Papaya Daze

Rather than making you all feel bad that you are not in sunny Puerto Vallarta sipping margaritas by my side, I’ll make you feel bad that you are not in sunny Puerto Vallarta while everyone else sips Coronas and margaritas while preggo you enjoys your bottled water and stealing sips off your kids’ cherry lemonade. Life is hard.

I have been to Puerto Vallarta twice before, but both were a very long time ago. The first was in 1990 for my high school graduation party. As you can imagine, that was pure debauchery, which I don’t remember very well except for vague memories of waking up in only my bathing suit bottoms on the bathroom floor (apparently, I thought swimming at 3 am after a night of partying was a good idea. Luckily, my stomach didn’t feel the same). The second time was for a college friend’s wedding in 2001, but that was almost the same as the high school grad trip except for the fact that I was a little more mature so I didn’t get quite as dumb-ass drunk.

So maybe that explains why I don’t remember PV being such a gay mecca. I have seen more banana hammocks in two days than my entire time backpacking through Europe. The fact that PV had become a gay destination gradually dawned on us as we approached the main beach. We could hear the techno thumping a mile away. As we started noticing that the party scene was mainly made up of well-oiled, hard-bodied men trying to strike their best poses in their itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny speedos, a Mexican man trying to sell us on a booze cruise asked us as we walked by:

“Are you part of the family?”

Me, my husband and my two sisters looked at each other. What did he mean, exactly? We were party of a family, but were we part of the family?

“What family are you talking about?” I asked him.

“The gay family,” he said, a note of impatience in his voice, as if I should have known what he was talking about.

Oh, I thought, ‘family’ must be a code word for ‘gay,’ kind of like when people ask “Do you party?” they mean more than just drink alcohol.

“No, no, we’re not part of that family,” I told the man. But he was not so sure.

“But she has a butterfly tattoo on her back,” he said, pointing to my sister Julie.

“A butterfly tattoo? Why does that mean she’s gay?

“Some people might think that’s a sign she’s papaya,” he said.

Papaya? Apparently, an orange fruit is another code word for ‘family.’ I was learning more code words that a double agent at the CIA.

As we walked home, Siig got depressed that no man was even batting so much as an eyelash at him. “I ain’t got it no more,” he said. “I’m old.” 

To make it up to him, I bought him a mango-on-a-stick that some vendors were selling on a beach. “It ain’t papaya, but it will do,” I said. “But you’re still forbidden from ever wearing a speedo.”


4 thoughts on “Papaya Daze

  1. This reminds me of the LAST family vacation I went on with my parents. It was a road trip through New England. At one point we stayed in a B&B on Cape Cod. It didn’t take long to realize that the Griswolds had taken a wrong turn and ended up in Provincetown, which was then (don’t know about now) a big gay resort town. Our rooms were furnished with gay porn magazines and down the hall was a staircase leading to a “very special” room. The moment when I broke the news to my parents: Priceless.
    Enjoy your vacation.

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