Ask a Mexican
Dear Mexican: My boyfriend is Mexican, and I love him very much. We have a very good relationship, and most of the time, he is sensitive to my needs and feelings. On some occasions, however, he will act in a VERY stubborn way.
For example, if something I say or do is disappointing to him, rather than tell me he is disappointed or hurt, he will insist that whatever we are doing has to stop. One time, we had a disagreement on New Year’s Eve when we were getting ready to go out for the evening. He got so angry that he yelled and said the evening was off, and we were not going out—so we didn’t go. Another example that just happened the other night was that I didn’t feel like dancing when we were out at a lounge, but I wanted to stay to hear the music. He was so angry about me not dancing that he said, “If you’re not gonna dance, we have to go home,” which we did. In these instances, he demands that I do as he says, which is ending the activity—it’s as if he has to punish me if he doesn’t get his way.
I don’t understand why he has to call the whole evening off. Is this behavior part of Mexican culture (“El Rey” syndrome)? Or is this his own pathology? Or am I being an overly sensitive gringa?
Dear Beautiful Gabacha: Dump this llorón NOW.
I’m not going to pretend that Mexican men aren’t capable of domineering, irrational actions toward women—is your guy demanding that you not talk to your siblings for decades, like far too many rancho machos I know? At least you didn’t mention anything about physical abuse, thank Dios. But acting like a chavala when things don’t go his way? A real Mexican man wouldn’t even talk about his emotions to you, instead saving it for the yentas who are his borracho buddies. Continually melting down the way your guy does suggests he’s someone with the maturity of a Donald Trump supporter—so dump the pendejo now, and get yourself a man with actual huevos.
I just had my first child, and in true Mexican fashion, I plan to have him baptized Catholic in the coming months. However, I married a Whitexican, whose mother is white and father is Mexican. In planning the baptism this weekend, I tried to explain to them the very tradition of giving bolo by the godparents, but I was bombarded with questions as to how it started, and why we do this as a Mexican tradition. I had no answer, so I figured maybe you had an answer I could pass along to the in-laws.
As you might know, to give bolo is the tradition of the godparents giving away money to the attendees, apparently for being part of the celebration—usually quarters, dollars. etc. Now, this is my understanding as to why it’s done, but I may be wrong. Any help would be appreciated.
Dear Pocha: Perhaps the biggest difference between Mexican and gabacho Catholics isn’t our worship of Mary or their declining church attendance, but rather the importance of godparents. For gabas, it’s just an excuse to dress up for a day and pretend to be Catholic; for Mexis, it signifies a blood oath between families. Toward that, the tradition of bolo is for the padrinos to show their worth as godparents by giving away money, much like the potlatches of the Pacific Northwest.
Etymology? From the word óbolo, which dates back to the Greek term for a sixth of a drachma. But warning: If you’re an adult expecting bolo at a baptism, everyone will think you a loser deserving of the ugly cousin in the familia.