Is it May again? Ugh, it’s May. Okay, let’s talk for un momento, amigos. I’ve been putting off this conversation for a while now, partly because it’s kind of awkward and I don’t want you to think I don’t appreciate your company, but mostly because I’ve been in the back of your closet for the last 11 months and 30 days, buried under ski boots and that giant inflatable Jose Cuervo bottle you stole from the bar last year. I could barely breathe, let alone talk.
Here goes: I’d really rather not go with you to the bar—or Seattle’s ironically Mexican-themed ¡Fiesta 5K Olé!, or your buddy’s annual Bandolier of Burritos Bash—on Cinco de Mayo. It sounds counterintuitive, I know: Those are all ways you’ve created to celebrate the day when Mexicans won a decisive but short-lived victory over French colonialists. And, well, I’m a sombrero. But like Taco Bell and good judgment, some things just don’t go together.
Thing is, I’m just not really one for parties. (Don’t even bring up the Mexican hat dance; that’s like assuming Shamu loves doing tricks because she lives at SeaWorld.) I come from a long line of humble, hardworking headwear, more comfortable creating shade for people toiling in the sun than listening to you throw shade at your friend Amanda because her clogs “don’t look Mexican enough” for the fiesta. (Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I talked to your sarape, and she’d like to sit this one out too.)
Believe me, I’ve tried to have fun with you. And I’ll admit the occasional shindig is okay for, like, the first 15 minutes. But sooner or later one (or all) of these things happens:
1. Someone grabs me off your head and suddenly I’m being passed around the room, from one rando to the next, which is really disconcerting when you aren’t physically capable of giving consent.
2. Your friends pour liquor into my brim and try to take shots from me, even though that shit leaks everywhere because, hello, I’m made from straw.
3. You start smacking me into walls and doorways because you’re drunk.
4. Someone throws up in me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not easy being a sombrero. I see you wear your other hats to do regular, everyday stuff like going to the gym or getting coffee—even that porkpie thing, which, come on, bro—and it makes me think I’m just a prop. That only reinforces the feelings of shame I’ve struggled with since starting my life in a cheap souvenir shop, hanging between mass-produced maracas and those plastic, fluorescent-colored yard glasses.
So look, this year when your friends are wearing big fake mustaches and shooting finger guns in the air and screeching ¡Ándale! as they stumble down the street, leave me out of it, okay?
Oh, and I shouldn’t even have to say this, but the whole “appropriating another culture for one night and reducing an entire country to a cheap stereotype you once saw in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, only to go back to completely ignoring the positive contributions that culture has made to society once you sober up, and then pulling that No one complains when people dress up like leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day garbage when someone calls you out on your insensitive BS” is not a good look. Even I know that, and I’m just a hat.
Happy Cinco de Mayo,