Metafilter: a certain type of mildly cultured person
July 26, 2019 11:08 PM   Subscribe

“Oh, god,” says one friend when I bring up Taco Tinder. Within a few minutes, she’s sent me a handful of screenshots from Hinge mentioning tacos that she’d swiped through at that very moment. Other friends — men and women, most of them straight — say tacos were mentioned in anywhere from a third to 80 percent of bios they see.
Why is everyone on Tinder so obsessed with tacos?
posted by Vesihiisi (77 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are they asking about tacos, or.... tacos ?
posted by armoir from antproof case at 11:28 PM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


tacos.
posted by matthewr at 1:04 AM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


I really liked this part at the end because I was actually just thinking it as I was reading and I didn't expect an article like this to touch on this point:
They are, of course, real people with the same complex inner lives as anyone else, with weird tics and funny-sounding laughs and family dynamics that nobody else understands.

People like to do what everyone else is doing and like other people who are also doing what the group is doing. I think people also just like saying "tacos" because it's such a great word. It has a pleasing sound and it reminds you of good times.
posted by bleep at 1:06 AM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


The you would especially like the word tacocat

Palindromatically
posted by armoir from antproof case at 1:20 AM on July 27, 2019 [9 favorites]


Tacos are great and if you're cool then with you I'd love to have a taco or two.
posted by seraphine at 1:26 AM on July 27, 2019


Everyone loves tacos. [SLYT]
posted by Ignorantsavage at 4:07 AM on July 27, 2019


a messy food that absolutely no one looks hot eating

Disagree.

I mean, "shorthand for a personality" is definitely a thing, especially online, especially in contexts (such as dating) where people feel self-conscious. It's easier to reach for the nearest "Generally Accepted as Funny/Relatable" thing than to, like, be vulnerable and revealing about yourself.

A few years ago, it was jokes about bacon, pirates, and David Hasselhoff. A few years from now, it'll be something else.

But, yeah. Tacos aren't just delicious – they symbolize a particular kind of dining, at least in the US. Easy and freewheeling, in the company of friends, often accompanied by drinks on a summer day, maybe with festive music. They aren't (just) a "satisfying your physiological need for calories after work" food – they're a "getting out there and living life" food. Saying "do you wanna go out for tacos?" is fundamentally different than saying "do you wanna go out for sandwiches?"

So it's kinda understandable that people would want to put a bit of that flavor in their dating profiles. That's what we want out of dating, right? Someone to have happy taco times with?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:23 AM on July 27, 2019 [51 favorites]


Pizza? Now, that’s what I call a taco!
posted by Sublimity at 4:29 AM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


Just. Say. No.
posted by rustipi at 5:00 AM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Worth it entirely for that embedded vid, hehehe.
posted by FatherDagon at 5:29 AM on July 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


> "... they're a 'getting out there and living life' food."

So it's like saying that you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain?
That you're not much into health food, but you're into champagne?
posted by kyrademon at 5:51 AM on July 27, 2019 [30 favorites]


Every time I read about conventions of internet dating it becomes clearer and clearer to me that my dating days are over. It makes me feel panicky just reading about having to figure out how to convey that I am quirky but normal and not accidentally say anything to weird.

The internet is such a huge norming agent; it gets me down.
posted by Frowner at 6:00 AM on July 27, 2019 [38 favorites]


Although I'm totally a Taco Person, it's more likely when going out I'll get guacamole or nachos because they're easier to share and safely eat one handed. But I will 100% judge your restaurant, family, and community based on your (pork or jackfruit) carnitas.

Yet if I were to publish nachos on my dating profile, I would easily be mistaken for a Nacho Person who wants to pound forties and watch traumatic-brain-injury ball unapologetically.

So I get it.
posted by abulafa at 6:03 AM on July 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not sure if it's still true, but back in the day, if you entered a username into OkCupid and someone had already taken it, it'd offer back a variation that included the word "taco" -- instead of Merricat, it'd be Merricattaco, or whatever. A subtle psychological seed that was planted in the early 2000s and has now bloomed into a thousand profiles of people believing that the addition of the word "taco" is the key to making themselves the right amount of unique.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 6:06 AM on July 27, 2019 [26 favorites]


Well.
posted by twentyfeetof tacos at 6:07 AM on July 27, 2019 [38 favorites]


See in terms of Mexican food I truly love a good enchilada but it's more of a commitment; you have to sit down with a plate and use utensils. Tacos are nice but not as transcendent.

