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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Just Put Your Lips Together And Blow

Illustration for article titled Just Put Your Lips Together And Blow

Our man Eric Nusbaum has a fun piece on the Lucha Libre star wrestler Maximo over at ESPN:

Mexico's professional wrestling tradition, known as lucha libre, is a deeply ingrained part of the national culture. Exóticos have long been a part of that tradition: wrestlers who dress in drag and kiss their rivals, never quite revealing whether the joke is on their opponents, themselves or conservative Mexican society at large. Most working today are gay members of an often ostracized minority for whom lucha libre is a statement of pride, or at least a campy, unrestrained extension of self. But the man who is Maximo isn't gay. He's the father of two boys and husband to a wife, India Sioux, who is also a wrestler. He's also a devout Catholic who prays at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Alvarado, 32, lives with his family in a simple two-bedroom apartment in a working-class neighborhood called San Felipe de Jesus. Next to the front door, in a pink suitcase, are his work clothes — boots, one-shoulder singlets with sewn-on skirts (the color he wears depends on his mood) and Roman warrior-style wristbands. The white leather jacket that he wore the night before hangs casually over the bedroom door, rhinestones catching the sun that shines through the window.

He follows up the beer with a coffee. Alvarado does not have much downtime. Later this morning, he will trek back to Arena México for a workout. After that, he will ride atop a double-decker bus in Mexico City's gay pride parade.

Alvarado talks about Maximo in the third person, but to most of the world, his singular identity is a gay wrestler. Men grope him in nightclubs and ask him to dinner; old ladies call him hija — daughter. The first time Alvarado wrestled on television as Maximo, his mother called his uncle in a panic to ask whether her son was gay. When he first met his wife, she assumed he was gay too.

[Photo Via: the Daily Telegraph]

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