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Fat Chance

There’s a good reason Mexicans swim with their clothes on.

Dear Mexican: This might be a seasonal question, but why do Mexicans like swimming in their clothes? Is it a Catholic thing? I remember my pocho Catholic cousin even bathed at home in his T-shirt and underwear through his adolescence. He claims the nuns told him it was a sin to be naked.

Dear Mexican: I am half-Mexican myself but just don't understand: Why do Mexicans wear their clothes when swimming? They are the only people at a beach or public swimming spot who do it. Please explain!

Dear Pochos: This is by far the most-asked question in ¡Ask a Mexican! history. So, to todos ustedes, I have my own question: Are you all brown chubby-chasers? Like gabachos, an alarming number of Mexicans are out of shape. According to a 2003 study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 24 percent of Mexico's population is overweight. That's the second-highest obesity rate in the world following — wait for it — ¡los Estados Unidos! Unlike gabachos, Mexicans respect the public when it comes to flashing our flabby chichis, pompis and cerveza guts — so when we're out at the pool or by the beach, we cover up. It ain't Catholicism, machismo or an homage to our swim across the Rio Grande. It's good manners.

Dear Mexican: We've noticed that there are lots of ice-cream trucks driven by Mexicans that seem patronized almost exclusively by Mexicans. We've concluded that Mexicans love ice cream even more than white women. Why do Mexicans love ice cream so much?
Nice Dreams

Dear Gabachos: The easy answer is that ice cream is muy bueno; the easier respuesta is that Mexican ice cream is better than the stuff sold by gabachos. In addition to the tried-and-verdadero flavors at Baskin-Robbins, Mexicans concoct wonders drawn from our many indigenous fruits: Mango, papaya, tamarind, mamey, prickly pear fruit and soursop (guanábana) are just the tastiest. Then there are the choices that reflect unique Mexican sensibilities: rompope (eggnog, much better frozen than sipped), chongos zamoranos (curdled milk and cinnamon), spicy chocolate. And we don't content ourselves with just soft-serve; even better are our paletas, rectangular ice pops made from either aguas frescas like watermelon and lemonade or de leche: creamy, milked-based joys. But the best Mexican frozen delight is the raspado, our version of shaved ice, except our syrup is natural and won't kill you with preservatives. Gabachos: Instead of spending the long, hot summer stewing over the Mexicans among you, join them in waving down the local paletero — and be sure to feed them one iced treat a day lest their natural caliente-ness cause further global warming.

 
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