Birds, Bats, and… Paula Abdul?

Posted on April 14, 2011


On weekends away with friends, Juan and I always face the same dilemma: I want to relax, have interesting conversations, go to bed at a reasonable hour, rest fully, and wake up early the next morning so I can aprovechar del día.  Juan, however, likes to dance to loud techno music, stay up all night bonding with friends, and greet the sunrise before hopping in bed.  This led a friend to recently make the joking but entirely on-the-spot remark that I’m a periquita who has married a murciélago.  Hold that thought.

Now, you really have to watch this music video:

Okay, we’ve all heard Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” … but HOW have I gone so long without seeing this video!?!  I mean, really, a rapping cat?  Everything about it is so right.

But 80’s hair-dos and MC Skat Cat and tap dancing (didjoo catch that right at the end?) aside, how perfect are the lyrics?  I, for one, totally relate.  Exhibit A of the she said / he said back and forth: “I go to bed early / I party all night” – check!  That’s Juan and me to a T.  How about: “I like it quiet / I love to shout” – check!  “I don’t like cigarettes / and I love to smoke” – double check.  Oh yeah, and: “she likes it neat / and he makes a mess” – check, but al revés.

Now by no means do we want to make a simplistic generalization about all gringas and latinos being opposites that were attracted.  Couples of all shapes and sizes have their similarities and their differences.  But isn’t it true that when a problem or disagreement with our spouse is irking us, we suddenly label it a difference?  Instead of exhibiting comprehension and tolerance, we dichotomize the issue and consequently exacerbate the space between us.  Maybe in those times this silly little song can be a humorous reminder that if I take two steps forward, and you take two steps back, we can meet in the middle again.  In a sense, the song is an ode to that common ground where we remember our similarities, our attractions, the reasons we came together in the first place.  Let’s not worry about patching up every single difference, but just try to get along because really we DO match.

This is an especially important reminder for those who are in a relationship that some people label as doomed to fail.  At a law firm where I used to work, it just so happened that of various gringas/os who were married to latino/as, all of them got divorced.  Of course the situation were varied and unique.  Nonetheless, the jokes started rolling about why to never marry a latino.  Unfair, right?  Unfortunately, a lot of people have the same misconception that a gringa-latino relationship just isn’t going to work.  Sure, we’ve all heard horror stories about relationships gone amuck.  But there are also plenty of success stories.  And we’re here to make more of them.  So let’s, like Paula Abdul and her weird cat-lover-dude, prove the naysayers wrong by showing them that “when we get together / it just all works out.”

… As for me and Juan, it’s probably true that I’ll always be a day-loving birdie and he’ll always be a creature of the night.  But most tendencies have a way of mellowing out over time, eventually finding a balance.  And it’s true that when we come together “we have nothin but fun.”  In the time we share, we both fly.

Posted in: Relationships