“TJ is a shitty town where you can get really fucked up.”

So slurred a friend on Saturday night as we smoked a cigarette outside Moustache, a teeny, two-story bar between Calle Sexta and Calle Septima on Madero that takes the ironic-facial-hair thing to the next level by making it the theme of the entire place.

I grew up in Tijuana, having moved there with my family when I was 13. A couple years later, I began experiencing the Tijuana nightlife. It's the backdrop of my drunken coming-of-age story. My so-called vida. So, naturally, I love it.

But walking my boyfriend, a white guy who grew up in the suburbs of San Jose, down Avenida Revolución on a Saturday night, I saw things through an outsider's perspective. There might not be any more throngs of drunken, American college kids in the area now that they're afraid of getting beheaded by drug lords, but it has definitely returned to being the loud, sweaty meat market it once was. That kind of makes me happy. We passed endless hole-in-the-wall karaoke spots, plastered teenagers, strip joints and all that other good/scary stuff that gives TJ its bad reputation. But I don't give a damn about its bad reputation, and I'm determined to show my boyfriend how awesome Tijuana can be.

We walked into Moustache, and it looked like a New Year's Eve party from 1987 that no one showed up to. Everywhere there was shiny confetti, streamers and condoms serving as party balloons. The few people hanging out were wearing little glittery party hats and masks, and the DJ was dancing to electro jams even though no one else was. Colorful cupcakes sat on the bar uneaten. I could feel my TJ boner going flaccid.

I waited for things to kick off. I insisted that shit doesn't get real until midnight in TJ. I mean, there are condom balloons! I drank tequila shots from a plastic cup in the hopes that it would help me get the party started. I wanted it to so bad. And then at 2 a.m. I had to give up.

You might conclude that it was a sad trombone of a night, but there was beauty in its shittiness. A creep got kicked out of the bar. Literally.

The bartender actually kicked him. It generated some laughs. And the insanity of that area is something to behold in itself. So maybe it wasn't the coolest, most mind-blowing introduction ever, but there's always next weekend.


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