Dear Mexican: I had a conversation today with an eighteen-year-old female Mexican co-worker that completely blew me away. She has a three-month-old baby with her nineteen-year-old (also Mexican) unemployed boyfriend. They have just found out that she is pregnant again. After listening to her sob about it, I asked her if she was going to keep the baby. Horrified, she responded, "We are Catholic. We don't believe in abortion." She also revealed that her religion does not allow her to be on birth control. There is obviously a serious problem in this country with teenage pregnancy, and a trip to Arizona Mills reveals an extremely high number of Mexican-American teen mothers. My question is: If these girls are so "Catholic," why are they having premarital sex in the first place?
Dear Gabacho: While I would love to blame the Catholic Church for all Mexican ills, the facts simplemente don't fully support the stereotype that Papism rules over Mexican sexual practices. In the July 2011 issue of Journal of Women's Health, "Religiosity and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Latina Adolescents: Trends From 1995 to 2008" showed that Mexican chicas in the United States were historically more likely to remain virgins than non-Mexi Latinas because of their religious beliefs — but that gap is now nonexistent, and fewer mexicanas remain virgins until eighteen than ever before. Reason? The docs who authored the piece think it "may be a result of the general decline in holding to religious tenets on human sexuality in the U.S. culture." Meanwhile, Antonia M. Villarruel, John B. Jemmott, Loretta S. Jemmott and David L. Ronis, in their "Predicting Condom Use Among Sexually Experienced Latino Adolescents" for the August 2007 issue of the Western Journal of Nursing Research, found that "students who had higher levels of religiosity...had stronger intentions to use condoms and were more likely to have used condoms during their last sexual intercourse," and that "the influence of cultural variables on condom use is speculative at best." In other words: Stop blaming the Church for Mexis not using condoms.
Dear Mexican: I work at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (which I suppose would be in the state of Aztlán to you). We're a nuclear-weapons lab. I do research and testing on plutonium. Being from Illinois, I'm not very used to all the Spanish names and culture surrounding me. For instance, what does Los Alamos mean? How about Pajarito, the name of the Mesa where the plutonium facility is? You may be amused to know that there is a program at the Lab called "Bolus Grande," which I'm told means "big balls" in Spanish. We blow up plutonium inside the Bolus Grandes. Somebody once said missiles were just phallic symbols, so maybe it's that, huh? Anyway, if you could enlighten me on any of the Spanish names at the Los Alamos Lab, I'd be much obliged, amigo!
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Dear Gabacho: I worry for a country that entrusts its nuclear-weapons research to someone who doesn't bother to learn Spanish, especially children's Spanish, especially the translations of the places where he works and lives. Los Alamos is "The Cottonwoods" and refers to the trees around Los Alamos. "Pajarito" is "little bird" and is derived from an archaeological site on the Los Alamos Lab property. And I just hope that whoever told you "Bolus Grande" is "big huevos" in Spanish isn't in charge of the next neutron bomb.