Ghetto fabulous

“Ghetto fabulous” is a phrase my current landlord taught me when I first moved to South Colton last September. She told me the term refers to iconic instances of stereotypical barrio life, such as leashless Chihuahua dogs roaming the street, women selling roasted corn from shopping carts, and loud Mariachi music filling the air from backyard fiesta. Today, while leaving for work the term came to mind when I came face to face with a tough looking cholo man walking past my house while I opened the gate. He was shirtless and well muscled, with heavy black ink tattoos covering his deeply bronzed skin. His head was shaved and he wore dark wraparound sunglasses. His strut was a sight to behold, with arms held wide and swinging for extra effect. I greeted him with a friendly “good morning” and his stern face suddenly sparkled with life as we exchanged a few pleasant words. The man is gay, and his rather flamboyant and gregarious personality is delivered in stark contrast to his prison yard appearance. After a few happy words my gay cholo neighbor went back to his territorial strut while I climbed into my car with the words “ghetto fabulous” ringing in my ears.

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