Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Dear Mexican: I read your column of a couple of years ago about Chicanos loving the Aztecs, and it left me both cracking up and intellectually fortified. In the last portion of the column, you added: “But, hey: If you want to change your name from José González to Nezahualcoyotl Moctezuma and go to sweat lodges on weekends, even though you’re lighter-skinned than a Southern belle, be my guest! I’m sure your ancestors who fought the Aztecs—both indigenous and Hispanic—would’ve approved!”

I really would like to know your opinion about Chican@s appropriating indigenous names. (Well, for me, it’s appropriating.) Every time I go to Facebook and see my friends change their names to things in the Nahuatl language, I cringe. Maybe it’s my own internal struggle, but I see changing your name as a very insignificant. I mean, que ganas con cambiando tu nombre, if you don’t know the language? Or if you do, you probably know some phrases.

I don’t, because to me, yo soy indígena—and I mean by immediate bloodline. I know Zapoteco and I speak it with my family. Pero, you don’t see me or my family changing their names or whatnot. In fact, nosotros nos guardamos nuestra cultura; we don’t parade it to the world. I don’t know; maybe it’s bad to get frustrated by these people changing their names. What are your thoughts?

Tehuana Chingona

Dear Badass Tehuana: Big correction to your boast about zapotecos not showing off their culture: From Día de los Muertos to your Guelaguetza (for gabas, it’s basically a Mexican country fair meets Eurovision) to your spectacular cuisine, Oaxacans are among Mexico’s proudest ambassadors of their native cultura, and aren’t afraid to show it off—and that’s OK. Similarly, it’s fine for Chicanos to change their names from the Hispanic nombres given to them at birth to Nahuatl ones if it makes them feel more in touch with their roots.

Everyone has a different path to coming to terms with their Mexican identity, and they’re all OK. The problem I have is with people who then start ridiculing others who don’t adopt Aztec dancing and calendars as vendidos and Tío Tacos; these indigenazis, of course, make their insults in English and use the Internet (created by gabachos) to boast that they’re more Aztec than Quetzalcoatl himself. Que se vayan a la chingada.

I’m a Canadian woman who has been travelling to Mexico (Guanajuato y Oaxaca, the cute places) lately. I travel alone and want to understand the “social” rules a little better.

I was told by an expat American living in Mexico that Mexican men think all American women are sluts. (I assume that generalization extends to canadienses.) His theory is that Mexicans see television shows like Sex and the City and think it’s reality. I’m acutely aware of this when interacting with Mexican men, and as a result, am somewhat guarded, which I really don’t want to be. I’d like to be able to meet Mexican men on the same terms as Canadians—sure there’s a possibility of a little steam, but maybe we’re just platicando, amigo-like.

What are your thoughts? Do mexicanos think we’re all sluts? If so, why? Do Mexican women/girls save sex for marriage? Does this mean I can never have casual sex with a Mexican man again, for fear of perpetuating a stereotype?

Una Canadiense Confusa

Dear Confused Canadian Woman: Noticias flash—Mexican men think ALL women are sluts. It’s the Madonna-whore complex, comprende?

That said, don’t let pendejo heretonormative norms get in the way of you enjoying chorizo—modern-day Mexican women don’t, so why should you?

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!

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Dear Mexican: I enjoy the use of language by Chicanos, mexicanos and Mexican Americans. Humor and a sardonic sense of history, in my view, are encapsulated in many everyday expressions. Two examples are the use of huey (or perhaps buey) and rollo. In the first case, perhaps buey (ox) is a bitterly ironic reference to the term huey tlatoani, “ruler of Mexico-Tenochtitlan,” I read about in Fifteen Poets of the Aztec World by Miguel León-Portilla. In the second case, I’ve heard young Chicanos use the word rollo, for conversation or dialogue, perhaps seeing themselves as seated Aztecs uttering word-scrolls. What do you think?

Cuauhtémoc’s Cousin

Dear Wab: I agree that Mexican Spanish is a magnificent thing, and you forgot to throw in caló, albures and double-entendres to the roll call of linguistic desmadre. But your folk etymologies are a bit off.

