Claim our food is not “that” spicy.
An Italian visiting Mexico once dared to say: “We have chiles a lot spicier in Southern Italy.” That was the last thing he said. His throat is still recovering after eating a chile toreado.
Fail to say good morning when you enter an elevator.
You can spit on our shoes — well, no, you can’t really — but we may be less offended than if you enter the elevator without saying buenos días.
Say we don’t look Mexican.
If you’ve met more than one Mexican in your life, you know we’re like tamales: de chile, de mole, or sweet. We all look different — call it multiculturalism, crossbreeding, or foreign invasion. And even when some of us don’t look like the Mexicans you see in the movies, we’re all “more Mexican than mole.”
Ask something completely ignorant, as if your image of Mexicans from an old movie where they’re always taking a nap in the shade of a cactus.
Example: “Are there cars in Mexico?”
Say Mexico isn’t in North America.
I’m not going to lie — many of us would love to be as far as we can from the gringos. But, after studying geography for many, many years, we’re 300% sure Mexico — or the United States of Mexico, our official name — is in North America.
Think “Mexican” is a language.
In Mexico we speak Castilian (you can also call it Spanish). And we’re very proud of the variations and idioms we’ve given to our language. ¡Ándale!
Claim to have been to Mexico because you went to Cancun.
Say your favorite Mexican dish is chili con carne.
Which is NOT a Mexican dish. Period. And please be careful; this topic has destroyed the strongest of friendships.
Arrive on time.
We’re not famous for our punctuality. In fact, we’re very well know for our creativity when it comes to making up excuses for being late.
When you get invited to a party, the worst thing you can do is be on time. The hosts will open the door and look at you, perplexed and offended, “What are you doing here now?!” The best is to be the last one to arrive. You’ll be the hero because everyone thought you weren’t going to make it, and there you are!
Insult our mothers.
Okay, it’s bad everywhere to insult someone’s mother, but in Mexico it’s particularly dangerous. You can use the worst insults you know when you talk to a Mexican; he’ll laugh with you, and he may teach you some new ones. But please don’t mention his mother, or it’ll be the last thing you do!
What if we’re already pissed off?
Invite us to drink mezcal, eat the worm inside the bottle, make us laugh, and…you’re forgiven!