The Hot Chick

Salsa. Oh, how I remember it. Not the condiment. The dance. Salsa, disco, no matter what kind of music – there was a time when I always had a dance partner.

But it's funny how time passes and things change. Butts get bigger, tits sag and going out dancing becomes a faint memory. At this middle-aged, overweight point in my life, if I wanted to attract a dancing partner, my best bet may be to head for Sun City.

On the other hand, a funny thing happened to me during a recent trip to Mexico. I was sitting in the back seat of a cab when, without warning, the taxi driver started hitting on me. "What are you doing tonight?" he politely asked. Not waiting for my reply, he pressed on. "If you like, I can take you around and show you the city," he said. "Are you married? We can eat some dinner and then maybe go dancing," he continued, giving me a slight wink from his mirror.

Ah, Mexico, the land where I am still beautiful. The rest of my trip was filled with men asking me out left and right.

In the U.S., I am a middle-aged woman who should lose some weight. In Mexico, I am a tall, long-legged stunner.

After I returned, I wondered if I could get that experience here at home. So I decided to explore, strictly for journalistic reasons, of course, a dance club called El Capri, located on Van Buren near the Papago Freeway. The oversize building was filled beyond maximum capacity with sweaty bodies dancing to the driving sound of Mexican music. Not merengue or salsa, the kind of thing arriving from Miami and Cuba that most white folks associate with Latinos in this country, but Mexican music, driven hard by a polka beat and set to accordions or brass flourishes that automatically make you start to tap your toe.

My first destination was the bar where you can order any Mexican beer and, of course, Budweiser and plenty of tequilas. As I leaned over the bar yelling my order for a cold Mexican Coca-Cola, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. "¿Quieres bailar?" asked a five-foot-five hombre wearing a wide cowboy hat placed a little too high on his head, and matching bright green cowboy boots and belt. "Hey, I know you!" he exclaimed as he pulled me onto the packed dance floor. As we claimed our little square of dance floor, he informed me that he had been one of my dishwashers over at ASU.

"What are you doing here?" he smirked. "Research for an article," I replied, trying to catch my breath. Yet another loud cumbia came on and we were off to the races again. As the night progressed, I danced with one of my ex-dishwashers, two of my ex-cooks and two prep-cooks.

If I ever need any dating help, I won't waste my time placing an ad. I'll just head over to El Capri where the music is fun and loud, the beer is cold and I am still a hottie.

The author is a local chef and restaurant owner.