Dear Mexican: Why Do Wabs Always Rub Their Bellies?

Dear Mexican:
Why do wabs, regardless of age and body size, always have one hand rubbing their bellies under their shirts? Is this something that is inherent in all wabs? I’m a pocho, and I’ve never seen other pochos do it.
Pocho With Albóndigas Grandes

Dear Pocho: What’s with the panza hate? In previous eras, girth was a sign of bounty and promise, and that’s still the case in Mexico: Next to a broom-thick mustache and a gray Ford truck, a glorious, well-rounded stomach is our ultimate proof of machismo. A panza’s layers of fat fuel our insatiable work ethic; its orbital shape is a testament to the wives we keep in kitchens at home. Gabachos might work out, but taut muscles cannot compete with the centripetal force of a panza. Kids flock to it; crowds stare when a magnificent specimen passes by. So when we rub our panzas, we pat the larded treasure that brings us success, popularity and prosperity; think of Buddhists massaging Siddhartha’s plump belly for luck.

Dear Mexican: Not long ago, I attended a Los Tigres del Norte concert at a small hall with no dance floor. Attendees were supposed to sit down and enjoy the music. But five minutes in, these jumping beans were going up and down the aisles, dancing to the music. It’s not the first time I’ve seen that happen. Why do Mexicans love dancing so much?
Lambada Louie

Dear Gabacho: Anyone who needs to ask why people dance to Los Tigres del Norte — the norteño supergroup that combines polka beats with socially conscious lyrics to create something that’s part Clash, part Lawrence Welk and puro mexicano — has no soul or is a gabacho. How can you not sway to their metronomic bass, their lush accordion trills, their canned sound effects, Hernán Hernández’s mexcelente Mexi-mullet? Mexican music is among the most danceable outside of Brazil because its practitioners understand that nalga-shaking stirs humanity into the realm of ecstasy. Almost all of the genres that constitute Mexican popular music put the focus on rhythms rather than lyrics.

But dancing for Mexicans is more than a mere physical act. Every hallmark moment in Mexican society centers on dances. More noteworthy are the dances held by hometown benefit associations to raise money for the rebuilding of villages in Mexico. Tellingly, Mexican society does not consider girls and boys to be women or men until they begin to dance. Once they’re eligible to dance, Mexicans are eligible to take care of their community, too. Besides, it’s a great way for Mexican adolescents to grope each other in a parent-approved environment.
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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano