EpiloguE
T-shirts coat the torso, membranes made up of combinations of cotton or
other textiles to shield while adapting to one’s figure, hinting at the possible
rewards of the flesh they cover. Their outer surfaces are as often empty as
they are graced with a graphic, text, or combination of the two in order to
make a point, crack a joke, or signal the wearer’s thoughts, preferences, or
politics.
Still, the shirt with the word buggaron that is the face of this epilogue
does not operate as a regular T-shirt, even though it was advertised in one of
the sites catering to the needs of gay men of color traveling to the Domini-
can Republic. I was baffled to encounter it as I surfed on this site: baffled
at the easy way in which this word was rendered equivalent to others in the
shirts advertised (e.g., famoso, moreno), as if the significations of this first
word made this shirt as wearable as the others. buggaron pride?
Who would wear this shirt, I wondered? The young Dominican sex work-
ers? Their clients? Where would one wear such a garment? In the Domini-
can Republic? In New York? I could not imagine any of the men with whom
I spoke wearing this shirt. But maybe I am missing something here.
I hope someone will explain what.
Something else captured my attention: buggaron is an Anglicism of the
Spanish word bugarrón. I began to hear the sound modulations, the disap-
pearing rolling of the r, and the doubling of the g. For a word that traveled
from the French bougre, through the English bugger (bugger on?!), to the
Spanish bugarrón, going back to the Anglicized pronunciation may be the
completion of a cycle, one that returns the word to travel and to U.S. empire,
even if the person who now pronounces it, who buys and maybe even wears
the shirt, looks like the men this word is supposed to name. What a whirl of
worlds in these words, all held together through this sliding through inflec-
tions, through commodities that can be bought but not worn, through con-
nections that cannot be fully articulated. There is historicity in this motion
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