In “How to Date a Browngirl

In “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie,” the government cheese is mentioned in order to indicate that the narrator (Yunior) is insecure and afraid to be judged based on his socioeconomic status. When a girl is suppose to come over to Yunior’s house, he “clears the government cheese from the refrigerator” (143), so he’s concealing his social class from the girls by hiding the government cheese and believes that he will be judged harshly by the girl based on his wealth. The sort of girl dictates how well the cheese should be obscured. If the girl is assumed to be affluent based on her race and where she’s from, it is advised to envelope the government cheese excellently and skillfully like “in the cabinet above the oven, way up where she’ll never see” (143), but if the girl is middle-class, mask it in a suitable, decent place like “behind the milk” (143). He veils his poverty to get the best possibilities with a girl because he believes there are expectations that each type of girl has about social class and if they discover that Yunior’s poor, they will see him in a new light and disregard him. Yunior’s mother, however, does not believe that masking your social class is a reasonable way to impress any type of girl and the best way is to just be yourself. After the girl is gone, Yunior disclosed twice to put the “government cheese back in its place before your moms kills you” (149) because he knows his mother will lecture him and that there’s no need to hide your wealth from a girl. By hiding the government cheese, he demonstrates the notion that it’s difficult to be yourself when girls of different races and class have expectations on a man being wealthy.