A Hookup for Honeys and Homies
A modern day courtship ritual competes with classy cars at the Lowrider Show
Ceci, 18, and five of her girlfriends walk through the turnstile at the National Orange Fairgrounds in San Bernardino for the Lowrider Magazine Car Show. As they head toward the main drag where all the action is taking place, they stop, pull out their compacts and put the final touches on their hair and makeup. After applying "Hot Rubies" colored lipstick to her full, puckered lips, Ceci air-kisses before the mirror and says "Mwah! Perfect!"
Published on LatinoLA: February 21, 2000
Decked out in form-fitting dresses and hot pants ensembles with open-toed platform shoes, one would think that these jovencitas were professional models preparing for a photo shoot. But no, these are just some local young ladies who love going to car shows to pose in front of beautiful cars. As they enter one of the several buildings where the cars are being displayed, a group of young Latinos armed with video and digital cameras begin to crowd. Following Ceci's lead, the girls, along with the swarm of guys, head toward a customized maroon '56 Chevy bomb. Like professional models, the ladies begin to pose in front of the camera. "Flash-flash?click-click." The guys rush in to take their pictures, and after the all the group photos have been taken, they wait in line to take individual pictures with their favorite lady.
"Car shows are a great place to meet cute guys," says Ceci. "Here, girls run the show. It's up to us to determine if a guy is going to get any play," she adds. Most of the young men and women I talked to at the event said that car shows are not only just about checking out the clean rides, but as important, hooking up with somebody of the opposite sex.
With more than 12,000 young spectators between the ages of 18 and 35, the odds were pretty good that connections will be made. For $22, guests were able to view more than a hundred beautiful customized low rider cars and bikes, watch a hydraulic car hop and dance competition, listen to lots of their favorite hip hop and dance music courtesy of KGGI-FM, broadcasting live for the event, and attend a concert featuring Lighter Shade of Brown and Run DMC. For anyone who wanted to do some test marketing to young English dominant Latinos and Latinas with money to spend, this would have been a great place to be at.
Maurico Navarez, 22 of Colton and a senior at San Bernardino State University, told LatinoLA that some people have a negative perception toward low rider car shows because they think that these kind of events attracts gangs and that's just not true, says Mauricio. "Here you have Chicanos from all walks of life...the people are cool here. Everybody is just having a good time. Low riders are part of California Chicano history and these car shows are a great place to celebrate our culture. Besides, if you get into trouble you get thrown out." Mauricio grins and adds, "And you can't meet any honeys (girls) that way."
As the day progressed more groups like Ceci and her friends showed up, competing for the attention of their cameras. But as soon a group of Latino male exotic dancers showed up, suddenly all the girl's attention became focused on them. Nevertheless, this did not hinder the male paparazzi from trying to take as many photos of women, in groups and individually, and gather as many phone numbers as possible. To these young and cool Latinos, competition is good. "You just got to work it harder" said, Argelia, 21 from Fontana.
It was the common scene to see groups of young women and men just hanging out, chillin', holding hands, taking pictures and exchanging phone numbers. Members of both sexes were running around with names and phone numbers scribbled on their hands and forearms. Women would mark their territory by leaving a lipstick kiss mark on the cheek of a guy they hooked up with.
Armando and Daniel, both 19 from Perris, hurry toward the sink in the men's restroom. Armando hands his buddy a pen and a piece of a napkin. Armando starts reading off Ceci's phone number. Daniel hands Armando back the pen and the piece of napkin. Armando sticks the phone number into his pocket and begins to wash the ruby red kiss mark off his cheek and somebody else's phone number off his hands. "Cool the evidence is gone," exclaims Armando. "Time to get that other girl's number."
As the event winds down, all is peaceful with no trouble in sight. (Maybe this had something to do with the fact that there tons of security and police on hand). As for the quest for romance, one would have to admit that when it comes to hooking upat this car show,the game is played pretty evenly by both sexes.