Guess that means I die alone? Harsh.
posted by emjaybee at 6:40 AM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


So does this mean I can claim burritos as the food for happily partnered people who are just really hungry and DGAF?
posted by DiscourseMarker at 6:40 AM on July 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


Rice and .... is my preferred style.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:53 AM on July 27, 2019


Call me basic, but if the dude turns out to be mediocre at least I got tacos that night.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:57 AM on July 27, 2019 [17 favorites]


I just spent $2000 on my profile pic where I'm holding a taco while doing a cartwheel against the tropical sunset with a sombrero-wearing puppy next to me. Sigh.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:11 AM on July 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


Saying "do you wanna go out for tacos?" is fundamentally different than saying "do you wanna go out for sandwiches?"

No joke, one of the hottest profiles I saw was like "I can ride my bike faster than you. We should get sandwiches." We did not match.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:12 AM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


Writing is hard. Knowledge of self is hard. Dating is hard. Online dating bios ask you to write a concise, persuasive piece that communicates why somebody might want to date you. It’s the worst genre possible. That’s why they’re riddled with clichés and shorthands.
posted by chrchr at 7:16 AM on July 27, 2019 [12 favorites]


tacos, a messy food that absolutely no one looks hot eating

I cannot trust the author any further after this assertion that speaks of a deep lack of experience and/or judgment.
posted by The Toad at 7:24 AM on July 27, 2019 [7 favorites]


The funny thing is, it's also sort of a cliche to hate the cliches and shorthands. Like, there are always the people who say "omg everyone wants to travel." Which is totally relatable, but also not this unheard of thing. It's like its own conversation starter: do you love to travel, or are you tired of hearing about people who love to travel?

For what it's worth, I got more matches when I started referring to myself as an unemployed weirdo. There were so many profiles that said "you MUST BE EMPLOYED and MUST HAVE A CAR" that I thought it was funny to be like "hit me up if you're tired of guys who have jobs and own cars!" I don't know what other Tinder guys look like, but I'm sure I'm far from the first person to think of that one.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:28 AM on July 27, 2019 [11 favorites]


Every time I read about conventions of internet dating it becomes clearer and clearer to me that my dating days are over

Folks that are 35+ don't do this. Most people drop the self-definition through pop culture stuff in the 28-32 range. [as someone who is fascinated by cultural reproduction and how unconsciously it all happens]
posted by MillMan at 8:14 AM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is really interesting, because I do not have this connotation for tacos. For me, raised in Texas, tacos are a staple. A food group. A given. Saying "let's go out for tacos" is just saying "let's go get dinner." (So I'm really surprised to see Austin included in this phenomenon! Maybe it's just full of transplants now.) I guess if I were aiming for "mildly cultured" I would go for pho.

I gave up dating apps because everyone just seemed so BORING. I know making an elevator pitch for your soul is basically impossible but, just, please tell me there's more to you what you like to consume.
posted by hishtafel at 8:23 AM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


They are, of course, real people with the same complex inner lives as anyone else

That reminds me of my favorite gag from Seinfeld: Cut to Elaine's boyfriend-of-convenience. He's sitting on the sofa staring straight ahead like a machine on pause. Phone rings; he slowly turns his head, picks up the phone, and says, "Putty."
posted by sjswitzer at 8:26 AM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


Maybe they're Dutch.
posted by zamboni at 8:28 AM on July 27, 2019


So cute when they talk about the 'best' of any kind of Mexican food as something you can get in the U.S.
posted by signal at 8:43 AM on July 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


hahahaha, I read Taco Tinder in the pull quote and was seriously like "mann, is there an app where people just post taco pics and folks can swipe left or right on their taco pics, because that might be fun" and then I read the article and now I'm just the tiniest bit sad that I got my hopes up
posted by 23skidoo at 8:50 AM on July 27, 2019 [24 favorites]


