Ask a Mexican

Am I wrong to fear Tijuana?

Dear Mexican: I am a twenty-year-old, tall, slender, blond Jewish Russian-American; he is a 24-year-old, short, muscular Mexican. At face value, you would never think we would work well, but we do. I started to love him. He's the most unique person I have ever met. He is never down, always smiling, and positive while I worry. However, I noticed he is the most prideful guy I have ever met. It's good to be proud, I think. But here is the issue. This New Year's, he invited me to go to Tijuana with him to meet his friends. Everyone warned me against it, but I was still up for it. However, I got really sick and worried on top of it, so I backed out at the last minute. He thinks I didn't want to hang out with his friends — as if I think I'm too good for them. He thinks I'm rejecting that entire part of him if I say I am scared to go to Tijuana to party, when really, I'm not the party type. How do I win him back without hurting his pride? It's a new year, so I want to get this off my chest. What is at the heart of a Mexican guy? How do I un-break it? Was I wrong to fear Tijuana?

Rusa Ruca

Dear Gabacha: If you were truly sick, then your Mexi has no reason to be angry at you — enferma is enferma, and you couldn't help it. But if you don't like to party, may I suggest dating an Amish guy? Mexicans and fiestas go together like "brown" and "down," so you have to prepare yourself for a lifetime of quinceañeras, funerals, bodas, baptisms and carne asada Sundays if you truly love the guy. And you were wrong to fear Tijuana: In the past couple of years, the city has exploded on the culinary map, with inventive chefs fishing the riches of the Sea of Cortez and combining them with homegrown wines, olive oils, cheese and the best street food this side of Mexico City. Yeah, areas of the city remain sketchy, just as in any other big city; stay away from them. But don't let said threat of danger keep you away. Finally, how do you un-break a Mexi man's heart? A nice, big meal and a bout of the sexytimes.

Dear Mexican: I think I may be Mexican, but I'm not sure. Can you help me decide? Ever since I was a child, both sides of my family would say, "You are Spanish, not Mexican." I've always wanted to get to the bottom of this issue, so I recently had my DNA tested. The report stated that I'm 53 percent Native American, 46 percent European and 1 percent Sub-Saharan African. (All humans have a small portion of Sub-Saharan African DNA because humans evolved on the African continent.) Just as I was getting comfortable with my Native American status, my brother said, "These results prove you are Mexican!" When I asked how he came to that conclusion, he claimed that a Mexican is just a Native American that got knocked up by a European. To make things even more confusing, some say I am Hispanic, Chicano or Latino. Señor, please tell me what I am: Native American, Hispanic, Chicano, Latino or Mexican?

¿Paella o Pintos?

Dear Wabette: Does the lamestream media's infatuation with a recent Pew Hispanic Center study showing that the vast majority of Spanish-speaking cabrones don't identify as either Hispanic or Latino but rather as their national or ethnic origin bug you as much as it does me? If your family wants to call themselves Spanish even though they have a nopal en la frente, then let them be self-hating. And call yourself whatever chingada term you want. May I suggest chica caliente?

Buy Taco USA! Gentle cabrones, my much-promised Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America has finally hit bookstores! Place your order with your favorite local bookstore, your finer online retailers, your craftier piratas, but place it. My libro editor has already promised to deport me from the publishing industry if we don't sell enough copies! And if you bring your book to Su Teatro on May 30, I promise to sign it! Watch this column for details on that appearance.

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano