It didn’t bother me one bit that he was in his underwear; only the boxer fly between me and his infamous, hyperactive, incorrigible penis. Having heard so many of his escapades, I felt like I had already seen him naked, stitching together in my imagination the graphic details in his stories. I had mentioned to him that I really liked his suit. It was dark blue with brown pinstripes. He completed the ensemble with a white button down dress shirt and a solid red tie. He thought I wanted the suit, when all I really wanted was for him to know that he looked good in it. Now he was proudly handing it to me on a hanger. Looking at his hairy, disproportionately skinny legs, I saw why my family thought of him as being inherently good. He would give you the clothes off his back. That’s the kind of guy my uncle Dario was. When it came to you, he came in second. That’s why he was a notoriously good lover. He was generous. Ladies loved him. His family loved him. And he loved them all. I counted 15 visible hearts patterned on his boxers, and wondered if the one in his chest was stronger than all of those combined.
“A man needs to be like a dog,” Uncle Dario once told me.
According to him, a man should have sex with any woman he can get his hands on. As practice. It was what the Lord commanded. As men, we needed to keep our wives satisfied. Even as a child of 12, he felt that it was important for me to know that. In his mind, he was the best example of this. He prided himself on being a ravenous lover and his topics of conversation always fell on the saucier side. They were usually followed by his wife lightly smacking his arm with a dissuading “Oh, you.” Her presence did little to deter his libido.
“You know, Amado’s wife is quite the knock out,” Uncle Dario said. He liked the fact that she was big and robust. In heels, she was almost twice his size. The prospect of facing a wall of legs piqued his curiosity. What he wouldn’t do to that amount of woman.
“If only Amado was a damn cuckold,” he murmured as Amado and his gigantic wife made their way from their car to a party Uncle Dario was hosting in the park. Amado and my uncle shared similar physical characteristics. They were both short, stocky and with a perfectly round belly that protruded at their sternum and bulged slightly over their belt buckle. Their upper lips were nonexistent, dense with mustache hair. Uncle Dario appreciated a woman who enjoyed the mild tickling of neatly trimmed love-whiskers. His mustache was bigger than Amado’s. This gave him a sense of pride, as if this fact made him manlier than his friend.
Uncle Dario’s wife seemed unfazed by her husband’s sensual comments. There was something going on behind closed doors that the rest of us weren’t privy to. Maybe it was her way of occasionally loosening the leash and allowing her husband to sniff at another man’s marked territory. My uncle’s flirtation with extramarital romancing was on her terms, therefore she didn’t feel threatened by it.
My uncle’s feelings for Amado’s wife went beyond the blinding delusions of lust. They borderlined the condition that all men with diminutive proportions seem to contract at one point or another. The desire to conquer large masses of stuff. Whether it be land or a woman’s body. As Amado and Nancy approached Uncle Dario, I could picture Nancy extending her hand towards my uncle and he extending his while holding his cock in it. Nancy’s hands were thick, her fingers adorned with gold rings set with large rubies and emeralds. To have such a large, strong grip constrict its coils around his manhood was akin to the snake of Eden slithering up and down the Tree. Sin from the source. Tasting the sweetness of the forbidden. Allowing its poison to disintegrate God’s Commandments. All my uncle wanted was five minutes with her. That would be all he needed.
Uncle Dario was like a father to me, my model of what a man should be. He was always well-dressed, even in old pictures of his youth, taken in the early 1970s. In them he wore his hair long, to his shoulders, with a much thinner mustache under his nose. He liked to be well dressed because he liked to be complemented. It wasn’t necessarily vanity. It was simply a way of meeting chicks. A residual mode of living from back in the day when he was young. Any mention of women and Uncle Dario’s curiosity was soon indulged. For my 13th birthday, my mother posed the idea of renting a bounce house, and filling it with scantily-clad teenage girls, so that they could jump with me in all of their careless nubile suppleness. In other words, her version of what she thought my ultimate fantasy would be. Uncle Dario overheard this conversation and posed that for his 54th birthday, he wanted my mother to leave out the bounce house altogether, and instead have the teenage girls bounce on him.
When Amado and Nancy finally reached my uncle, Amado outstretched his hand in an act of friendship. Uncle Dario did the same. His hand said friendship, but his eyes were wiping their ass with the Commandment that begins with “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife.” Instead, he wanted to bash his neighbor’s head in à la Cain and Abel.
“Let me just take her for one ride,” Uncle Dario’s eyes fantasized.
When it was time to welcome Nancy, he outstretched his hand to shake hers. In Latin America, it is customary to hug your male friends and to hug and kiss your female friends. We didn’t do that in our family. We were Christian. Only, we weren’t wholly Christians. We were Catholics turned Southern Baptists claiming to be Christians. We were fakes. As fake as my mother claimed Nancy’s breasts to be.
We shook everybody’s hand. Men, women and children. It helped to stave off creepy pedophile interactions as well as deeply repressed homosexual ones. And in the current situation Uncle Dario found himself in, infidelity. One whose inception stemmed from erection-inducing hugs.
