Dear Mexican: I'm an old fart with lily-white genes. I lived in the OC, LA and Bay Area for 20 years, yet I had scarcely any interaction with the Latino population. It wasn't because I was anti-Mexican. I was just apprehensive. I felt like I was the stranger, the one who wouldn't fit. It didn't help that I'd hear crap like, "Don't go to the barrio, man! You might end up dead!"
Strangely, it took some business trips to Monterrey and Oaxaca to change my perspective. Oh, it's people doing their best to get by, just like everyone else. Same concerns and desires. The differences between us were mostly language, world view and style. Once I got over that, I discovered I was rather comfortable there. In some ways, I fit better there than in my native culture.
Now I'm in the South and missing that large Mexican culture. I was glad when the housing boom lured Latinos here. If nothing else, I've been able to get much better Mexican food (though still a bit Americanized). It's a joy to be handed Spanish-only menus. As I approach retirement, I've developed a yearning to relocate to Mexico, but not to the resort areas or expat enclaves. I want to go as native as my limited Spanish will let me. At least I think I do. I'll give it a few months' test run, trying a few areas, before making the big jump. So, do you have any advice on the matter?
— Looking for a Peso Parachute
Dear Gabacho: So you're telling me you didn't care for Mexicans until you actually hung out with them? And now you'd rather hang out with us than your own kind? Can you tell that to the GOP presidential field? But since you're in the South, I'd stay there; the region has experienced the largest Mexican increase, percentage-wise, of any region in the U.S. Specifically, go to Louisville, and tell the U of L's pendejo president that the only gabacho who ever wore a sombrero well was Homer Simpson — and that's because his hat was made of NACHOS.
I am a fairly attractive, middle-aged black woman. Like many women who share my demographics, it is challenging for me to find interesting, attractive men — there is a shortage! However, I find myself approached by some of the least appealing males on earth: sombrero-wearing, pot-bellied, hygienically challenged, straggly mustached, snaggle-toothed, intoxicated, red-eyed, middle-aged, Mexicans. In the past few weeks, I've been approached by not one, not two, but three stanky-drunk cholos while waiting at the bus stop, or taking a walk. They approach me, speaking rapid, drunken Spanish. I can't catch everything they're saying, but I get the general idea! I answer in English, which they pretend not to understand. My friends laugh at me, and say I must be putting out some vibe of which I am unaware. Some vibe that attracts drunk Mexicans with missing — or even worse — gold teeth. (They look a lot like the caricature for this column, only older and MUCH dirtier.) Why are these guys coming on to me? Why are they drunk in the middle of the day? There are frequently young and attractive chicas in the same vicinity — why do they come staggering up to ME, and how can I make them stop?
— Times Are Hard, but Not that Hard
Dear Negrita: What's that saying — pendeja is as pendeja does? That's all you, chula. Besides you forget that a Mexican male will go after any woman, no matter how disgusting — so congrats!
Ask the Mexican at email@example.com. Be his fan on Facebook. Follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano! If you're puzzled by some of the Mexican's lingo, head to the ¡Ask a Mexican! Glossary at bit.ly/1judthF. We've also found culturally astute definitions in the Urban Dictionary, urbandictionary.com.