¡Ask A Mexican!
By Gustavo Arellano
—My Best Friend is Half-Mexican
Dear Gabacho: You don’t hear the voices of legal immigrants in the illegal-immigration debate? Republicans trot those tokens out all the time—look at Marco Rubio. Plus? I can disprove every single point of yours—just buy my book for details! Finally? You say illegals “has very little effect” on your life, yet you took the time to rant, and used legal immigrants as your cover to do so. That’s like saying you’re concerned for the Mexican janitor when complaining to management about how smelly your coworker’s caca stinks.
I’m an American girl who works at a diner with a lot of very attractive young Mexican men. Most are from the countryside, and only two claim to have been to a large city before moving here. I was constantly cat-called, whistled and winked at by everyone (including the boy whose attention I’ve been trying to get) until one of our cooks (and his friend) told everyone to stay off and that “Ella es MI novia.” He showers me with unwanted gifts and continuously tries to walk me home from work even though he lives in the other direction. I’ve been firm but he still won’t back down. He tells me that he’s the only man from Mexico that I’ll meet that won’t ever cheat on me or try to control me (I am very independent), that any other man from Mexico would not see a problem with sleeping around, and that it is romantic to continue to court and wait for a young woman even if she says no so I should stop trying to stop him. He also sees no problem with our 11-year age gap.
My Spanish is quite good but my understanding of the culture is minimal at best. I understand that the culture is still very macho, especially in the countryside, so I’ve tried to learn more about it. Everything I look up or hear is about how all Mexican men cheat even though I know this is not true. Could you please explain this gap between our culture? Is it truly acceptable to cheat on one’s special other? Why is it romantic to drive a woman crazy?
—Lost in the Gap
Dear Gabacha: What your describing is the culture of pretender, the Mexican courtship ritual where the man is supposed to suffer at the cold shoulder (connected to the heaving bosoms) of his beloved, as best exemplified in the song “Tu Enamorado” or the Maria Félix-Pedro Armendariz classic Enamorada. Just roll with it! And be glad he hasn’t brought back another Mexican courtship ritual—kidnapping.