As my uncle shook Nancy’s hand, his eyes were checking to see if anything else was shaking as a result. Call it the ocular Richter scale. He stared at her breasts for what felt like hours. Nancy’s bosoms were at the same height as my uncle’s head and almost as big. If they were supermarket items, the rack would be at eye level. Premium. Best sellers and leading brands with the highest markup. He didn’t stand a chance.
“Those tits are fake,” my mother whispered to Uncle Dario’s wife. My uncle didn’t care. Nancy’s breasts could have been two flesh-colored, over-inflated helium balloons partially concealed by her lace brassiere, and they would have continued to elicit the same chemical reaction in his brain and in his trousers.
“Other than her huge beach balls, she’s got nothing going on for her,” my mother added. “She’s hideous.”
Nancy’s face was sweaty from all the thick makeup clogging up her pores. From a distance, a thick five o’clock shadow was easy to spot, even under the thick coats of foundation. She used it to conceal her stubble and vellus hairs on her chin, cheeks and near her ears. Her upper lip was beaded with perspiration as it was the area that needed the most concealment. It resembled the make up on Cesar Romero’s 1960s Joker more than the women on the television commercials for that very product. Her thick eyebrows were meticulously plucked into two black furry caterpillars, darkened further by brow pencil. Her eyelashes were drenched in tarry mascara, with small drops of oil-like substance miring on either corner of her eyes. She pressed her bright red lips together— as bright and red as the veins invading her eyes— to wipe the condensation off her upper lip.
Anything from her chest up didn’t seem to matter to my uncle. Nancy could’ve been headless for all he cared. His mouth was watering from the scent of the meat grilling on the red hot coals and from the flesh bulging out of her push-up bra and hot red dress. She had thick legs, small ankles and a supple pair of buttocks. A horse’s ass, according to Uncle Dario. He was an ass man. When you come from Mexico— a culture that idolizes the round, fleshy parts that form a person’s lower rear area and has over 15 ways of referring to it— you really can’t help it.
“She wears all of that mask of caked-on makeup because she’s truly a man,” my mother snickered to my uncle’s wife.
“You guys are just jealous of her,” Uncle Dario later rebutted. “Besides, I think we’d be good so long as my mustache was thicker and she kept shaving hers.”
As he disengaged from the prolonged handshake, my uncle’s eyes became transfixed on the gentle tremors that accompanied her buttocks as she trotted away. Her dress had the elegance you would expect to see in the first few minutes of a 1980s porno movie, prior to the female protagonist stripping naked. The kind of clothing meant to be ripped off, cummed on and flung to the floor. Disposable. Nancy’s heels kept burying themselves into the muddied grass as she walked over to greet the other guests. I expected Amado to pull out a hoof pick to clean Nancy’s stilettoes once they found a seat.
According to Amado, they were dressed up because he and Nancy were going to a discotheque afterwards. Uncle Dario loved to dance and this was a dagger plunging deep in his heart. I could see it in his eyes. The ones he inherited from my grandmother. Sweet and tender. His mind was falling victim to visions of Amado holding his wife— his thumbs pressing up against her hip bones and the other four fingers resting on the upper curvature of her equestrian posterior. My uncle’s eyes yearned to trade places with Amado, for his friend to stay at the barbecue flipping burgers, wearing an apron that read: “…and I can also cook.”
Uncle Dario’s eyes welled up with tears. Not necessarily emanating from melancholy, or from the black smoke of the fire burning off the fat on the meat. But from yet another place. He wanted to be the one dancing with Nancy and have his head sandwiched by her. Him resting his head on her large breasts and she resting her head on his.
Uncle Dario loved his wife. He prayed to God at night. But that day, Nancy left without saying goodbye.
“Look, your girlfriend’s leaving,” Uncle Dario’s wife scoffed as she pointed to his dream girl walking away in the distance. She and my mother cackled heartily. Uncle Dario joined in with a forced chuckle. He turned around to face the roaring flame gently incinerating the meat. He pulled out a bandanna from his back pocket, opened it and wiped his whole face with it, leaving it in there longer than all of the previous times. He needed to forget Nancy, at least for the time being. To reset his thoughts.
When he pulled his face out of the ornamented cloth, he looked over at me and smiled.
“Hey you,” Uncle Dario said. “Wanna come over and help me with these?” I got up and ran over to him and he placed his hand on my shoulder. “Look, I’m going to show you how to cook a proper hamburger.” He exhaled the full weight of his arm on both my shoulders and I wrapped my arm around the small of his back.
“You know,” he said, “that suit’s going to look really good on you when you get bigger.” I felt him inhale deeply and billow out a prolonged sigh as we stood there, staring quietly at the globs of meat change color, from strawberry pink to hickory brown.
That day, my uncle showed me the signs of when a piece of meat needed to be flipped on a grill. He also taught me that even if you have the ability to ravage a battalion of women, beyond the point of depletion, requiring medical care via intravenous rehydration, you can still get your heart broken by a single woman.
Sometimes, the wife of another.
Oseguera, J. L., Jr. (2017). The Heart Needs [Photograph]. stripSearchLA, Los Angeles.