I went to a birthday party tonight. I had only met the birthday girl once before, but we have a lot of mutual friends (I almost wrote "friends in common", god help me), so they invited me. Alexandre's out of town for school stuff, so I went without him.
The birthday girl turned 30, but... I felt like an ambassador from the US... visiting 12 year olds. I mean, there were a handful of nice, friendly people at the party, but there were some real... winners.
Like the guy who shouted "SPEAKEE ENGLISHEEE?" every time I walked by his table. Or the other guy who kept saying "You can only come to the next party if you bring American amigas!" And just the people changing the subject in general back to the fact that I'm American in all of my conversations. Like... I know I have an accent. And I know they're curious. But after I tell them that I've lived here for over 2 years, and when I'm keeping up with their conversations just fine, you think they'd realize that we have other things in common. After hearing the same jokes and comments so many times (partly because of the dumb factor and partly because drunk people repeat themselves), I want to just say, "GET OVER IT!"
But the highlight of the night was definitely the drunk obnoxious birthday girl who came up to my table of friends and shouted, "DANI! Dani from the United States of North America! Why are you here?! You just came here to steal the good Brazilian guys!"
Ha. Hilarious. We were all talking at the moment when she came up shouting, so I just ignored her and went back to the conversation.
About 10 minutes later, I walked over to the fridge to get some soda. The birthday girl cornered me at the fridge and said again, "You just steal good Brazilian guys!" (Not really sure why she keeps saying I steal "guys", in the plural.) But this time, I said "yup, and I stole a really good one!" So then she said something like, "You should be embarrassed!" And I said, "Nope! Not embarrassed at all! Really happy, actually!" Then I finished pouring my Coke and went back to the table.
A little while later, the birthday girl came back to the table AGAIN and sat down next to a friendly enough girl that I just met at the party. (At the table was me, my best Brazilian friend Carol, her very nice boyfriend, and another friend of ours. Plus this new girl that we had just met.) The birthday girl pointed to me and then said to the new girl (in a loud voice for everyone to hear), "That's Dani. She steals good Brazilian men!"
"Wow. The third time," I said, not hiding my annoyance. Luckily, my buddies pitched in to help.
"Who's stealing who?" They asked sarcastically. "Alexandre stole a really good American!"
"I think you guys are a beautiful couple, Danielle."
Even Carol's boyfriend helped out. "Alexandre is great! And the best part? He's a Corinthians fan!" (that's a soccer team here, if you're out of the loop). This comment was particularly helpful because it got a rise out of all the men within earshot and successfully changed the subject.
The girl was so drunk that I'm not sure if she even held her attention long enough to realize that they were disagreeing with her, but I appreciated their effort and inclusion. It was a nice moment of humanity. After the birthday girl moved on to another table, my friends said things like, "Don't mind her, she's just drunk. She's usually very nice." and "She was just joking, viu?"
I'm sorry, but I don't think that calling something a joke gives anyone free reign to be totally rude and insulting. Neither does being drunk. I pretended to be tired and went home pretty soon after all that.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that the birthday girl was feeling pretty shitty because she realized that she's 30, still single, and kind of looks like a rabbit.
When things like this happen, I have a bad habit of remembering all similar events (even though they're relatively rare in relation to how many people I've ever talked to in this country). Like one of Alexandre's classmates, who "joked" with me that Alexandre was only with me for the green card. And another one of the hospital people who, upon seeing me at a party with Alexandre about a year and a half after my moving here, said, "oh, you're still here?"
Like... Ok. I know I'm sensitive. I know I take things too personally sometimes. But those comments are rude, right? There are times where I really just feel like I'm not taken seriously, or where people are so messed up with their own problems and I'm an easy scapegoat. I know it's more of the latter, but it's still sucky, and it gets old.
Alexandre says not to worry about it, that our real friends respect me and take me seriously. That's true, but I don't see why someone who isn't a "friend" must be an enemy by default.
I know, I know. Not everyone is bad. I'm just having one of those nights, and I'm ready for Alexandre to come home tomorrow.