Words: Alice Goldberg '19 & Jordan White '19
Photos: Alice Goldberg '19
Welcome back to Project #FindNewFriends, where staff writers Alice and Jordan introduce Method to a new Frosh every week. Meet Tomas.
You reached out to us for this interview, why?
I was just minding my own business on Facebook, and I saw the article that Alice shared about Julian and it intrigued me. I messaged her like five minutes after, cause why not?
Was it the dicks for nipples question?
Honestly, yes. There's actually only one clear answer: dicks for nipples. What’s better than having one dick? Three dicks. But to be honest, the only reason I wanted to do this is because I knew my answers weren’t gonna be funny, so much as conversations that I’ve been wanting to have.
Where are you from?
I love this question. I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, and I've lived there until I was twelve. Then I moved to Montpelier, Vermont. El Salvador was super religious and conservative, so I grew up as Roman Catholic and, yeah, I didn’t believe in homosexuality and I wasn’t even aware of any other gender identity or sexual orientation. Since El Salvador was colonized by the Spanish, and white people were put at the top of this forced caste system, I grew up believing that white people were better and more beautiful than me. I realize that a lot of my insecurities with the way that I look still come from that. It wasn’t until I moved to Vermont, one of the most liberal states in this country, that I realized that all of that was bullshit and I should be proud of who I am as a person of color.
Have you gone back to El Salvador since?
After having moved to the U.S., I didn’t go back home for five years. I didn’t know what El Salvador looked like anymore. Eventually, I went back to realize that the country changed a lot, becoming even more conservative and religious.
What does being "American" mean for you?
[Laughs] My admissions essay was about this. I had this kind of identity crisis: I didn’t want to think of myself as American ‘cause I am aware of the atrocities that America had done to my country, but, I realized my ideals were not Salvadoran anymore. Vermont had taught me that there are many sexual identities, gender identities, and sexual orientations out there that are totally valid, and should not be disregarded as a "phase" or anything. I would have never thought of identifying as bisexual—I probably would have repressed that part of myself if I had stayed in El Salvador. However, there’s still some aspects of the Salvadoran culture I respect : Salvadorans are proud of being hard workers and putting all their lives out there if it’s for the benefit of their family. I consider myself both; my identity as a nationality and ethnicity do not have to be one.
How about as a pasta shape? If you could be a pasta shape, what would you be?
This is where my lack of cultural awareness comes in. I would say penne ‘cause that’s the most interesting name for a pasta I can think of right now [laughs]. Whole wheat penne, so the pastabilities guy at Usdan could serve me.
Which Usdan station would you work at?
Oh, Mongolian Grill for sure. I would just only make food for myself. I did not know the name of that place for the longest time. I called it the ‘stir fry place.’ It’s the perfect combination of stir fry and breakfast fuckin’ sandwiches. I’m so sorry for I have sinned—I consumed meat cause of those breakfast sandwiches.
Have you ever sat on the loud side?
I have three times-- two of those times were at Late Night, so there was no music. Never again though, ‘cause I can’t eat and have conversations with people while having Ariana Grande screaming in my ear. It’s also so weird going from one side to the other. I see all these "bros" and I’m just like ‘Ayooo.’
How can one have a good weekend at Wesleyan?
Oh god, how explicit can I get? I would say that you don’t have to be drunk to have fun on the weekends. Just a few good friends and good music. BUT if you are drunk, that's fun too. All I’m gonna say is one cup of wine and 2 capfuls of vodka—it’s the way you pretend to be classy while still getting turnt.
What did you do this weekend?
Shitshow. We went to one of the senior houses by Freeman—I don’t know why—and we knocked on a random door and the music just stopped. As we’re walking away the guy opens the door and is like, "It’s my birthday! You’re gonna do one squat and then you’re gonna have as much jungle juice and shots as you can!" So, of course, I did like 50 squats, then I ended up dancing on a table to ‘Anaconda’..... Friday night, It was Screaming Females at Alpha Delt. I initiated a mosh pit with my friend Bram, someone split their lip open then my earring pierced my skin. Then I ended up smoking up Screaming Females and getting Dominos, so that was also a good way to end the night.
What’s the weirdest thing you brought from home?
I play guitar and my best friend Warren from home plays too. His idea of leaving a memento for me is printing a picture of his face and putting it on my pick. So, every time I play guitar I look at him. I don’t know why he did that, but it’s working.
Favorite place in Middletown?
Not on campus, thank God. That tibetan restaurant. Tibetan Kitchen. I would not be able to survive on campus if it weren’t for their avocado milkshakes.
It was at summer camp, basically. And it was a boy! And that’s how I started questioning myself and my sexuality. This guy was talking to me for like, a week, and I was confused about what his intentions were because he was older than me. He was a super cool dude and I was just this shy kid at summer camp, and all the girls were in love with him. The last night of camp I returned to the cabin to get something and we just...made out and I found out he wasn’t as straight as I thought.
Highs and lows of today?
[Laughs] No highs today…
Let’s do highs of Wes then.
Highs of Wesleyan? Hm... a lot of great people who I never expected to connect with. A lot of interesting conversations that I would not be having anywhere else. Really important conversations that we should all be having. It feels like there’s never a time when I’m not doing something. There’s so much to do on campus that I know I’ll have plenty to do for the next four years.
How about lows?
Lows of Wesleyan… um.. I’m super sorry to bring politics into this, but with the recent events that have come up on campus-- the problem with the Argus article. I think that as much as we talk about diversity on campus, there is not nearly enough importance given to voices of non-white students. And it’s not entirely the Argus’ fault, but I feel like Wesleyan could be doing better. I know the Student Assembly is doing more to give more of a voice to publications for people of color like The Ankh, for example. I don’t think it’s that the students aren’t being loud enough, it's more that the school is not working hard enough to have their voices heard. Wesleyan is a lot more diverse than most places, but it’s a bubble—people forget that there’s a world outside of Wesleyan. It’s a very different dynamic being in actual Middletown than being on campus. I think that many people forget that, as much as [POC] are underprivileged on campus, we have a lot more privilege than people outside of this space.
Is there anything that you want to tell yourself knowing it will be on the internet forever?
I really haven’t had the time to be grateful for things that I have. Right now I feel like it’s a nice time to tell myself that I’m grateful to be here; I’m grateful to have the opportunities that have been presented to me; I’m grateful for my family, and especially my mom for giving me those opportunities. I think that everyone should take at least five minutes out of their day to just count the good things that they have. We tend to get caught up too much in things that are happening, which is important ‘cause it’s good to feel bad sometimes, but it’s nice to remind myself that I am proud of things that I have done and I hope to be proud of things that I will do in the future.
Describe the color yellow as you would to a blind person.
No. I fucking hate that color.