Ask a Mexican
Dear Mexican: Why do Mexican men think all of us gabachas are like the girls in The Bikini Carwash Company? I am married, a conservative dresser, and frankly not very good-looking at all (but I do have blonde hair, so maybe that counts for something on a guy’s internal whore-o-meter), and I speak karate-choppin’ good Spanish. In fact, that’s my job: I interpret for Spanish speakers when they go to the doctor’s office. So then why—dear GOD WHY?—when I interpret for a Mexican man, does he seems culturally required to at some point say something gross to me?
Here’s a real life example from last week: “Rafael”—like so many people who work in dangerous jobs no güero would accept—got hurt at work a year ago, when he fell from an impossible height onto concrete and barely lived to tell the tale. He had a series of doctor’s appointments wherein he got poked and prodded, and his sexual dysfunction was discussed at length with me as the intermediary. (I think this might have something to do with it.) As we were waiting outside the last doctor’s office, he blushed and whispered to me, “I wanna ask you a question, but I’m embarrassed.” Oh dear god, I thought, here it comes. “Why do all you gabachas like to do—how do you say it?—table-dancing?”
Table-dancing, Mexican. Is it possible that he has lived in this country for seven years and really thinks that we are all secretly strippers who like to dance on tables? I understood this bullshit when I lived in Latin America, since Bikini Car Wash-esque stuff plays constantly on broadcast TV, but the man has been in this country for seven years. How can he think something so asinine at this point? Is it possible he’s been spending all his money at the nudie bar instead of sending it back to his wife and kids in Michoacán? What, pray tell, am I missing here?
Dear Gabacha: Wait … so not all white women are strippers? Wow, you learn new cosas every day!
Anyhoo, in this case, the guy was obviously trying to reassert his manhood in front of a woman, so I wouldn’t read too much about Mexicans through him. But you’re right about hombres viewing gabachas as perpetual putas one martini away from doing a DP.
It’s easy to blame Mexican machismo, but the real issue is exoticism: Gabachas are the Other, and thus easily sexualized. The same thing happens with gabachos and how they view Mexican women: A University of Southern California (go Bruins!) study released earlier this year shows that, while Latinos had only about 5 percent of the roles in Hollywood’s 100 top-grossing films of 2013, 38 percent of all Latinas depicted in said películas were at some point fully or partially naked—and that’s not including all the tight skirts and blouses non-fat mujeres must wear at all times. This, of course, is nothing new—the spicy señorita archetype goes back to the silent reelers. But, as a result, gabachos have sexualized Mexican women ever since—and if you don’t believe me, go to any fraternity’s Drinko de Cinco bash.