Border Cross

I am a gabacho who is dating a spicy little seorita. We're going to Mexico so I can meet her father and his side of the family. I'm a rather alto y flaco fellow, and I wasn't blessed with the dark complexion Mexicans enjoy. I speak some Spanish, but what else can I do to try not to stand out so much in her motherland? I'm already working on growing a mustache, but I don't think that will be enough. I don't have a panza, no sombrero, and authentic Mexican comida is probably going to tear me up. Suggestions?
Gabacho Flaco en Iowa

Dear Skinny Gabacho in Iowa:
In friendlier times, Mexicans would've greeted your arrival with a hero's welcome, the kind of celebration they rolled out for Pope John Paul II, John Steinbeck, or The Three Amigos. You could've strolled through the villages with the haughtiness of a god, raining gold upon peasants and bedding a couple of virgins along the way. See, you and your gabacho amigos are Mexicos lifeblood. Your thirst for cheap immigrant labor, oil and thrills accounts for nearly $40 billion in revenue for Mexico's top three industries -- immigrant remittances, oil exports and tourism, respectively -- and more than a third of Mexico's GNP. Without your largess, Mexico would be a Guatemalan backwater. But Mexicans never hear a gracias (an amnesty program would be nice) for holding up our end of the relationship; no, we get barbed-wire fences. Fine. Mi casa no longer es t casa. We don't dare cut off economic ties with the United States -- Guatemala -- so we instead take our revenge in Mexico and its American protectorates by treating gabachos with contempt: a bribe here; extra kids in the schools there; a constant stream of imprecations (pinche puto pendejo baboso) muttered under our collective breath. There's nothing you can do to avoid the hate, Skinny Iowan, so bear with it and don't act surprised when your seorita's family asks if you can smuggle them into el Norte.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at [email protected]. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we'll make one up for you!

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano