!Ask a Mexican!

Dear Mexican,

Can you tell me the meaning of the word "aguacate"? All I know about this delicious fruit is that it originated on this continent.

Guacamole Man

Dear Gabacho,

"Aguacate" is the Spanish word for avocado, but its Nahuatl meaning is more rustic: balls. According to Ana María de Benítez's 1974 classic, Pre-Hispanic Cooking, "The name aguacate (avocado) comes from Ahuaca Cuahuitl, ahuacatlmeaning testicle and cuahuitlmeaning tree, hence: tree of testicles." A Freudian might argue, then, that guacamole is castration gone gourmet. Women prepare it so they can symbolically crush the macho huevosthat keep them repressed; Mexican hombres scarf it down in the belief that they'll become manlier. And the popularity of guacamole amongst gabachos—the California Avocado Commission estimates that consumers purchase 40 million pounds of their cash crop during Super Bowl weekend alone—is actually an American plot to de-ball the Mexican nation. Then again, an avocado might just be an avocado: a wrinkly—and sure, testicular—fruit.

Dear Mexican,

Why do Mexicans have sixteen names? Gilberto Sánchez Ramírez De La Lobos Contreras García De La Concha Gutiérrez is a little too much.

Names Always Come Out (NACO)

Dear Gabacho,

I tried to believe your assertion for a minute, NACO, but it's simply false. In Mexico, we usually go by three names—first name, father's surname and mother's surname. We shorten that to first and last name in los Estados Unidos. But by the time we're scrimping and saving for a new house, we can only afford one name. Think of up-and-coming Mexican celebrities: Pedro, from Napoleon Dynamite. Lupe, the maid from Arrested Development. Rosie, the maid from The O.C.The only tongue-twisting name out there right now among famous Mexicans belongs to Los Angeles Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa, and Tony cheated: he combined his last name, Villar, with his wife's, Raigosa. Again with the Freud: any Mexican who lengthenshis name has father issues—or wants to infuriate gabachosworldwide for daring to have a surname longer than two syllables.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at garellano@ocweekly.com. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we'll make one up for you!


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