Just like Lady Gaga, I had my very own Alejandro.
There was no virginity checkpoint at the front door on my first day of high school. And better yet, a week later, I bumped into Rob – after some light stalking – and he pretended like he didn’t know me at all.
So much for my senior boyfriend. I was heartbroken… that he wouldn’t pave my road to popularity.
I was invisible, which was a step up from being bullied. I didn’t realize I’d be the new kid for the 12th time in my life and that most of these kids went to school together since Kindergarten.
At first, I was annoyed that Marie got a variance to Reno High because I thought she’d cramp my style, but now I was relieved to at least have one friend. And then we made two friends in Math class – Asian sisters who were as sweet as could be – so now I had three friends.
Three very nerdy friends.
We ate lunch in the cafeteria everyday, even though we were allowed to go off campus.
After about a month of whining, I finally coerced Marie to go off-campus for lunch. As we rounded the corner of Great Western Bank, I spied a cute Filipino guy wearing crazy pants, a red bandana and Oakley’s sitting all alone on what most definitely was the largest boombox in the great state of Nevada.
And it was playing It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, which I must admit, was a pretty dope ass song.
I was wearing the tightest mini skirt I owned. I glanced back to confirm what I already knew – Alejandro was totally checking out my butt. I didn’t know his name yet, but I could tell that he wanted to scam with me and that’s all that mattered.
On our way back to school, we walked past the bank again and he was still there, in the same position and playing the same exact song.
I assumed it was a particularly long song.
I devoted the rest of that week to stalking. I had to find out more about my soon-to-be-new-man.
This guy was methodical:
- Everyday before and after school, and at lunch, he’d perch himself atop his ginormous ghetto blaster and play It Takes Two. It was never a different song. Once it ended, he rewound the tape and played it again.
- At 4pm, he’d lift his boombox up onto his shoulder, which was a feat in itself since it was so high that his arm had to be totally straight to reach the top without dropping it.
- He’d walk to the Burger King on by the railroad tracks, tagging various walls and street signs along the way.
- He’d order two Whoppers with no onions and extra ketchup and an extra large coke. He always took it “to go” and didn’t eat it until he got home, however, he did sip on the drink.
- He’d walk along the railroad tracks from the Burger King all the way to the trailer park where he lived.
He was always alone. Maybe it was because he only played one song on his boombox.
After a week of stalking and eye-fucking, he still hadn’t even said “hi.” I began to realize he probably didn’t have any friends because he was horribly shy.
It was my duty to save him from his loneliness. His fortress of solitude. I would be the light in his dark life. He’d tell me things he never told anyone, like how his parents died in a mining accident just after he was born and that his mother’s health was failing.
Now I just had to work up enough nerve to speak to him.
The lunch bell rang on Monday and my heart leapt into my throat. I did what every nervous teenage girl did to calm the fuck down in 1987 – I pulled out my tin of strawberry Lip Lickers and clicked it open and closed approximately 28,000 times.
I approached the bank, alone this time.
There he was, in his same exact spot, playing the same exact song.
I walked toward him, but my knees betrayed me. They were shaking so hard that I was sure an astronaut could see them from space, so I made a beeline for the curb and ended up sitting awkwardly about 15 feet away from him.
He looked over at me and nodded. I smiled at him. It was now or never.
“I like that song,” I shouted.
He nodded in agreement. He was a man of few words. Mysterious. Damn, I had to have him.
“You a freshman?”
How the fuck did he know that? Was it that obvious?
“Yes,” I said without shame.
“I’m a junior.”
Then I heard the lyric: “Take it off the rack, if it’s wack put it back / I like the Whopper, fuck the Big Mac”
Oh. My. God. This guy didn’t just like this song, he lived it!
Then he picked up his boombox, put it on his shoulder and started singing along, but it was rap, so I guess he was rapping along as he walked toward me. It may have been one if the most awkward moments in my short life, I mean, what do you do when someone stands in front of you rapping along to It Takes Two?
Then, when it couldn’t get any weirder, he held out his hand to me as the chorus played.
“It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it outta sight / Hit it!”
We held hands all the way back to school, neither of us saying a word. Once we got to the front door, he lowered his boombox and hit stop on the tape player.
“I be chillin’ at BK by the tracks 4:30 if you wanna.”
And with that, he was gone. If I wanna…what? Make out? Get married? Exchange pot brownie recipes?
Nevertheless, I was filled with excitement. He liked me. We held hands. I was going to keep our love a secret until we were officially “going with” each other because I wasn’t quite sure if he was the coolest guy on earth or a major dork.
I got to Burger King way too early, so I got a Whopper with no onions and extra ketchup and an extra large coke so my body would be nourished with the same stuff of his.
I finished the rest of my meal just as he walked in. He ordered his usual and then noticed me sitting there.
And with that, he grabbed his Whoppers and we walked up the railroad tracks toward his trailer park, It Takes Two blasting all the while.
“Aren’t you going to eat your food?” This was a tactic I frequently utilized – pretending like I didn’t already know every last detail about the Neanderthal I was desperately needing to validate my worthiness.
“I hate BK. It’s for my mom.”
Hmmm. Curve ball. Perhaps the song was not, indeed, his creed.
“I have to be home by 7,” I lied because I really wanted to get to the good part before walking a fucking mile to his trailer. He put the boombox down and it automatically turned into a loveseat. The song was now drilling into my cortex, especially the “yeah/woo” part that repeated over and over and over the entire duration of the song, like hey Rob Base, not even a bridge reprieve? Come on.
He then turned down the music enough to still be annoying, but able to speak to and hear each other.
“I spin records.”
“Cool. Can I watch you sometime?”
“Yeah, I don’t got any gigs yet.”
Uh-oh. I could tolerate a lot of male stupidness, but bad grammar was a deal breaker. I started to reevaluate our wedding colors.
“I got two turntables.”
Again with the improper usage of “got.” I was done. Just as I started to plan my escape, he leaned in like he was going to devour me. His huge lips parted and his ginormous mouth opened wider and wider as it moved in for the kill.
I’d made out enough to know that that kissing shouldn’t involve the nose, and especially not the cheek or lower eye area. All of these facial regions were slurped upon in a most upsetting way. For a moment I actually couldn’t breathe and feared my destiny was to die at the lips of a Filipino man with bad grammar.
I couldn’t figure out a way to leave gracefully, so we made out for another two excruciating hours. At the end of the ordeal, I literally ran away, telling him I had to catch a bus. A few seconds into my stride, he yelled to me.
“Hey freshman! What’s your name?”
I turned around, still jogging, feeling safer the further I got away from those big ass lips.
Yes, I’m white and yes, Maria was the only name that popped in my head.
“Alejandro’s my name, scratching records are my game!”
I couldn’t stand it any longer. It was one thing to have my face sucked, but I just couldn’t withstand his horrible grammar.
“Alejandro, scratching is singular therefore the correct verb is ‘is,’ not ‘are.’”
And then I ran. I ran so far away. I just ran. I ran all night and day.
And the only things chapped longer than my ass were my lips and nose. For weeks my face bore the reminder of Alejandro. Alejandro.
Now that I think about it, perhaps Lady Gaga and I did have the same Alejandro…
“Don’t call my name / Alejandro”
(because you think my name’s Maria)
“I’m not your babe / Ale-Alejandro”
(because you tried to eat my face)
“Don’t wanna kiss / Alejandro”
(because my face will probably be scarred for life now, you douche)
“Just smoke my cigarette and hush”
“Don’t call my name / Ale-Alejandro”
(please, please, please)