I’m going to be blunt with you: This article is about hatred. It is about vengeance, and it is about spite. It is about how I have been wronged, and it is about how I plan to right those wrongs. More than anything, it is about Europeans.
I will admit to you that, when I began this column six years ago, I was naïve and prepubescent. I didn’t know much about this world, and the content of my columns reflected this. But since my first column was published in 1998, I have learned a lot. I’ve traveled the world, I’ve encountered every type of situation imaginable, and I’ve turned the relatively simple act of making fun of my roommate for being a virgin into an art form — a craft so precise it elicits responses on the News’ Web site along the lines of “Virgin roommates? Don’t you have any respect for people’s privacy?”
No, Anonymous, I don’t. Now why don’t you tell me your name so I can mail a complementary Book of Mormon to your address that I find online.
But I digress. The point is that, since I began writing, I have matured substantially. My first column was, to be sure, a pure manifestation of the open book that was my heart. In it, I longed for true love with a fair, European maiden, since marrying a European would allow me to get paid in Euros. As I said, “At the time of writing, the Euro stands at a robust €1.44 per dollar — a nearly 50 percent increase over its initial offering in 1999 — and economists expect it will strengthen even more against the dollar in the coming years. This means, of course, that my love will strengthen, too. Speaking frankly, who wouldn’t want to enter into a relationship in which love, barring any unexpected financial crisis in Europe, is bound to increase significantly?”
Clearly, I did not have much foresight. With Europe deeply entrenched in financial ruin and the dollar now stronger than it has been in recent memory, I feel cheated. Europe led me on, and now it’s breaking my heart with its single monetary policy and inability to bail out anemic member economies.
But my love affair with the Euro was too intense to just kick to the curb because of one financial crisis. I knew, deep down, that I owed it to myself to give my search for a European maiden one last chance, and for this reason, I decided to return to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the city where I wrote my Euro-love column, and the city that’s perpetually overrun with Europeans. I would stay in a hostel, because that’s what Europeans would do. I would wear man-capris, because that’s what Europeans would do. And I would tend to my emaciated, unathletic form with a diet of cigarettes and white bread, because that’s what Europeans — in their constant quest to be unable to physically defend themselves from hostile invaders — would do.
And so, over spring break, I journeyed back to Rio de Janeiro. I took an overnight flight, arriving at my hostel just after noon. The hostel was run by a British couple and was called The Mango Tree, which means “There’s no fucking way I’m going to learn Portuguese” in British English. It was a decently nice place, and featured everything Europeans love: overcrowding, and a system of public showers and bathrooms, where one individual’s hygiene and health problems could become everyone’s.
As I walked into my room, I saw two Spaniards spooning on the bottom bunk of the bed where I would be sleeping. I thought it weird that a couple of Spaniards would be napping at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, until I realized they were taking their siesta, which is the ritual afternoon nap that prevents Spain from realizing its full economic potential. While moving through the room, I accidentally woke the male half of the amorphous heap of tanned skin and black hair.
“Hello,” he said to me with a lisp as he grabbed his sleeping girlfriend’s ass from behind.
“¡Ay!” she retorted instinctively, despite being asleep. She then briefly moved her feet as though she were dancing the flamenco, and the two lovers nestled back into their bunk.
“Man, Spaniards are such a sexy people,” I thought to myself as I climbed into the top bunk of their bed. “Too bad they can’t turn sex into a business that would let them reach their full economic potential.”
At that point, however, I saw a Dutch girl and realized that someone had beaten them to it. I would also soon realize that a top bunk is not far enough away from a bottom bunk not to hear Spaniards on a bottom bunk making out.
After a brief nap in the love nest, I emerged to find a group of Europeans in the hostel’s common room, drinking a few beers before heading out for the night. I grabbed a beer, then walked over to a Brit.
“What’s up, mate?” he asked me.
“Oh cool,” I thought to myself. “This is what mating is like. I should tell my roommate.”
I responded out loud, “Not much. Just trying to meet Europeans. That’s why I came to Brazil.”
“Yeah, me too,” he responded. “But if you really want a good fuck, you should try out the Brazilians.”
“Wow,” I thought to myself, “I’m not going to do that.” But before I could make the comment that a millennium of inbreeding hadn’t been kind to the British people, he continued:
“All you have to do to get laid here is ask a girl, ‘Vo-say tame na-mor-ah-do?’ That means, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ And if they say no, you get laid.”
Despite being fairly sure that was not how getting laid worked, I responded, “Well, with your Portuguese skills and all that gel in your hair, there’s no way you’re not getting laid tonight!” I smiled and hit him on the back, as men are wont to do when riffing about sex. But he didn’t think my joke was funny, perhaps because it wasn’t a joke.
“You know what?” he asked, though I would soon discover it was a rhetorical question. “You Americans are all the same. All you like to do is get fat, and then you invade a country. Just a bunch of assholes, as far as I’m concerned.”
At that point, a Frenchman joined in and agreed in flawless, American English, “Yeah, you’re just a dirty imperialist who’s hell-bent on systematically fucking over other countries. Why don’t you just leave the rest of the world alone?” I considered pointing out the irony that a Frenchman was calling me an imperialist and telling me to leave the world alone, but I instead resorted to the tried and true tactic of making fun of his man-capris and calling him a douchebag.
But it was then, in the common room of The Mango Tree, that my greatest fear was confirmed. At that moment — while I was staring incredulously at a man’s capris while he postured his masculinity — I realized that I could never marry a European. Sure, Spaniards are absurdly sexy, and sure, Brits are absurdly good at rioting after soccer games, but that’s simply not enough. The Euro may return to its eminent place atop all other currencies, but I simply don’t care. No exchange rate, no matter how excellent, could ever force me to spend another night at that hostel. In fact, the joke was on both Europe and me — on me, for being ignorant about what I truly wanted, and on Europe, for containing more capris per capita than a junior high dance. And now that the issue is settled, all that’s left to do is have a hearty laugh about the whole thing, like I did with that British guy.