Reader Bruno writes to me asking where the fun would be in going to several Carnival blocks and concludes, grumpily, one isn’t enough for these people? No longer seen?
Bruno, first it’s important that you know that you are boring and unhappy. And that’s okay, we’re together. Me too. Starting from this premise that we are terrible people, we can start our conversation.
Most of my friends are looking forward to the holiday. The Cariocas I know wake up at five in the morning on a Saturday (I know, it feels like punishment) and go to the end (which is in April, I think) without dying of extreme fatigue (even though they are 45 years old and have children) in a visceral commitment.
Here in São Paulo, my friends go together to “buy heads” (I love when they say that) and they seem really fulfilled and feel like they are doing something truly feminist and revolutionary for the sake of the fight for better days for all humans who have ever felt like a minority, but They are really eager to post a photo of their ass on Instagram.
I respect them all and they all respect that I feel equally excited and numb on routine check-up mornings at the Fleury laboratory with that salmon-pink robe. And so we continue, each to their own. (Bullshit, I find them a bit silly and they must find me insanely inedible).
During my adolescence and a small part of my youth I enjoyed Carnival a lot. I went with my friends from school to Guarujá or the Riviera de São Lourenço and, by God, how I kissed boys.
And there were those standing kisses, the couple of strangers leaning against the wall, an oral excavation that lasted hours. The tongue became numb. The panties got so wet and then dried because of the heat (and then got wet and dried and wet and dried) that when it came time to take them off to take a shower they had shrunk and turned into a brick.
I was really happy, but I was also happy every other weekend of the year. Carnival meant four or five days in a row for me to do what, for the rest of the year, I already did almost every weekend: be a virgin who kissed like crazy and talked about it nonstop with my friends.
When I started working and having more serious relationships (which finally involved kissing while lying down) I was introduced to a wonder that I never surpassed and that would forever end my interest in bustles crowded with sweaty humans: inns with few rooms, silence, birds, books, comfort and an exclusive and slightly durable male whose skin was no saltier than my aunt Iolanda’s cod.
I became old at 22 years old when I dated a man who was 16 years older than me and who had a habit of taking a shower, flossing his teeth and visiting a website called “charm itineraries”. And I never unlearned, despite loving samba and meeting people (about 5 at a time at most, as long as they are bitter and ironic, does it mean loving meeting people?) how all that was better than walking around the streets jumping like crazy and with some glitter which with the sweat ran down and ended up in the anus and I just wanted to get home and apply Hipoglós because it itched and inflamed.
A few years ago, when I separated, my dear Giovana Madalosso lent me props and invited me to try one more time. I explained to her all the nuances and details that go along with my electric trio: I am vasovagal, I have low blood pressure, I am hypoglycemic, I have panic attacks in crowded and hot places and, to sum it up all at once, I suffer from a disease that is not Exactly rare, but no treatment has yet been found: I’m unbearable, I’m annoying, (but because I’m left-wing, I disguise my elitism as a vexatious reaction with modern hysterical illnesses). Above all, I hate places that have nowhere to sit.
I went with Giovana and Pedro (her big husband who held my hand several times, thank you, Pedro, I felt protected — actually attracted), to some blocks and the strong drumming added to the joy of so many people was able, in fact, to give the my spirit a few seconds of glory.
I went to the one with songs by Caetano Veloso and I even cried with emotion, but forty minutes later I was home. I went to that Charanga in França and saw a lot of people I know. A lot. My brain thought it was my birthday and it was so confusing that I had to leave.
My boyfriend thinks I’m like this because I don’t drink or take drugs. I think I’m like this precisely because I date. I only tolerate parties that don’t involve chairs and food when I’m single. A party for the sake of a party, without chairs or food and without the possibility of having sex with someone “new”, doesn’t make sense.
So, if I’m already in a relationship and can have sex with someone (and at the same time I don’t want to have sex with someone else, which is both good and bad), I’ll choose a place with chairs and food. And I’m always dating because I’ve spent my life hitting on so many people that one always works out. So it was a lifetime of sitting around eating.
I don’t like Carnival for the same reason that I don’t like New Year’s and I don’t like baby showers, wedding parties outside of São Paulo, wedding parties in São Paulo, monthversary, the word dinda, people who say “my American parents exchange” and the spiritualized electronic ones (and the spiritualized ones who have the Shaman’s WhatsApp).
I can’t stand progressive rich people and for at least 15 years I’ve only known about progressive rich people’s Carnival because it’s my life. The Center’s trailblazers with insurance on their iPhone 13. They are the coolest people in the world and are, in fact, pacarai chaaaaatos—and my Carnival would be an eternal meeting and hugging them all. I don’t feel like I belong on these rich people’s streets, I wasn’t born here where they were born, but I wouldn’t know how to go back to the street where I come from. And you don’t skip Carnival without understanding what a street means to you.
I have never been able to explore an infinite number of asphalts, whether they were more paved or less paved than those of my childhood, without carrying guilt and longing. And damn the bourgeois dilemma of this Pierre Bordieu reader lying in the air conditioning. I am infinitely more ridiculous than any chronicle character.
Maybe that’s the problem. I don’t know what my street is. I’m afraid of the Center, disgusted with VIP playpens and the mortal laziness of the cool kids in Pinheiros. I don’t leave the house because I don’t know where I live. Do you first need to know very well who you are to skip Carnival?
I can’t stand seeing a bunch of white people covered in glitter dancing with Lula t-shirts and dodging, (without saying they dodge, without thinking too much that they dodge, without letting the pain of dodging ruin the party) homeless residents (and we need put this “situation” on the street and in the sentence so as not to think about our street and our situation).
“It’s fucked, bro, I want to do something.” And what do we do? We take used clothes for Father Júlio to distribute, sometimes we deposit around 500 contos into Father Júlio’s account and we help Unicef and Sem Fronteiras. But the smell there on the street where a whole family lives is really strong, shall we go there again? Without saying it, without admitting it, just walking away, all together, that awkward silence in which you wonder what enigmatic shit you’re doing there dressed as a progressive fairy if you have 3 protrusions in your lower back and 2 in your neck, but you have to be happy.
Bruno, I’ll give you some movie tips on Mubi later so we can get depressed together.
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