By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Illustration by Mark DancyDearMexican,
My wife doesn't understand, and I'm not sure I do either. I'm agringo, but all my friends are Mex. I eat Mex food almost exclusively. I watch Mex TV. I speak Spanish as much as possible. And I listen to Mex music. I have tried to make myself moregringo, but it doesn't seem to work. When I have time off from work, I often find myself flying to Monterrey or Mexico City to visit friends from high school. What should I do?
How can a white girl like me become amexicana?
Dear Gabachoy Gabacha,
Both of you suffer from Edward James Olmos Disease, an affliction caused when gabachoswatch too many positive portrayals of Mexicans on film and television and thus think our life is one spent fighting racism, sharing a house with 17 strangers, shooing a burro from the kitchen, and sweating through peso-paying jobs, but all of that is okay because we have familiaand gabachosdon't, so that's why Mexicans are such noble people, and shouldn't gabachoscare about familia, too? The remedy to this malady: livelike a Mexican. Confused Gringo: rent an apartment in a barrio for a week—hell, even a day. I guarantee you the potholes, loitering cholosand regular police-helicopter flybys will have you praising God for that güeroskin of yours. And who ever told you being a Mexican mujeris great, Wannabe? From the day she is born, a mexicana's life is war. Not only must she deal with a mom who thinks any daughter who returns from a date at 10 p.m. is pregnant five times over, but a mexicanaalso must live under the tyranny of machismo.A macho father. Macho brothers. Macho male friends. Macho boyfriends. Macho professors. Macho society. Macho strangers. Macho columnists who don't bother to interview Mexican women in a column about Mexican femininity. That's why so many Mexican women try to be gabachas—explains the bleached hair, the light makeup, the successful Newport Beach boyfriend. Besides, why do you think Mexican women are attending college in record numbers? Because of the homemaking classes?
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym,por favor, or we'll make one up for you!