We derive buey (or, güey and wey) from the Latin bovis, the term for an ox. As I explained in one of the first ¡Ask a Mexican! columns ever, Latin cultures consider the ox to be the dummy of the animal kingdom, much in the same way gabachos think of an ass, so the Aztecs (and Central Americans, for that matter) got that insult from the Spaniards. Huey, on the other hand, meant “exalted” in Nahuatl when referring to the Aztec king, and while the capacity of Mexican-Spanish humor is almost limitless, no one ever thinks of Montezuma when calling someone a pinche güey, even if he was a pinche güey.

Rollo is a different rola, on the other hand: In other words, it also comes from the Spaniards via the Latins and has nothing to do with the Aztec codices. Then again, I think you’re mishearing the young Chicanos, because I’ve never heard them use rollo to describe a conversation, but have heard them say rola more than not. Then again, maybe I’m hanging out with too many chilangos

Why is it that Mexican putos can only cry when drunk out of their minds? They always use the lame excuse that they don’t cry so they can last longer in the cama! When you’re young, I understand, but nearing your 60s? Give me a break! And, yes, these are real big mamadas! Back in the day, the mujer fell for this crap! And they wonder why we don’t stay in a relationship for years, because it slips from the cama to thinking you belong in the kitchen 24/7 … vamos a la chingada.

Chicana que no se Deja ser Chingada

Dear Chicana Who Won’t Allow Herself to Get Fucked Over: The best response to this came from ranchera legend Vicente Fernández, at a concert I once saw him at in Anaheim. Borracho out of his mind, Chente began crying onstage. “I’m not crying, güeyes,” Chente roared as he crooned the José Alfredo Jiménez barn-burner “Tu Recuerdo y Yo.” “My eyes are sweating!”

You know how it goes with hombres: That whole machismo front is a farce. And the only thing that brings it down is the bottle … and maybe the death of their rooster.

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Dear Mexican: One of my pet peeves: Latinos who pronounce their last names with Anglo accents—for example, Rod-driguez instead of Roh-driguez. I would love it if you’d address this. Personally, I believe we Latinos should educate Anglos on correct pronunciation.

Gomez the Groper

Dear Wab: Before you start correcting Anglos and pochos on how to properly pronounce Hispanic surnames, you might want to take a remedial course—it’s Roh-drEE-gehz (emphasis on the second syllable; hence the use of an accent over the i in Rodríguez). But your question reminds me of a Hollywood story that might just be apocryphal, but it's is a good one.

Seems there was a Mexican who wanted to make it into the film industry as a—take your pick—writer, producer or director. His last name was Torres, and he couldn’t find a gig. Desperate, the man changed his last name to Towers, and he cried all the way to the bank. Moral of the story? While custodians of Cervantes want everyone to pronounce all Spanish words in a way that satisfies the Real Academia Española, people are going to call themselves whatever they want, and change how they pronounce their own names if it makes them feel better. Of course, if a gabacho does it, then we cry racism all the way to the banco.

I dated an illegal Mexican from Oaxaca for almost a year and a half. We would sit in my car on his breaks from work, or go for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. He never wanted me calling him at his work and never wanted me to come to his apartment. He said he didn’t have a phone where he lived, and he was never willing to get to know my family or even meet them. Whenever I would question him and ask him when he was going to spend time with me and my family, he would always say, “next time” or “almost.”

Are all illegal Mexicans this vague? Was he afraid of being caught? He’s lived in the U.S. for almost 10 years. Would you please shed some light on the living arrangements and the lifestyles of the illegal Mexicans and their thought processes?

Gabacha no Comprendo

Dear Gabacha: It ain’t the undocumented part of your Oaxacan that caused him to keep you at arm’s length; it was the man part. Ever heard of Leykis 101? This hombre seems to have followed it to the teeth, so kudos to him—and sucks to be you. Hey, Tom: Blow me up ¡Ask a Mexican style!

I suggest you replace the ¡Ask a Mexican! column (They are a dime a dozen, and don’t we already know by now what they think?) with Ask an Anglo, Social Conservative Male, as we are the new minority, and we are ready to be embraced, welcomed, defended and promoted as a victimized demographic. I volunteer.

Iowan Idiot

Dear Gabacho: Sorry—Hugh Hewitt already took that pendejo gig.

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