 'pull my finger' fart trick. I know this because I taught it to him.

He is the only person who calls me by such interesting terms of endearment: 'gringuita', 'gordita', 'pollito' (little gringa, little fatty, little chicken). He always brings the newspaper home for me to read when he is finished with it. I could train a dog to do that, but then I'd have to pay for it myself.

We will probably part ways this October, given that neither of us know what to do after we graduate. Even if we both stay in London it is unlikely we'll share a flat again. I won't have to cook 4 extra servings of food, or constantly put the seat of the toilet back down. I won't have the extra comments on a bad hair day to deal with (ex: "carajo, Cait! you look like crap!").

I'll have to give up the other man in my life. And I'll miss him very much. So if you're looking for a man in your life, I have one for you. He's ready to go to a good home, if you're willing to love him, cook for him, tell him to shut up on occasion, and hear him sing in the shower. You'll have lots of fun with him, I promise. Just pull his finger and see what happens!

2 comments:

jenanne said...

that's a very sweet portrait of a maddening yet delightful companion ;)

i love the lacoste crocodile story.

debbi_la_folle said...

yaaaay, cait is writing again!! love that! may i mention that u educated a few latino men while in strasbourg... oups, should i have shut up about this? anyway, i'm sure they will make their way into a blog one of these days!! te quiero amiga loca!
deboradora hombres (my nickname by my latino men...a taste aquired through you!!)