Like Alec Baldwin, Kobe Bryant, and Lucille Ball, I too married someone whose first language is Spanish. Unlike them, I met my future spouse in a bank line, back in the days before they had invented ATMs. Actually, they had invented ATMs but they hadn’t figured out how to network them together. Anyway, the ATM was broken when I came through the door, the line for the tellers had 150 people in it, and Alejandro was the last guy in that line. Since PayPal, Apple Wallet, and Google Pay hadn’t been invented either, I was stuck and the rest is history.
Alejandro Alcántara Almánzar, aka The Hub, “Al”, or triple-A as I call him, was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the U.S. as a middle-school-aged kid when his family moved here due to some kind of murky dealings involving Trujillo, the Merchant Marines, and Triple A’s grandfather. Don’t ask. Anyway, they came here legally…. sorry, Donald Trump, call off your jack-booted anti-immigrant Duck Dynasty Minute Men. They’d be scared to come to our neighborhood anyway.
When he turned 18, Triple-A got to become a US citizen. For those of you who don’t know this, the US lets you change your name for free when you become a citizen. Al chose to change his first name legally to “Brad”. It doesn’t really matter, though, because his family never called him any of those names. You see, when you are born in the Dominican Republic, you get a long-ass name. If you are the oldest son AND the oldest grandson on BOTH sides of the family, you get an even longer name so that no one gets offended by being left out . You get a name that includes most of your ancestors and several saints just to be on the safe side. You get Alejandro Carlos Rafael Santiago San Pedro de los Reyes Almánzar de Alcántara. You don’t actually learn that’s your legal name until you start school, though, because everyone in the family calls you “Fuchiche” (pronounced Foo-Chee-Chay). Understandably, you think that’s your name and you get surprised when the teacher rattles off something really long while looking at you on your first day. But it’s OK, because everyone in school calls you Fuchiche and you don’t have to remember the long version until you start college.
To make things even more interesting, you also get 2 birthdates. You get your real birthdate, and you get your legal birthdate because your sinvergὒenza father was too lazy to register you within 30 days of your birth, and he didn’t want to pay the nominal fine for lateness, so he told the county clerk you were born 2 days later than you really were. You hate your father. Now, you and anyone you might marry in the future (cough cough) have to remember to get you an extra-pineapple blue-frosting Dominican Cake on August 15th, but tell the insurance rep on the line that your husband “Brad” Alcántara’s social security number is etc. etc. and his birthdate is August 15th-no-wait-I-mean-August-17th.
Anyway, in the fullness of time, my path crossed with Triple-A’s in a bank line. It was love. I’m not sure why it was love, because I seemed to have a thing at the time for closeted gay guys who I mistook for “ethereal” (first boyfriend, Graham Chapman, et al.) and it was my roommate who kept bringing home the hot Latinos. I used to laugh at her. Now look at me. Additional history lesson for all you youngsters: we didn’t need no stinkin’ Match-dot-com or J-date or “Tinder” app to tell us “hot Latino 2 paces to the left”. We just met guys in banks, bars, parks, and laundromats. And it worked fine. But I digress.
Anyway, we’ve been married for over 20 years. Here are some before and after pictures.
Every now and then, someone tilts their head to the side and asks in a quizzical voice, “why did you marry ‘Brad’?” and honestly, I can only reply “I’m not sure, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.”