Órale, the Caló word for this episode is ‘morra.’ It means girlfriend. It implies mutual attraction, but it’s gender specific. The masculine counterpart, morro, means alternatively dandy and old man. A term that is often used inaccurately in place of morra is ruca, which means wildflower woman, but it implies a one-way opportunistic relationship. In other words, a vato pursues a ruca but not to be a morra.
By Oscar “El Marfa” Rodriguez
It was cold and windy outside the Oasis Night Club in OJ close to midnight. Boy and two of his cousins from OJ were whiling away the time in their uncle’s truck waiting for the New Year’s Eve finale. Conversation between the teenagers dragged because they hadn’t seen each other in a long time and their realties had diverged.
Even their language was growing apart. At this point, the most they had in common was their interest in girls.
“How much longer until midnight?” asked Elmer in Spanish.
“Almost an hour,” responded his older brother Ervey in the same language.
“You sure we can get back in?” asked Boy.
“Sí. That’s what that ribbon around your wrist is about,” said Elmer, the oldest of the three in the pickup.
Boy looked at the thin red silk ribbon tied snug on his wrist.
“And the girls get pink?” he asked.
“Claro, vato. That’s how you can tell them apart. Remember, if it’s red…” said Ervey.
“Órale,” interrupted Boy.
His cousins chuckled.
“And the rucas will kiss you at midnight?” asked Boy.
His cousins looked at each other.
“Not if you call them rucas,” said Ervey.
“You vatos from the other side don’t know how to treat women. You treat them all as rucas. Here they’re treated like morras, like you want them to be your morra,” said Elmer.
“Same thing,” said Boy.
“No it’s not,” insisted Elmer.
“It’s disrespectful to call a woman ruca over here,” said Ervey.
“Sí. No girl’s going to kiss you if you call her ruca,” said Elmer.
“Pos I’m not going call them anything, just kiss,” said Boy.
“Qué? No we’re just going after kisses when the lights go off?”
“No talking at all. I’m thinking the rucas just want to kiss too. Why not? That’s what I’m doing.”
“You’re not understanding,” said Elmer.
“So it’s about making girlfriends?” asked Boy, a little concerned he was out of the loop.
“No. It’s about approaching them. They’re more likely to kiss you if you respect them,” said Elmer.
“Funny. You’re going to respect them by treating them like a morra so they’ll kiss you, then you’ll treat them like a ruca. They don’t know that already?” asked Boy.
The boys went silent as they spotted their conceited cousin from Chihuahua City, Junior, walking by. The boys froze hoping the shadows in the truck would hide them.
Junior walked by without hesitating.
“What a ruco,” said Boy.
“Pos, watcha girls are going to think he’s looking for a morra and kiss him,” said Ervey.
“Oh, sí, very respectful,” said Boy sarcastically.
“I’m going to watch that ruco alright. And make sure I go the other direction else they’ll think I’m like him.”