Ask a Mexican

Blame the Church?

Dear Mexican: I had a conversation today with an 18-year-old Mexican co-worker that blew me away. She has a 3-month-old with her 19-year-old (also Mexican) unemployed boyfriend. They just found out she is pregnant again. After listening to her sob about it, I asked if she was going to keep the baby. Horrified, she responded, "We are Catholic, we don't believe in abortion." She also revealed her religion does not allow birth control. If these girls are so "Catholic," why are they having premarital sex? Protestant Pendejo

Dear Gabacho: While I would love to blame the Catholic Church for all Mexican ills, the facts simplemente don't fully support the stereotype. On one hand, an article in the July 2011 issue of Journal of Women's Health showed that Mexican chicas in the United States were historically more likely to remain virgins than non-Mexi Latinas because of their religious beliefs, but that gap is now nonexistent. Meanwhile, a report in the August 2007 issue of the Western Journal of Nursing Research found "students who had higher levels of religiosity ... had stronger intentions to use condoms and were more likely to have used condoms during their last sexual intercourse" and that "the influence of cultural variables on condom use is speculative at best."

I work at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Being from Illinois, I'm not very used to all the Spanish names and culture surrounding me. For instance, what does Los Alamos mean? How about Pajarito, the name of the Mesa where the plutonium facility is? You may be amused to know that there is a program at the lab called "Bolus Grande," which I'm told means "big balls" in Spanish. Somebody once said missiles were just phallic symbols, so maybe it's that, huh? Breaking Nerd

Dear Gabacho: I worry for a country that entrusts its nuclear weapons research to someone who doesn't bother to learn Spanish, especially children's Spanish, especially the translations of the places where he works and lives. Los Alamos is "The Cottonwoods" and refers to the trees around Los Alamos. "Pajarito" is "little bird" and is derived from an archaeological site on the Los Alamos Lab property. And I just hope that whoever told you "Bolus Grande" is "big huevos" isn't in charge of the next neutron bomb.

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano

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