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
DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a pocha, and my husband is a gabacho. (By the way, we loved your explanation in your book on why Mexicans and Irish get along so well—it really explained a lot about our marriage.) We had the rehearsal dinner for our wedding catered by one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. Two guests from Santa Fe thought our choice of caterer was hysterical because the restaurant is called Sancho's. They explained to us that in Santa Fe, a sancho is a "back-door man." I had never heard this before. Is sancho a term just in Santa Fe, or among all Mexicans (except for, apparently, me)?
Don't Need No Sanchos
DEAR POCHA: I know all the perverted sexual euphemisms out there, from the infamous Dirty Sanchez to even the Angry Dragon, and yes, sancho is Mexican Spanish slang for the other man in a relationship—in other words, the man whom a husband or boyfriend knows his mujer is cheating with when said husband or boyfriend isn't around (the female equivalent is sancha). The palabra comes from a Mexican Spanish farming term for a "male animal raised by a female animal that isn't its mother," according to the definition offered by the Real Academia Española (RAE), the world's much-fabled custodians of Cervantes (they've not yet, for instance, recognized the term chúntaro to describe country bumpkins). It's a perfect description of a cheater; after all, the woman is taking care of someone who's not hers. The mystery for the Mexican, though, is why sancho—which is also a proper name à la Sancho Panza—took on such a strange meaning. The RAE only says it comes from sanch, which they say is the call used to round up pigs. The Mexican thinks the researcher who wrote that etymology had his sancha underneath his desk when brushing up THAT entry. . . .
* * *
DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a white middle-class guy from a part of the country that very obviously used to be Mexico—and might again someday, if some people get their way. I don't think it was any accident that my forebears ended up where they did—I'm proudly told we have a long pattern of being less-white white people. But that does not mean people in my family do not grow up to wear American Eagle and name their children things such as Harper, Logan and Madison. They are also white in that they are stuck up! When I moved to Denver, I called my second cousin to hang out. I was very friendly with most of that side, and our dads grew up together in New Mexico. Well, we did not hang out because she thought I was calling up to date her.
Mexican, I am sad. Not sad that my stuck-up cousin won't hang out with or date me, but that we went from being so interesting to so sterile. I understand white people who wish they were ethnic, but I don't know that I'm qualified to get a tattoo of the Virgin. Some white people shave half their hair and join other white people who want to be more "real" or more "gutter" or something, but I may not join them because most of them are also named Logan and Harper. What can a white guy do to take a stand for decency and hang on to whatever is left?
Whitey Ain't Good Enough
DEAR GABACHO: Who says you're not ethnic? Trying to mack on your second cousin is a VERY Mexican thing to do! Mexicans encourage gabachos to be proud of their ethnic heritage just as we are, whether you're a mick, honky, limey, goombah, squarehead, armo, ruski or whatever chingada slur is used against Croats. That's different than expressing general "white pride," a term loaded with supremacist overtones, undertones and every tone except sense.