My friend, Robin, and I are sitting at Crepevine in Rockridge. She says she doesn’t know Oakland, but she sure has her Ph.D in Rockridge. She has, like, seventeen different favorite cafes there. One of them is NOT Bica. But her reasoning is solid. “It’s not really homey. I don’t really like working there.” She’s right. If the owner hadn’t lived in Cascais and presumably passed my great-grandparents’ farm on the way to Lisbon every time he went into the city, I’d probably never look twice at their rickety tables. But he did, so I love Bica fervently. And I’m as ass-shocked to find out who is Filipino as she is to find out who in Hollywood is Portuguese.
“No way! Rob. Frickin. Schneider!?”
“Yeah- his mom is.”
“I thought he was like all Jewish.” I’m not an airhead!
“He is, it’s that stereotype.”
And she shakes her head shamefully. I have a feeling she’s BEEN that stereotype. But I have no idea what it is.
“Jewish guy-Asian woman!”
“That’s a stereotype?”
“Um… yeah, don’t you always see that?” “Mmmmm…. NO?”
I had no idea that as I seem to attract the infantile and pathetic males of the Jewish community to myself like a moth to a flame (if you count three or four in fifteen years a flame, but those are basically my only boyfriends), I’d have even better luck if I were Asian as well. And not only that, as a white Catholic who was once blonde, I have much more interesting competition.
Well, accidental competition, because I never fall into that hole on purpose. But come on, it sounds awful to say it, but as Europeans, have men really gotten over the fascination with human female vestibules of Chinoiserie in the last 160 years? Judging from Robin’s story, hell to the no! So we can all acknowledge that Asian girl cool beats White girl cool any day. Plus if you are Filipina, you already have Catholic in the bag.
“Lou Diamond Philips is Filipino.” *
“Tom Hanks is Portuguese.”
“No way, he’s from right over here!” Yes, he is from Oakland. Not that this has fixed the potholes in the streets!
“And Jada Pinkett Smith.”
“But Jada Pinkett Smith is black!?” She says, incredulous.
“Well, a LOT of Portuguese are half.”
“Phoebe Cates.” Filipina.
“James Franco.” Portuguese.
“Well, he’s only part. And Katy Perry. But I don’t like to wave that one about.”
“Well, she’s also a whore.”
“Yeah, she’s a bit of a puta.”
“Puta? ” And she laughs. “I think that’s a Filipino word. My mom used to say……” And she says something that sounds like “Putain de merde” in French said by a very angry Filipina who is sneezing. “That means something like ‘goddamn it.'”
Yep. The bad words are always the same.
“A lot of Perrys are really Perreiras. Like Joe Perry from Aerosmith and that dude from Journey.”
“What dude from Journey?”
“The one who got kicked out and was replaced by a Filipino.”
And the circle is complete.
* Some of these Filipinos may have been gleaned from Wikipedia because I was too busy outing Katy Perry as a puta to remember who she said was Filipino. Except for Rob Schneider. She definitely said him! Maybe next time I’ll shut my mouth and actually listen.