Are Chaperons Still Required When Courting a Mexican Woman

DEAR MEXICAN: In anticipation of the upcoming Reconquista, I've decided that I need a Mexican girlfriend.

A well-known example of Mexican womanhood is Consuelo Velázquez, who wrote “Besame Mucho” when she was 16, but never actually got kissed until she was 25. Clearly the Mexican girl is a shy, delicate, retiring flower who must be approached with restraint and tenderness. Also, there is the tradition of the dueña or chaperon, the female relative or friend who accompanies the girl during her encounters with her boyfriend. As I understand it, the dueña joins the girl in her room at her father's hacienda as the girl talks to her mounted caballero amoroso through the bars that cover her window. Surely, this is an accurate description of modern Mexican courtship.

On the other hand, Mexican girls are spicy señoritas who dance for coins on the tables of cantinas and tempt men into sin with low-cut peasant blouses worn off the shoulder. Furthermore, when I was growing up I heard rumors of something called a Mexican Donkey Show, which somehow combined Mexicans and donkeys in ways that were never clearly explained, but which seemed ripe with possibility to my eagerly inquiring adolescent mind.

In addition, it is well known that all Mexican girls carry razor blades for the purpose of defending their honor. Whether they are defending it against males of the hot-blooded Mexican type or of the coldly calculating Anglo type depends on who's telling the story and isn't important. What matters are la mexicana's warrior traditions and her choice of weapon.

So, my intended is a young woman of virginal sluttiness, a murderously helpless naïf of worldly experience who must be treated with respect and discretion to avoid bruising her tender sensibilities, and also to prevent her from cutting off my balls.

My plan is to lull her into lowering her guard by inviting her to the local symphony when they've scheduled an all-Manuel Ponce night, take her out afterwards and get her drunk on tequila, steal her razor blade, and declare my undying love. This will work because it is every girl's dream of romance to be drunk, defenseless, and at the mercy of an amorous foreigner who doesn't speak her language.

Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans may be undone by insufficient attention to detail, and in inter-cultural relationships such as this one, it is especially important not to violate the norms of Mexican courtship. My question therefore is this: Will the girl's family supply the chaperon, or do I need to rent one for the occasion?

Frito Bandito (Cockney Rhyming Slang for “Amorcito Solito”)

DEAR LIMEY: Your summation of the stereotypes surrounding Mexican mujeres? To quote your people, effen' bloody brilliant, luv! Wish that the dueña system was still around, though—nowadays, all you need is Juanes on your iTunes, and a Mexican woman's chonis melt off faster than ice cream on asphalt.


SHOUT-OUT TO: Metropolitan State University of Denver, which lowered tuition rates for undocumented students who have lived in Denver most of their lives after the Colorado State Legislature refused to pass a bill that would've done the same. I had the honor of speaking at Metro State in 2010 as part of their Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship, and it's awesome to see the university continue in the path of the best Chicano activist the rest of the country has never heard of. Metro State—denle gas!

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