A friend calls and wants to go to lunch, and I hadn't seen her in a long time, so we agree to meet at a restaurant I had never heard of. We go inside, and there's a cafeteria-style line where you pick up a tray and tell the first person behind the counter what carbohydrates you'd like (you're allowed two out of a total of six options). Your choices are thrown into a recyclable-looking bowl. Then you pick up to three "dips" to smear on your carbohydrate, none of them matching in nationality. Hummus and Harissa and tzatziki? I pick ONE dip to go on my ONE pita. Then I can choose up to three "proteins" and two "toppings". I chose one protein and one topping, trying to stay at least within a thousand miles of Greece. I am then charged a lot more than it would cost me to drop a bunch of random things in a bowl at home. We choose a table and I then have to eat the thing.

What I'm saying is: if you say tacos you at least have a chance. Do not say this restaurant.
posted by acrasis at 8:51 AM on July 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


If you entered a username into OkCupid and someone had already taken it, it'd offer back a variation that included the word "taco"

MetaFilter should do this with "beans" or "same as in town"
posted by oulipian at 8:55 AM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


I know plenty of people who don't particularly care for tacos.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:24 AM on July 27, 2019


I guess nothing makes me feel really good about being about being in my seventh decade, but reading about the internet dating thing is second only to grandchildren in its effectiveness.

As for “buh wuh can’t have the best tacos if you’re not in Mexico,” I don’t know that that’s necessarily true, but I kind of assume whenever these “my burger chain’s burger can kick your burger chain’s burger’s Ass!” threads come up, people are implicitly acknowledging the fact the no one has tried everything—the world is too big—and they’re in fact just doing the internet dating thing, but without the potential hookup at the end. Sigh. Now I really feel old.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 9:35 AM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


The internet is such a huge norming agent; it gets me down.

There’s also a number of services, such as VIDA on the high end, that will outsource your profile making and even some of the initial contact/flirting to freelance writers as well as arranging photo shoots and style consultants.

Welcome to late stage capitalism where everyone is a commodity to be bought and sold as well as focus group tested and with production moveD to cheaper areas and models! Let the market determine your value!

Me? I’ll be at the bar. You can talk to me about my DO MORE THAN VOTE button.
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 AM on July 27, 2019 [9 favorites]


Folks that are 35+ don't do this. Most people drop the self-definition through pop culture stuff in the 28-32 range. [as someone who is fascinated by cultural reproduction and how unconsciously it all happens]

Bulllllllllshit, maybe we don’t do it now, but only because we spent the last 20 years mainstreaming geek culture to such a degree that now all culture is aimed at geeks. And then there’s sports, the ultimate “define yourself through pop culture stuff”.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:00 AM on July 27, 2019 [8 favorites]


I don't even drink anymore. And I have no need for online dating or hookups. Which is good. But I live in Chicago, where I can get real tacos made by real cooks from Mexico on real corn tortillas made fresh locally by Mexican immigrants as easily as New Yorkers can get slices of pizza.

Life is good.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:37 AM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


And then there’s sports, the ultimate “define yourself through pop culture stuff”.

I've pointed out the similarity of going to a sporting event wearing a player's jersey to watching Star Wars dressed as a Jedi. Sports fans generally don't see it the way I do.

And I've pointed out that the Chicago Cubs are now a fundraising apparatus of the Republican party, which also gets me negativity. But seriously, fuck the Cubs.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:41 AM on July 27, 2019 [7 favorites]


Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge

What a curiously-named law firm.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:02 PM on July 27, 2019 [28 favorites]


I've pointed out the similarity of going to a sporting event wearing a player's jersey to watching Star Wars dressed as a Jedi. Sports fans generally don't see it the way I do.
My sister, the deadhead who used to follow the band and dressed and drugged and danced accordingly, thinks people who cosplay at cons are laughable.
posted by LindsayIrene at 12:15 PM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


Is suggesting tacos a good way to gently weed out those who are hostile towards immigrants?
posted by davejay at 12:32 PM on July 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


There’s also a number of services, such as VIDA on the high end, that will outsource your profile making and even some of the initial contact/flirting to freelance writers as well as arranging photo shoots and style consultants.

*stares* what? But--it's a relationship--what are you doing to do, have the whole thing be written by ghostwriters the whole time--what?! The point is to--what?!?

