Y La Vaca

He opened the door, invited me in, looked me up and down and said:

“Wait a minute.”

He went to his closet got out a folding step ladder, unfolded in front of me, climb up it—just one step, and kissed me.

We laughed. He wasn’t that short, certainly not by Quebec standards where a lot of men are in the 5 foot 8 range.

“Anyway, lying down we are all 6 to 8 inches tall,” I said.

We laughed again and moved into the bedroom. We stripped. He was as hairy as me, but definitely taller than me lying down. 

After the gentlemanly entertainments, I was pleased to see that he wanted to loll around naked, stroke each other’s hairy bodies, and shoot the shit. Turns out that he was originally from Cuba, but had been living in Montreal for 5 years. He had come north for love, moving here to live with a Quebecois man who had been on vacation in Cuba when they met.

But that didn’t work out and he was now living on his own.

I asked him about Cuba and he told me bits and pieces of his life there. Then fell silent.

“Y la vaca,” he said, coming out of his reverie.


“And the cow. Y la vaca. It is a story my mother told me.

“There was a young man who lived alone with his mother on a farm. One day he decided it was time to find a woman and get married. He took off his work clothes, bathed and put on his Sunday best suit.

‘Where are you going all dressed up?’ asked his mother.

‘To town to find a woman to marry.’

His mother nodded and sighed.

‘God willing,’ she said.

He walked happily towards town until he came to a cow standing in the middle of the road. The cow apparently had no intention of moving, so he tried to get around it. As he passed it, it suddenly raised its head, butting him into the swampy ditch. By the time he got out the ditch, he and his clothes were a muddy mess.

‘No sense going to town looking like this,’ he thought. He cursed the cow, who was as unmoved as ever, and returned home.

‘What happened to you?’ his mother asked.

‘A cow knocked me into the ditch, so I came home. I was never going to find a woman to marry looking like this.’

‘Never mind. Give me your suit. I will clean it and you can try again tomorrow.

The next morning. He got up, got cleaned again and put on the newly washed suit again.

‘Mother, I am off to town to find a woman to marry.

His mother nodded and signed.

‘God willing.’

‘And the cow!’

He replied as he headed out the door.”

I laughed. I loved this story about how the mundane matters often more than the will of God.

I didn’t know I was about to find out that one of the mundane things that really matters is language.

I really liked this guy. He was sexy. He was funny. He had life experiences that I did not. We exchanged messages over the next couple of days.

Then I decided to be flirty by called him a few things in Spanish that I knew were risqué, but turned out to be risky, and pushed the limits of his sense of humour.

“What is this? I am a gentleman to you and call me dirty names in Spanish? You are obviously not who I thought you were. You are not what I am looking for. Do not contact me again.”

A little stunned, I apologized for my mistake, pleaded ignorance due to my lack of knowledge of Spanish.

“You obviously know enough Spanish to be crude and offensive. Do not contact me again.”

And that was that. I am not sure who the cow was in the scenario, but I definitely come out smelling like shit.  I had done exactly what I had told my students of English as a second-language never to do—use curse words in a language that is not your mother tongue, because you cannot gauge their emotional impact.

Cow one. Me Zero. Or, if I am also the cow, it’s a tie.



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