Dear Mexican: Why do some Mexicans expect us to learn Spanish instead of them learning English? (NOTE: I did say SOME, not most or all!) I'm offended whenever I am ASSAULTED by listening to anything in Spanish on phone menus or see it on forms that I have to fill out. It's even worse to run into someone that I need to talk to and can't because they can't speak our language (yes, this has happened to me; it was extremely embarrassing to have to get a female interpreter so I could tell a male janitor about a problem in a men's restroom that he needed to know about. I never bothered the janitors at that company again). If Mexicans, or other Central or South Americans, know that they want to come to our country, hopefully legally, they should start to learn English when they make that decision, so that they can communicate when they arrive. I will never even visit a country without knowing at least a little, and probably a lot, of their language. I expect the same respect from visitors to, and especially residents of, this country. Frustrated Native Citizen
Dear Gabacho: What I take from your question: your caca clogged the toilet at work, you felt more comfortable telling one person about it than two, so you took it out on the Mexican. Sir, your shit does stink — it's OK! Mexicans forgive you! As for insisting we learn English before coming into this country — the super-majority of immigrants to this country have never done so, so why should Mexicans be any different? Besides, Mexicans planning to come to this country are more worried about how to raise thousands of dollars to cross la frontera than learning the 56 meanings of set.
I'm one of those gabachos who fell crazy in love with everything Mexican. I have extensive travel experience in Mexico, and also happen to be a gay man with plenty of exposure to the gay scene in Mexico and Latino USA. While every country has its share of cross-dressers and trannies, there seems to be special emphasis on this in gay Mexico. Travesti shows are de rigueur at Latino gay bars on both sides of the border. It seems to me that the prevalence of traditional gender roles in Latin American society pushes gays to think they have to adhere to these butch-versus-fem categories, as if you have to be one or the other. Your thoughts? Wondering About JuanGa
Dear Mariposa: Drag shows only at Mexican gay bars? You must not visit many gay bars. But I agree with you that, at least historically, the only acceptable way to express homosexuality in Mexico was of the fa-laming variety: It synched up with Mexico's eternal Madonna-whore complex and let machos on the down-low feign surprise when they got a soplón by said travesti a la the protagonist in the Kinks' "Lola." And Mexican lesbians? Mexicans always thought the only one that ever existed was Frida Kahlo — and she was OK, because she was a transvestite. But nowadays, mature, healthy expressions of homosexuality in Mexican culture are on the rise, both in the motherland (gay marriage is legal in Mexico City, and LGBT couples are increasingly challenging bans through the state and federal courts across la patria) and in El Norte. As I always say: Mexico's always about a generation behind the U.S. about everything, so expect an LGBT-friendly Mexico around the same time we get into New Kids on the Block.
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.