Dear Mexican: I was sitting around with my daughter and her Mexican husband the other day talking about her past. Jokingly, I mentioned that when she was a teenager (thirty years ago), lots of boys came by the house to see her. Her husband flew into a rage and said that Mexicans consider such a comment extremely discourteous. Since his anger seemed out of proportion to my comment, and since most men are even a bit flattered to hear that their wives are or were attractive to other men, I'm wondering whether his anger is his problem or whether he was right about Mexican customs and I unwittingly had been discourteous.
Dear Gabacho: According to Mexican standards, you were being rude. That said, fuck your son-in-law. You've stumbled onto one of the great hypocrisies in Mexican society: While men boast about their previous conquests with the fervor usually reserved for tales of midnight runs across the border, women are expected to stay mum about any past chorizos they might've stuffed. This double standard is a tool of power — not to squash female sexuality, mind you, but to placate the pussy egos of the seemingly macho Mexican hombre, which can't comprehend a mujer who exists outside the Madonna/whore duality. All of this might change, though, if Alicia Elena Perez Duarte gets her way. She's Mexico's special prosecutor for crimes against women and is trying to pass a law that would punish overly jealous husbands. I can already hear the snickers from the Dobbsians: See? Mexico is so backward it needs to appoint someone to protect women! And we want to give these savages who booed Miss USA amnesty?! But refry this: The fact that Mexico created Duarte's position, along with a recent proposal in Mexico's Congress to grant amnesty to its Guatemalan invaders, shows the country is willing to right its wrongs. Are you listening, Dubya?
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Dear Mexican: Why do we always think Mexican men drink tequila and sing mariachi tunes, while the women are pretty señoritas?
Dear Gabacho: Mexicans frequently blame ustedes for perpetuating various stereotypes about nosotros over the centuries, but a big part of the blame also falls on us. During World War II, a time when Mexico's film industry experienced a renaissance that scholars refer to as La Época de Oro (the Golden Age), Mexican movie studios produced great social tales, comedies and horror films, but the ones that received most acclaim were the comedias rancheras. They starred matinee idols such as Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete, who meted out frontier justice and wooed the chicas guapas from underneath sombreros — always while guzzling tequila and riding on horseback. The image came from the state of Jalisco, birthplace of mariachi and tequila. Mexico thought Americans would think better of beaners as singing caballeros, but Hollywood inverted the Jaliscan tropes and created the fat, drunk, gold-toothed greaseball archetype who sleeps under the shade of a cactus and gets up only to booze it up or write columns about America's most caliente minority. As for Mexican women being sultry and spicy — that's all documentary, baby.