“You know, you’re pretty cool for a wetback.”
  • “You know, you’re pretty cool for a wetback.”

Post Title: Piñatas and S&M

Post Date: March 16, 2012

I may not speak Spanish, but I’m fluent in having a good time. My friend gave me a discretionary warning when he asked if I wanted to go to his niece’s birthday party.

“You’re going to be the only white person there,” he said. “I can’t be held responsible for what they say,” he said. “My sisters might be mean to you,” he said.

“Whatever… Will there be a mariachi band?”

“No,” he said.


I had always wanted to go to a real Mexican party. White people think that if you mash some avocado into a bowl, throw out some flour tortillas and drink margaritas, it’s a fiesta. I didn’t see any of these things on Saturday.

There were children everywhere, running around the inflatable jump-house in the backyard, which kept the little maniacs occupied while the adults did what we do best. I’ve never been intimidated by a set of balls holding a Pacifico, so there was no need to slow my buzz.

The highlight of the evening was the piñata spectacle, something I thought might have been too cliché for a real Mexican Party, but wasn’t. After the kids destroyed the piñatas and collected all the candy from the grass, it was time to test my white girl palate on the Mexican treats. Everyone stared, curious, while they picked out random candies for me to try, candies that didn’t even taste like candy because they were spicy and savory. Everyone laughed at the face I made trying to push chili paste out of a neon tube and onto my tongue.

My friend brought out a huge bottle of Tequila and set it on the table… Next thing you know the uncles are buzzin’ hard, and I’m having deep conversations about the economy with the borracho next to me.

“You know, you’re pretty cool for a wetback. It’s cool that you’re so open,” one uncle said to me.


Clearly I had them all fooled by my freshly colored blond hair. I had come to party. I was down for anything they could dish – minus the pozole, that had all kinds of animal parts in it. But as far as they were concerned, I was a wetback, and they had no problem letting me know it.

I guess all that laughter got me tense, because I made an appointment the following Monday for a Chinese massage. Everyone knows that Eastern medical practices are far superior to their Western counterpart. They’re more natural and seem more at peace with the earth or whatever. Plus their culture is, like, super old. So, I signed up for an hour with the oldest guy in the spa; he would surely be the best.

I figured it would go down similar to what I had seen on TV or in movies: calming candles, relaxing music, and not a care in the world. But instead, this old man was rubbing my body with cold lotions. I was fighting an anxiety attack over why the blanket was pulled so far down my ass. Why is so much attention being paid to my buttocks? Is that where I carry stress?

At one point it stopped being a massage and started to feel more like an S&M experience. He was hitting me, and grinding my shoulders so aggressively that I thought for sure I would look like I had been assaulted. So much for Chinese medicine.

I almost lost my shit when he asked me to turn over. Am I supposed to be relaxing? As he rubbed my inner thighs, I couldn’t help but feel totally molested. I could feel the blanket slip further and further down my chest as he worked. Holy shit. This is not happening right now. Millimeters away from a nip-slip, it was over. I felt like smoking a cigarette.

We all carry assumptions about people that externally seem to come from a place dissimilar to our own. But it fascinates me how easy it is to break through those assumptions when you just sit down and talk to people, drink a beer, or have them rub strange elixirs all over your naked body.

As “open” as I am, I still thought there would be a mariachi band at the party.

I will never get a Chinese massage again.

[Edited for length.]

More from SDReader


inspiredbyem June 8, 2012 @ 11:15 a.m.

Love this story! So excited to see my girl Whitney writing for the San Diego Reader! Keep it up, keep it classy. You're wild.


JangleboneJones June 8, 2012 @ 3:06 p.m.

Stylish, gritty, insightful and witty,
i love this and look, we're from the same city! ^__^


Triggamike June 8, 2012 @ 11 p.m.

Great article, I too am a wetback, a Korean wetback. Btw I have never been to El Cajon. I'm sure they have a mariachi and flautas.


techlisa June 9, 2012 @ 11:38 a.m.

You always crack me up... love your blog and your stories always have me laugh out loud for real! Keep up the good work! XXOO


tevanriedel June 11, 2012 @ 2:26 p.m.

Your writing is some of the best I have read in years! Thank you for the visuals :). I look foward to seeing more.


rachelbates June 12, 2012 @ 7:50 p.m.

you never surprise me when it comes to your encounters with those in other cultures. either youre a eating penis in a sandwich or being sexually assaulted by the chinese. either way, love your story, cant wait for the next


Deej June 12, 2012 @ 9:43 p.m.

This article started out fun and left me confused. It's fine that they want to call you a "wet back", because You "just recently bleached your hair blonde ". Pffffffft...Annoying, and Really! You didn't realize they were making "Fun" with You.???

But, Pozole is NOT made with "all kinds of animal parts" - generally it is a savory broth of pork shank/chicken bone in (bones to intensify flavor) and Then Hominy (dried corn kernals) some chili & comino ect......and wonderful fresh toppings such as cabbage, cilantro, oregano, radishes...You missed out and are misleading. Also, your "massage" - I cry. As You are "clueless"...Just go to some place that "fakes" it (read Spa Envy/ Mall) whilst You keep your sheet on. Buttocks, breasts are all "muscle tissue"...He wasn't trying to "molest" you, but get to the points of aggravation you obviously have NO clue about that are taking place in your body. To refer it as an "S & M" experience, sounds like you got a "deep tissue" and are too much of a "Princess Wet Back Wanna be"... Go to "Old Town Mexican cafe'" - as they struggle along for Your mariachi band.



Whitney Butler June 18, 2012 @ 6:51 p.m.

I really appreciate the critical analysis here, but my use of dramatic irony has sadly been overlooked. I'm not saying that I'm a master of this literary device, but I was merely trying to create tension between myself "the racist" and two experiences that by all accounts most racists don't often have. I'm making fun of myself Deej, and if I didn't make that clear enough in this post, I will do my very best to be more racist next time so that we don't have another misunderstanding......

LOL I'm sorry. This is too much. I feel really bad. Of course I don't want people to think that I'm racist- well, I don't really care, because I am so, NOT! But calling me a "...princess wetback wannabe" (why is that in quotes? who is saying it?) is just too delightful. You just inspired a whole new blog post Deej.

For that, I thank you.


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!