I don't understand people at all. Like, I don't--oh my god people with actual dating pools are so weird. The point of the whole goddamn thing is the bit where you find someone who likes you and you build off that shit together, not--

oh my god, my head is just exploding with does not compute shit over this notion. Like, my relationships are byproducts of, of going out and finding people who were maybe theoretically compatible with me and then going out and talking with them and building friendships and talking about what we wanted and whether we wanted to do XY and Z and thinking about it and--letting things go where they might without expectations--

most people are very clearly not compatible with me, for reasons of sexuality and gender and a number of other things, but I don't understand at all how people who have such a wide pool of potential options for people who might suit them (or might not) manage to artificially narrow their pools to the point that almost everyone seems panicky and desperate, and people are busily ranking each other on some kind of, some kind of scale of "goodness" instead of looking for someone who is decent to talk to and wants to meet you in the middle and try. It's just--it's so weird to me.
posted by sciatrix at 12:44 PM on July 27, 2019 [9 favorites]


Tacos are a completely cromulent first date idea. This does not deserve the snark. TEAM TACOS.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:45 PM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


I don't understand people at all.

Hey now, if you want a lot of messages you send a lot of messages and why not outsource the awkward first few chats to someone who has all day to do it and a team behind them and statistics on effective responses and opening lines - why you may be messaging with five different people at once before you get an in-person meeting. And you want your photos to have high engagement right? Better rent a puppy, puppies get a lot of eyeballs.

and Tacos, it seems.
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


but why do you need a lot of messages, sending out a few at a time and seeing if any of those get hits would make so much more sense

ashghlf people
posted by sciatrix at 1:15 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


So cute when they talk about the 'best' of any kind of Mexican food as something you can get in the U.S.

I'm aware that Mexico exists but surely the regional food variants in the parts of the U.S. that used to be Mexico have their own legitimacy?
posted by atoxyl at 1:44 PM on July 27, 2019 [8 favorites]


people are busily ranking each other on some kind of, some kind of scale of "goodness"

Unfortunately, it's the apps themselves that do that. Seriously: if you don't match with enough people on Tinder, an algorithm determines that you're objectively less attractive, and will stop showing you to attractive people. Even if you're only not matching with people because you have specific niche interests, or something.

That's why you end up with all these weird conventions and shorthands and stuff. You have to fit in or fail out. Sometimes it can sort of be explained, in that you can be like "well, guys who don't have pictures of themselves with female friends might be weird loners." But the algorithm also punishes Black women and people with different body types; common biases against certain people lead to fewer matches, which look the same to the algorithm as if they were just objectively not attractive. Sooo Black women, certain body types, people with too many tattoos, you name it, get ranked lower (less attractive, according to the app) and shown to fewer people. Some people can figure out the system and make it work to their advantage, but some people simply can't, because there's nothing truly natural about any of this. It's not like meeting someone and hitting it off; you have to market yourself on all these different axes, some of which you have no control over. Anyone who says "it's so easy!" really just means that it was easy for them because they didn't have to change too much to make it work.

So on the one hand it's super gross to hire someone to flirt for you. I mean, that's like peak capitalism wrapped up in textbook toxicity. On the other hand, it's kind of an industry of loneliness from top to bottom.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:45 PM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


JERRY: Elaine, what percentage of people would you say are good-looking?

ELAINE: Twenty-five percent.

JERRY: Twenty-five percent, you say? No way! It's like four to six percent. It's a twenty-to-one shot.

ELAINE: You're way off.

JERRY: Way off? Have you been to the motor vehicle bureau? It's like a leper colony down there.

ELAINE: So what you are saying is that 90 to 95 percent of the population is undateable?

JERRY: UNDATEABLE!

ELAINE: Then how are all these people getting together?

JERRY: Alcohol.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:58 PM on July 27, 2019 [7 favorites]


So basically all these systems are "the ten most normatively hot people date each other while everyone else's profiles are functionally deactivated". Someone had kindly explained this to me another time on here but I'd blocked it out.

