DEAR MEXICAN: I’ve always wondered during my travels in Mexico why Mexicans paint the bark of their trees white. I’ve heard that it helps with controlling pests and that it helps to protect young trees from sunburn. Can you please tell me the correct reason why this practice is followed? Trees are much more attractive when you leave them in their natural state and natural color.
DEAR GABACHA: What you heard is right. Also? Trees are much more attractive when they’re alive instead of dead.
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DEAR MEXICAN: Why do white guys still think it’s cute to call a Latina “spicy”?
DEAR POCHA: The term hasn’t just been applied to mexicanas; I’ve found newspaper clippings from 1866 hailing the virtues of a “spicy woman.” But referring to the better sex by her hotness is almost universally applied nowadays to Mexican mujeres. The answer is obvious: It has been ingrained in the American consciousness ever since gabachos discovered our women and chiles and decided they wanted chiles in their mouths and our women on their puny chiles. In that light, it’s easy to understand why gaba men still use such antiquated, sexist, racist language: They’re gabachos. It’s like asking why a dog eats its own caca. And now, a quick etymological lesson: The earliest mention I could find of referring to a woman as a “hot tamale” is in a 1909 Philadelphia Star article; the earliest example of the old saw “spicy señorita” happened in a 1919 advertisement in The Seattle Star for a vaudeville show called The Spanish Vamp that promised “A Spicy Dish of Senoritas“; the term “spicy señorita” appears again in a 1940 St. Louis Post-Dispatch ad for Down Argentine Way, a Betty Grable/Don Ameche/Carmen Miranda musical that offered “Spicy Senoritas . . . Sultry Songs . . . in the South American Way!” And, sí, in the latter two shows, there is no tilde over “senorita” because tildes weren’t invented for the English language until 1978.
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DEAR MEXICAN: Why are all Mexicans so hardheaded? I was working a promotion last fall at Reliant Stadium for the Fiestas Patrias, and in the process of the event, I came to realize that Mexican people just won’t understand the meaning of “I can’t” or “No.” These people wouldn’t understand I couldn’t give them a shirt from the Mexican soccer team, that it was only for people who would activate a phone. They also kept begging us to give them backpacks after we had run out of them. I would tell them “Wey, ya no tenemos, en serio,” and that Mexican would repeat “Sí, wey, sí tienes. Ándale, dame una para mi hijo. Tu puedes.” At that point, I came to think, “What the fuck is wrong with us? Why can’t we understand?” Explain to me why!
I’ve Done Half the Fifth Ward
DEAR POCHO: And you know the dad wanted the backpack for himself, amiright? Mexicans are stubborn because that’s the only way to cope with life when you have little else. But I’m also noticing another Mexi tendency here: our knowledge that everyone’s always on the take, that all you need to know to get what you want are the right palabras or have the right amount of cash, and you can get most anything. And we learned that from the best source imaginable: American electoral politics, which makes Mexico’s PRI oligarchy resemble Jimmy Stewart’s character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.