1001 Black Men–#494




















It’s nice being back at Zocalo. It’s one of my go-to cafes when I have serious writing and editing to do. It’s airy and bright, the staff is really friendly, and there are always plenty of places to plug in your laptop. Also, I enjoy the diversity of people I see there. It’s not just that there are lots of people of different ethnicities. It’s also that there are a lot of different occupations, ages, sexualities, genders, and classes represented within each of the many ethnicities I’ve observed there. This slim, young guy in this drawing was waiting patiently (more patiently than I was), while the person ahead of us was getting some sort of fancy coffee drink made. Since I don’t drink coffee, anything that takes more than a simple pour from pot to cup seems pretty fancy. I, by contrast, tend to stick with the basics—a bottle of sparkling water or a hot tea. When it was his turn, the man in this drawing didn’t really seem to care what he ordered. “I’ll take a cup of the regular,” he said. When the woman at the counter asked if he meant coffee, this guy said, “sure, if that’s what you’ve got.” I’m not sure if the man in this picture really wanted a beverage. Perhaps he just needed it to justify the three pastries he was purchasing. Personally, I think he had nothing to be ashamed of. Within any luck, they’ll put a little weight on him. It wouldn’t hurt.

Ajuan Mance

PS: Was that a bad thing to say? Was I “body policing”? I’d never heard it quite phrased that way until last night, and now I’m wondering if that’s what I’m doing here. It would be really rude of me to say that someone needed to lose weight, but is it equally problematic for me to suggest that someone could stand to gain a little? What if it was a woman? Would that be worse? This is definitely a case of projecting my body standards onto the subject of my drawing … but, then again, isn’t it only really a problem when I let my ideas about what’s beautiful and what isn’t limit the types of people I draw?

494 drawings down, and I think I’m becoming a little neurotic …


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