The next day, as he was leaving for school, mama told Max to invite one of his friends to their next Sunday dinner, as American families did on television.
Max thought about his friends: Thaddeus, with his loose curly Afro and his enameled nails and his eyeliner; Chloe with her dreadlocks and her pierced eyebrow; Peter and Francis, who were respectable and buttoned-down but all too plainly a couple, and they did come as a pair, which he knew his father and brothers would definitely not approve. Then there was Alan, with whom he’d had a rather fraught romance. Alan was at least as respectable as Peter or Francis, who were both business students at the U and wore suits and ties to class, and Max was, well, Max, with blue hair and a second-hand green-and-gold kimono from Ragstock (a woman’s kimono, Alan told him somewhat sniffily).
Erika was the most respectable of the lot. She was an aspiring civil engineer and she helped him with trigonometry.