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Fri09182020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Dear Mexican: Why don’t Mexicans tip decently? I labor as a waitress in a local upscale steakhouse where, unfortunately, many Mexicans eat—and the lousy tips are starting to piss me off! Even blacks tip better! (Although, I gotta say, Mexicans are much easier to wait on. No constant requests for “So’ mo’ ranch dressin’.”) And yes: I always give good service on the one-in-a-million chance the brown-skinned loser sitting at my table isn’t a complete social retard.

Could you possibly pass the word along so I can quit spitting in their drinks?

Waits on Too Many Wabs

Dear Gabacho: Let’s consult the findings of Cornell University professor Michael Lynn, the country’s premier scholar on tipping. In a 2003 study titled “Ethnic Differences in Tipping: Evidence, Explanations and Implications,” Lynn examined the long-standing claims by waiters that minorities tip less than gabachos. He analyzed the responses of nearly 2,000 eaters in Houston and found that not only did “Hispanics” (Mexicans, really, since Houston’s Latino community is nearly three-quarters Mexican) tip as well as gabachos; they usually tipped better. Mexicans, according to Lynn, “increased their percentage tips with service … more than did whites.”

Lynn offered no explanation for his findings, but I will: Mexicans leave a little extra not out of a perceived social obligation, but for a job well done—which includes how caliente the chica is. Most Mexican restaurants force their waitresses to wear skirts just below the culo and blouses with a neckline that plunges like the American auto industry. Mexicans tip accordingly—I’ve been to dives where Mexican men will tip three times their $40 bill if the waitress jiggles just a little bit longer. When Mexicans go to eateries where the waitresses dress more conservatively, the tips usually dry up.

Want a little extra, Too Many Wabs? Bring us a bottle of Tapatío—not Tabasco—without prompting. And get some ass implants.

Why do Mexicans pronounce “shower” as “chower,” but “chicken” as “shicken”?

Vietnamese About to Orate

Dear Chinito: This column has provided readers with many indicators of the differences between recently arrived Mexicans and los que have lived here for generations: skin tone, car purchases, whether the Mexican in question flushes his soiled toilet paper or tosses it in the trash can, etc. Another sure-fire way is the ch/sh phonetic test.

Proper Spanish doesn’t feature a “sh” sound (known among linguists as a linguapalatal fricative), so Mexicans pronounce English words using an “sh” sound with the harsher “ch” (known as a lingualveolar affricate). However, many indigenous Mexican tongues use linguapalatal fricatives. The most famous example is in the original pronunciation of Mexico: As said in Nahuatl, the word sounds like “meh-shee-ko.” The Spaniards couldn’t pronounce the middle consonant, though, instead substituting a guttural “j” (as in “Meh-hee-ko”) early in the Conquest. They killed most of Mexico’s Indians in the ensuing decades, but the indigenous “sh” sound never wholly disappeared.

If you do hear a Mexican using “sh,” it’s probably a Mexican Indian. So the next time you hear a Mexican ask for a “Shinese shicken sandwish with Sheddar sheese,” VATO, por favor, don’t shortle.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Grammar question/rant: If Spanglish is a legitimate dialect/language, why do you feel the need to italicize every instance of code-switching? I seriously doubt that when you speak, you emphasize every puta palabra (emphasis intended here), but that's what your articles read like.

We all know that you are speaking Spanglish—not a foreign language—so tell the gabacho (no emphasis intended here) editors to back off and let you use italics for what they are intended for: emphasis.

Strunk and Brown

Dear Wab: Gracias for thinking that Spanglish is a legitimate form of communication—you just made the custodians of Cervantes and shepherds of Shakespeare get angrier than Joe Arpayaso surrounded by a group of Mexicans!

But we’re talking two separate cosas here. My linguistic goal with this columna isn’t for America to accept Spanglish, but for American English and its speakers to pick up more Spanish words so that one day, I won’t have to use italics on said words to differentiate their otherness. It’s happened over the decades: At one point, editors italicized Spanish words like amigo, tequila, fiesta and siesta, because they were foreign concepts to gabacho audiences, but the words were used enough so that we no longer italicize them.

Think of it as a linguistic Reconquista, of Latin slowly beating down English’s Germanic influences! The only way to teach an audience a new palabra, then, is to signify a code switch via the italics, but I make sure to use simple Spanish words that can possibly gain wider currency—gabacho, pendejo, desmadre—and eventually assimilate into the American lingua franca and cultura.

And I don’t have to worry about any gabacho editors telling me when to use italics and when I can’t—I’m the pinche Mexican, for crying out loud. But even this cabrón cannot persuade the unforgiving pen of his copy editor, who can make the most grizzled reporter tremble with just a flash of the red pluma.

Do you have any idea why Univisión and Telemundo look so much sharper and better than any other high-definition programming on any other channel? They looked better even before HD was en vogue. My guess is that they don't use filters that everyone else uses.

Techie Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: The same reason porn is always at the forefront of technology: Gotta make those chichis shine!

I just learned that Nueva Vizcaya was “settled” by Basques, and it got me to thinking: Are there any noticeable regional differences in Mexico based on the regions in Spain where the original Spaniards came from? If so, where can I read more about it?

Euskadi Enthusiast

Dear Gabacho: Nueva Vizcaya, of course, refers to the province of New Spain that nowadays roughly encompasses Chihuahua and Durango, and parts of Sonora, Sinaloa and other northern Mexico states, and was named by the Basque explorer Francisco de Ibarra after Biscay. Other Spanish explorers also named provinces in New Spain after their home regions—Nuevo Galicia, Nuevo León (which the modern-day Mexican state is named after) and the awesomely titled Nuevo Santander, after the city in the kingdom of Cantabria.

But in terms of large-scale regional Spanish migration to particular areas of Mexico during the era of the Conquistadors, the Mexican is going to have to plead partial mestizaje on this one. The most famous mass settling of particular groups happened in what’s now the United States—Canary Islanders in San Antonio, and marranos (crytpo-Jews) in New Mexico—while outside of northern Mexico and its concentration of Garzas, most of the other Spaniards just melted into the pozole. All the early Spanish immigrants ultimately left as a legacy in Mexico was Spanish, surnames and a taste for ultra-violence.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican