I’m going to level with you, Reader. I’m too hungover for this shit.
I celebrated my birthday dinner last night among friends, got a little tipsy, then changed venues and got tipsier. While, yes, I am a skeleton in a sombrero and technically alcohol should trickle right down through my rib cage, my tolerance just isn’t what it used to be. Sue me!
It’s also been a wild ride of a week in terms of this column. In case you weren’t aware, Grindr just launched an advice column called “Dear Dad.” Grindr is also where this column, ¡Hola Papi!, started out. It was pretty jarring to see my column’s reanimated corpse walking around like that. I can’t lie to you, Reader! It shook me a bit.
After all, I named this column after a fetishizing term I got a lot on the Grindr app. There was heavy baggage I was trying to subvert and reclaim. My thinking was, “I’ll turn this phrase into something powerful.” So, yeah. “Dear Dad” was kind of a twist of the knife. It’s all the “Daddy” without the journey. I hate that! It upsets me. You’re not my dad!
Anywho, because I’m hungover and in no position to tell any of you how to live right now, and because I wanted to take this week off while I sit and reflect on this situation, I thought it’d be fun to give you the “Greatest Hits,” my favorite columns over the past two and a half years or so of doing this every week.
¡Hola Papi! has lived on a whopping four websites: INTO (Grindr), them. (Condé Nast), Out Magazine (haha), and Substack (here). As more people arrive to the column through the aether of the internet, I thought it’d be nice to give them, or you, the full context of what we’ve been up to around here by gathering the classics all in one place.
Yes, here are those columns! Some really took off online, others didn’t, but either way these are my favorites that have stuck with me. It’s less to edify myself and more to welcome you to this strange little tragicomic corner of the world we’ve built together. Or maybe you’re on a train or something and need to waste a solid hour. ¡Lo que sea!
In any case, thank you, mil gracias, etc. for supporting me, this column, and this free newsletter. If you want to support my work with your money, I have a shop with my art! The prints are nice. Thank you again, and enjoy these throwbacks. As always, you can send me a letter to answer at email@example.com
Con mucho amor,
Click On the Headlines to Read Each Column
Vintage! You know, reading this one over again, I see points where I wish I could tweak the language. But it sticks with me nonetheless because I remember so vividly where I was when I wrote it: a Starbucks near DragCon NYC in Manhattan. It makes me feel nostalgic.
Oh, speaking of vintage, here we have the first ¡Hola Papi! ever published. I had to source the letter from people I actually knew, and one brave soul bit the bullet for me. Looking at it now, I have to smile! What a fun project.
OK, last one from INTO, but this one is literally from someone who’d never tried poppers before and asking me to describe the experience for them. I read this now and see lines like “I’m RUSH Limbaugh” and think ha! Ha! You little rascal! You scamp.
Here we have peak Papi. “The bee column,” as I call it. I lie awake at night, wondering if I will ever be able to reach the dizzying heights of that time I ignored someone’s question about seeing their manager on Grindr and instead interviewed a bee expert. Ah, that’s history.
This one is very yeehaw, very cowboy fantasy, very spaghetti western. And who doesn’t love spaghetti? It’d be really weird not to but well that’s just my opinion on the matter.
I don’t remember much from this one besides “corgi college” but that alone makes it worth it for me. Also, who feels bold enough to ask this kind of thing? Advice columns really are magical and cursed.
Most of my letters focus on gender and sexuality, but identity comes in many different shapes, and this column on the complexities of the Latino experience is one I’m proud of! Jaja.
Moving into Out Magazine territory, we have this one from a man married to a woman who wasn’t sure if he should bother coming out at all. I think about this one a lot, and I hope the guy is doing well!
I think that at its best, ¡Hola Papi! is about language: founding power in it, and using it to address problems in new ways. It’s a complicated subject, but I like those questions better than the straightforward ones. Ha! Straight.
As much as I enjoy esoteric musings, sometimes there’s nothing better than good old fashioned mess, and this letter really delivered on that: his boyfriend was pretending to be Colombian and wasn’t exposed until Thanksgiving dinner. What a telenovela!