A good friend of mine, who for as long as I've known her, has never celebrated a birthday, has her 25th coming up next month. Due to what I can best guess is a quarter-life crisis, she decided to finally have a party and sent invites for a Quinceañera themed birthday, the Mexican coming of age party celebrated on a girl's 15th birthday, calling it her "Veinte-Quince" (Ed. Note: not a thing). [Ed. Note: Leave those ed. notes to me]
The problem is that my friend is vaguely Mexican at best. One of her Grandfathers might have been from there, but she was decidedly born and raised in a whitewashed suburb at least 75 miles from the nearest Quince. While I know throwing Mexican themed parties is all the rage these days, I feel like I should tell her that she has to change the theme unless she wants to be the next slow news day story of white girls being racist. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
Do you track down every "Brian Kelly" in the United States on March 16 and explain to them that, because they were raised in white washed suburbs at least 3,000 miles from the nearest Celtic fortress, it's really not the their business to be celebrating Saint Patrick's Day? Do you pass up plates of Walkers shortbread cookies on the grounds that you are "only vaguely Scottish at best?" Are you the official census taker for the modern Eugenics movement?
If not, it's really not your business to go around deciding whether your friends are Mexican enough to qualify as Mexican (or "Mexican," or Cornball Mexican) on your Official Ranking of Mexicanity Among My Friends.
It's not clear to me from your email whether your friend actually does have one Mexican grandfather, or if you are just allowing that it is a possibility. (Many men born in Mexico have granddaughters currently living. Your friend is descended from four grandparents, two of whom are male. Ergo, it is possible that one of your friend's two grandfathers was born in Mexico. That sort of calculation.)
If she does have an abuelo, imagine how surprised he would be to discover that his granddaughter is no longer Mexican. (For the record, Homer Plessy—of the Plessy vs. Ferguson "separate but equal" Supreme Court case—was designated an "octoroon" when he was arrested for riding in a whites-only railway car in 1892. He was, to put it in your terms "vaguely black at best.")
Now let's take it a step further and assume your friend is only Mexican in the most non-existent of ways i.e. not Mexican. There is still nothing wrong with having a Quinceañera-themed birthday, apart from the fact that it's a party to celebrate a girl's transition to womanhood (a feat that your friend has, hopefully, accomplished by age 25). In theory, this is no more offensive than having a sweet sixteen-themed birthday, or a girls only slumber party-themed birthday, or even a Congrats! You're 40-themed birthday.
Just because something is Mexican does not make it "racist." A taco is not racist. Criminally delicious, perhaps, but not racist.
The thing that would make your friend's birthday party racist is racism. If she plans to celebrate her quinceañera by having all of her guests rock brown face paint, clownish mustaches, and t-shirts that read "I'm Mexican I love drugs I suck"—yes. This party is a bad idea. She is celebrating her transformation from a 14 year old girl into a dumb ol racist and should pick a new theme like "quinces" (the fruit) or "low-key birthday at a restaurant for an adult."
If all she wants to do is have a pink cake, wear a fancy dress, and say a quick mass: nothing wrong with that. Hopefully she'll provide her guests with some cool party favors.
And if you're wondering what to get her for her 25th birthday, you're in luck: you don't have to get her anything.
If she seems disappointed you didn't buy her a present, slam down your paper cup of non-alcoholic juice and yell "I COULD HAVE HAD A BLOGGER CANCEL THIS WHOLE PARTY, YOU BITCH."
A quinceañera to remember forever.
There's a really annoying cashier at the Corner Bakery near my house. So annoying that you feel awkward and embarrassed for how loud and weird he is. He treats the customers as though they have never ordered food from a casual dining chain restaurant before. He also feels the need to announce every step of the ordering process, "Ok, so next I'm going to just ask you a few questions about our charity promotion going on."
My boyfriend and I can't stand ordering from him. Sometimes we lie and say we aren't ready to order so we can get a different cashier, despite the fact we literally get the same thing every time.
We want to try and get him fired so we never have to deal with him again. Is that okay?
You should do everything in your power to have this man fired from his menial job because he makes the 30 second window between when you order and receive your food slightly uncomfortable. You should also fire the Girl Scout who giggles nervously as she tries to sell you cookies. And the dental hygienist who speaks with an accent of indeterminate origin. The world needs heroes.
Now the question remains: How best to accomplish your goal?
Unfortunately, your job will not be easy. (Try not to be loud or awkward when performing your job, lest someone come to your supervisor—who I guess is me, now—and get you fired while you are getting this guy fired.)
The biggest obstacle is that this man sounds like an exemplary employee. Not only does he appear to be quite courteous; he even slogs his way through the tiresome charity promotion routine that most employees probably don't bother with unless their manager is around. Yikes, get this guy fired.
Your first move should be low-key. Ask to speak to the manager. Maybe take him out for drinks. Wine him and dine him. At the end of the night, as you're loading him into a cab, grab him by the lapel, yank his face right up to yours, look him in the eye and whisper, stone cold sober (you were faking being drunk the whole time!) "My boyfriend and I will NOT be returning for $9 sandwiches unless you fire that weirdo."
If that doesn't work, apply for a job at Corner Bakery. After you've been there about a month, have your boyfriend make a phone call to corporate and report that the employee tried to sell him child pornography. When the employee protests, you step forward as a witness. Use your 15% employee discount on a celebratory dessert.
If both of these measures fail, simply burn down the Corner Bakery. Fire is cleansing. When a new one rises from the ashes like a phoenix, the staff will have probably turned over.
No longer will you be forced to choose between savoring the culinary brilliance of the chefs at Corner Bakery and ordering food from a person who doesn't speak too loudly.
I pray your restless spirit finds the peace it seeks.
Submit your "Thatz Not Okay" questions here. Photo via Photo via Steve Snowden/Shutterstock