12 Oct 2004
When we were about 14 or so, my friend Vicki Nelson and I liked to hang out at this flea market.
It had a great bookstore, which was the main reason we went there, but we also were into heavily rhinestoned pins and rings, and it was way before it was cool to wear such items, so we racked up often.
One problem with this is that the flea market was where skeezy scumbags hung out (not in the literal sense), so we were constantly on the lookout for people who may have wanted to maim or harm us in some way.
So one day as we were reading comic books (jp! and gorjus, shut up! I am not one of you! we were reading Katy Keene!), we saw this classically super scuz man hovering near us. He had a mullet (remember, this was back in the day, and the name “mullet” was not invented; in fact, the Oxford English Dictionary cites the first use of “mullet” in 1994), a scraggly beard, and looked generally untrustworthy.
He was also, much to our horror and confusion, wearing a jean jacket with a button on it that said, “I Tecate My Body.” After he wandered away and we were safe from harm, we discussed at length what on earth “Tecate” meant. Since we were 14 and all, we very confidently decided had something to do with sex. I mean, look at the context. You can replace “Tecate” in that sentence with a whole host of verbs that would result in dirtiness.
Sure, I’d never heard that before, but really, this was nothing new. Plus, I was 14. Even in high school, I would hear something and have to ask an “experienced” friend later what the hell it was. I was sitting with a group of girls in gym class once and this girl had dropped in on her ex-boyfriend. They were in his bedroom hanging out. She said, “I said, ‘Ew, what’s that crusty stuff on your bedspread?’” and smiled knowingly. The other girls laughed. I did too. What the hell? I knew it was something gross, but um, what? It turns crusty? Are you serious? Gross.
Fast forward to me being in college. I’m at a Mexican restaurant, and I see a neon Tecate sign. Um, what’s that? I ask my boyfriend, pointing at the sign. Duh, that’s a beer sign, he said. Tecate is BEER?! Ohhhhh.
When we got home, I called Vicki Nelson. She totally hadn’t figured it out either.