This is sort of like how there are lots of fat people but very few stores carry large-sized clothes, right? Sometimes you forget how strong the ideological portion of capitalism is, that it's not just about making money.
posted by Frowner at 2:02 PM on July 27, 2019 [13 favorites]


So explain to me why the corn tortillas that carry tasty taco fillings are so yucky. At least every single place in the Bay Area where I have eaten tacos. Maybe it's like cilantro (which I love) and there is some kind of anti-corn-tortilla gene or combo I have inherited. Fried corn tortilla? No problem. Yummy. But the damp, sad-ass discs that get handed to me really are just a delivery vehicle for the rest of the taco, IMHO.

Also, I remember the OKC taco era and remember being surprised at how many folks just went along with it. I'm looking at you, SexyMan-taco!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


In other news, I promise that Swedes on Tinder are not invoking tacos. So travel outside the US and you probably will not face this issue.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:27 PM on July 27, 2019


Tacos: The bacon of the late 2010s.
posted by softlord at 2:29 PM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


But what's the Swedish Tindertaco equivalent?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:12 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well.
posted by twentyfeetof tacos at 6:07 AM on July 27


...oh, shit, right
posted by taquito sunrise at 3:52 PM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


Frowner: "Every time I read about conventions of internet dating it becomes clearer and clearer to me that my dating days are over. It makes me feel panicky just reading about having to figure out how to convey that I am quirky but normal and not accidentally say anything to weird.

The internet is such a huge norming agent; it gets me down.
"

I'm there with you, but from the other end: By expanding the circle of people you encounter from a reasonable number to five bazillion, it's no longer okay to be normal. You have to be unique! And quirky! And motivated! And creative!

The fact of the matter, though, is that most people are just basically normal. Everyone has their little variances from the norm, but we aren't all artists and visionaries and pioneers. But when you're competing with everyone in your entire city, "normal" doesn't cut it. You've got to stand out!

Luckily, my dating days are behind me, because as a pretty normal dude, the online dating scene would be a nightmare. I'd probably resort to mentioning a food or a TV show or something else I like, and people would write articles about how boring I am and make videos parodying me.
posted by Bugbread at 4:02 PM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


Bella Donna: "So explain to me why the corn tortillas that carry tasty taco fillings are so yucky."

Unlike cilantro, with the actual physical differences in taste perception, I don't think there's any real reason for disliking non-crispy corn tortillas, but I am right. there. with. you. Taste is subjective, so I don't think people who like them are wrong. If anything, I envy them. But for me, soft corn tortillas are ugh.
posted by Bugbread at 4:05 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


The fact of the matter, though, is that most people are just basically normal. Everyone has their little variances from the norm, but we aren't all artists and visionaries and pioneers. But when you're competing with everyone in your entire city, "normal" doesn't cut it. You've got to stand out!

No, not exactly that kind of "norming"...more like everyone having the same expectations for behavior and what people like, so it's good to like tacos and bad to have fairy lights....but not for any thought-out reason, just because we've all learned From The Internet that this is what one is supposed to be like. The internet as a guide to living and speaking.

An example from my little corner: Did you know that women having very short straight bangs is bad? Like, riot grrrl bangs or Betty Page bangs or fifties bangs? It's bad because certain trans-excluding radical feminists who are famous on the internet (and are actually though for real bad people) have such bangs. So they're called "TERF bangs" and people make fun of them, and periodically someone will pop up in my twitter feed being all "lol I saw someone with TERF bangs at the coffee shop today gross". And it's stupid even for the internet - there's no aesthetic theory, there's not even a majority of TERFs with this kind of bang, there's nothing wrong with the haircut, it's just people picking up a received idea on the internet. And if pressed, people would pretend that they're joking, but they actually think for no defensible reason that this is a bad haircut because the internet is dumb like that.

That's kind of the norming function that I see - where people do and think things for no goddamn reason at all except that "everyone" thinks that way on twitter. Now obviously this is not new, but the nature of the internet means that it's pervasive and powerful in a way that, eg, a print magazine isn't.

So a lot of the time you're dealing with people whose preferences and beliefs are based on absolutely fuck-all - not even based on ignorance or ressentiment or something! - but are very firmly held, and it gets me down.

It's not that everyone needs to be, like pursuing excellence or a dreamer of dreams or whatever, more that it's nice when people actually think their thoughts.
posted by Frowner at 4:16 PM on July 27, 2019 [13 favorites]


Is suggesting tacos a good way to gently weed out those who are hostile towards immigrants?

