Dear Mexican: I’m a Latina with Mexican parents—well, “parent,” since my father has been non-existent since I was 13, but, you know, you still respect him ’cause he’s your sperm donor.
Anyhoo, the point of this letter: Not only am I a lesbian; my partner is white. We have been together for about a year—in gay years, it’s like 12. She doesn’t get why I’m so close to my family. My partner and I have small arguments (which she likes to call “discussions”) about how Mexicans take advantage of the system. After many “discussions,” we agreed that it’s not just Mexicans who take advantage; it’s any race. They all have them: Whites have white trash; blacks have thugs; and Mexicans have cholos or whatever they go by these days. She sees that my family does take advantage of me, but when push comes to shove, my family is my family, and they will be there for me now as much as they have been there for me in the past, and vice versa.
I’m a little out of “discussions” on how to explain the closeness Mexicans have with their families. The other issue is she wants to learn Spanish and is having a hard time. She doesn’t like to be around my family, because instinct makes us kick into speaking Spanglish or Tex-Mex, and she says it’s like she doesn’t exist, because she only understands a third of the conversation. She says that we all speak English except for my mom, and wonders why we don’t stick to English when my mom is not around. I really have no answer to that question; besides, it’s just instinct to speak Spanish to anyone who speaks Spanish, regardless if they speak English or not. I do feel bad, because I know Spanish is hard to learn, but it’s kind of impossible to not speak it when my mom doesn’t understand English.
So what’s the solution? I really love my white girl and would hate to end up going our separate ways for silly things like this. Any suggestions?
Latin Lesbian in Loss
Dear Pocha: Gabachos will never understand why Mexicans are so close to their family, just like they’ll never understand our love for midgets.
But the bigger issue here is linguistics: If your lover is trying to learn Spanish, why does she get mad when you and your siblings speak en Español? Does she get agüitada when you use the language of love for your almohada talk? There seem to be underlying issues here, so I say dump la pendeja, and move on to a Mexican mujer who will respect your culture.
Don’t forget that gabachas are like that fifth torta de chorizo—seems like a good time at first, but it’ll leave you chingado in the end.
Dear Mexican: I work in a kitchen with many Mexicans, and they often refer to me as “Charlie.” What’s up with Mexicans calling everyone “Charlie”?
Dear Gabacho: Have you heard that story about the gabacho who’s suing a Mario Batali restaurant because he claimed that the Mexican cooks called him “gringo,” “estúpido,” “pendejo” and even a “Chinga tu madre”? The chavala didn’t get what you also don’t seem to understand: Mexican cooks love to bust each other’s balls, and will pile on the insults if you react negatively. It’s working-class culture, and if you can’t take the heat, get out of the cocina, cabrón.
But since the Mexican is ever-magnanimous, here’s a tip: Return the calor by calling your co-workers a below-the-belt insult, like “Rick Bayless.”
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!