It is not. This is so far from evidence that somebody isn't racist that it is basically on the same level as a white person saying "I'm not racist". Please remember the Trump taco salad incident. There are plenty of racists who think that having Taco Tuesday is evidence for how they definitely don't really hate Mexicans, no matter what policies the politicians they vote for support. It doesn't actually work that way. Tacos are exactly the sort of food that white people think makes them enlightened, while they continue to avoid anything that might lead to them living near or socializing with Hispanic people regularly.

I'm so tired.
posted by Sequence at 4:47 PM on July 27, 2019 [15 favorites]


Frowner, I hear you, but I think you're forgetting how shitty media used to be. Baby Got Back was in large part about the fact that literally everyone was expected to have a super flat ass, for example. Now you can just unfollow the TERF bang people (I suggest it!) and voila, everyone gets to have whatever bangs they want!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:19 PM on July 27, 2019


Sequence: "Tacos are exactly the sort of food that white people think makes them enlightened"

So, growing up in Texas, but in Houston, the position of Texas has always been a bit odd for me. It's rare for me to read something that people find odd about Texas and think, "What? No, that's totally normal." Instead, people will talk about something odd about Texas, and I'll think, "Yes, I agree that is odd. Most Houstonians would find that odd."

This is one of the few very times that I feel Texan, because this sentence...is so crazy. It's like someone said "sitting on sofas is exactly the sort of thing that New Zealanders think makes them enlightened." My instinctual reaction would be "But...everyone sits on sofas, right? Who would find sitting on a sofa to be enlightened?"

The analytical part of me realizes that tacos don't occupy the same position throughout the U.S., but the instinctual part of me just says "tacos? enlightened?? whuh???"
posted by Bugbread at 5:22 PM on July 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


> Saying "do you wanna go out for tacos?" is fundamentally different than saying "do you wanna go out for sandwiches?"

Or is it...
posted by leppert at 6:13 PM on July 27, 2019


If you think people in Texas don't think that the fact that they are surrounded by Hispanic culture and eating the food and whatnot means that they're basically fine with Hispanic people even though they keep voting in people who want the worst possible things for them both in their state and elsewhere, like, I don't know what to tell you about that, because it is definitely a thing that I have seen in people from Texas and elsewhere in the southwest. It's just that people in those areas also do it with lots of other things, whereas people in the midwest mostly do it with tacos and margaritas.
posted by Sequence at 6:28 PM on July 27, 2019 [8 favorites]


If you think there aren't tons of people in Texas who love Mexican food while being unabashed racists who make no pretense of being enlightened, I don't know what to tell you about that, because it's definitely common in Texas. Tacos are totally orthogonal, like sitting on sofas.
posted by Bugbread at 6:45 PM on July 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


Note that I did not say that there are not any other kinds of racists.
posted by Sequence at 7:20 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


The analytical part of me realizes that tacos don't occupy the same position throughout the U.S., but the instinctual part of me just says "tacos? enlightened?? whuh???"
Well, Minnesota is only not the anti-Texas because there are so many dimensions the state space (see what I did there?), but I would say the same thing here in the Land of a Thousand Lakes. I think—as others have said—tacos in the US are pretty much orthogonal to “enlightenment” (or, “agreement with my politics,” as I think we really mean).
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:36 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think the tacos thing is--well, a derail. Generally speaking, an appreciation the aesthetics of any given culture (art, cuisine, fashion, etc.) doesn't... really make racism any less likely, and the same is true for tacos. White people have always been quite happy to take the aesthetics and reject both the people and the whole culture wholesale. Being in Texas myself, I can see going "wait, white people elsewhere think tacos are, like, a signifier of how broad-minded you are? what the hell?" but... well, yeah, man, regional cuisines are a thing in the US and the culinary aesthetic influences are different all over the place.

That's all more or less beside the point that signaling aesthetic tastes is in no way a good indicator to racism or not-racism, and I don't think that white people generally read it that way when talking amongst ourselves either. God knows that no one thinks, say, the unwashed white guy in the Pikachu hat trying to bring his katana into the Costco is necessarily signaling that he's super nonracist towards the Japanese, or Japanese-Americans, or Asian Americans in general--and his self-assessment of his own racism ain't necessarily going to be the most accurate, either.
posted by sciatrix at 7:36 PM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


Great, now I'm craving school lunch taco boats with government cheese.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:28 PM on July 27, 2019


First it’s Oxford commas, now it’s tacos. I can’t keep up.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:57 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sciatrix phrased it better than I did. It's not that racists don't use cards like the "I have a black friend!" or "I like tacos!" cards. They do. But I can't imagine Texans seeing "I like tacos" on its own in a profile and thinking (correctly or incorrectly) "oh, good, this person is immigrant-friendly," which was the genesis of this discussion particular discussion. It would have to be paired with something else, like "People have accused me of being racist against Mexicans, but I love Mexican culture. For example..."

Other, more "indie" stuff? Sure. Mole sauce would work, for example. Tamarind candies as well. Stuff that proclaims "I'm down with Mexican culture." But not tacos.
posted by Bugbread at 9:42 PM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Are tacos even considered “ethnic food” any more? Haven’t they been fully assimilated, like spaghetti?
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:49 PM on July 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


Is this a California thing? Because if not, there’s something deeply sad about people being obsessed with tacos in places where you can’t actually get a decent taco.
posted by panama joe at 12:23 AM on July 28, 2019


Long, LONG ago, when online dating was still mostly on Usenet and Craigslist, I saw an ad that said “I try to live life as authentically as possible and am looking for someone who does the same.” Like a professed love of travel, you still see that a lot these days.

It seems to me that even though the shortcuts used to signify “authenticity” have changed radically over the last two decades, online dating culture is still torn between a lust for “authentic living”—keeping connections to centuries-old traditions, childlike exploration and surprise at the world around us, just having fun—and a need to ignore that authenticity is socially and economically constructed, that traditional methods arose because other methods tended to raise the mortality rate, and that the ticks of our biological clocks, whether we intend to have children or not, increasingly sound like piledrivers or gunfire, rendering “fun” deadly serious.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:27 AM on July 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


As America is essentially based in Protestant Notions of work ethic I would say that the most American instinct is to prevent yourself from having fun by turning it into homework
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 AM on July 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Are tacos even considered “ethnic food” any more? Haven’t they been fully assimilated, like spaghetti?

I can think of lots of tacos that are still considered ethnic food in the USA: cow brain tacos, tripe tacos, lengua tacos, etc. I don't think that tacos have been assimilated as much as they've been "Californiapizzakitchen-ized", which is to say, that taco (at least in the USA) now can mean anything from "tacos that people in Mexico* eat in Mexico*" to "tacos that are similar to the tacos those found in Mexico*" to "pretty much anything you want to put inside a tortilla". I mean, there's places in my town that serve fried chicken with pineapple coleslaw and ranch dressing in a tortilla, and there's no good word other than "taco" to describe that.

*or other country where tacos are a traditional food
posted by 23skidoo at 12:53 PM on July 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


That's a good point, 23skidoo. I was thinking of Taco Tuesday!!! Wooo!!!! but maybe the Tindertacos are implied to be more interesting and that the eater of them is more authentic and interesting and aware etc.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2019


Enjoying food from a particular culture and not doing anything else to understand the culture -- like hang out with and talk to the people on a genuine level from that culture-- is superficial at best. That's why it's so annoying when well-meaning but ignorant people want to celebrate diversity through holidays and food but not take the time to learn anything more or to understand the way other cultures do things and their values. So, of course you can't judge someone as being open-minded or not based solely on whether they love tacos or not.
posted by jj's.mama at 10:30 PM on July 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Heh. I remember puzzling over the word tacos at the end of a fantasy novel I'd absolutely loved, back in 1989. In context, it was clearly the answer to a question about what people in our world eat, not part of the fantasy element of the book. But I was 12, and British, and I'd never seen the word before, and it wasn't in my dictionary, and I didn't know if it was a singular or a plural, and I wasn't even sure how to pronounce it, because that's not a standard English word ending. Mystifying.

(Thirty years later and I've still never eaten one, but at least I don't trip over the word any more.)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:44 AM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


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