1. Tex-Mex cuisine and its omnipresence
Also known as Mexican food everywhere around the world, Tex-Mex food is the source of our greatest disappointment when we’re traveling abroad. Imagine this situation: You’ve been traveling for months, far away from your home, and, suddenly, in the middle of this new town, a restaurant advertising food from your country emerges among the bulk of fast-food options. You go inside, and tears start coming to your eyes as you prepare to order some specialty that reminds you of your childhood and better times…but they only have nachos. It’s always like that for us! Not a single soul in Mexico has the least idea of what a taco salad is! And, being totally honest, taco shells are the worst invention in the history of fast food. There, I said it.
Some Mexicans’ hatred of Halloween is so strong it would seem like an indicator of childhood trauma. However, the source of the problem is the proximity between this festivity and our very own Día de los Muertos. The slight similarity between these celebrations has been enough for people to start mixing them. Mexican children go out asking for candies, and pumpkins have made their appearance in traditional altars. This cultural mix isn’t welcomed by most Mexicans, who perceive it as an attempt by gringo culture to take over our very roots.
3. The “j” in Mexico
You want an argument that’ll make 99.99% of Mexicans really (and I mean really) mad? Show the slightest inclination toward the phonetic use of a “j” instead of an “x” in Mexico and get prepared to contain the beast you just unleashed. Why do Mexicans hate this so much? There are historical factors involving colonialism and pre-hispanic language and traditions that partly justify the hatred for this idea. To be fair, it’s quite interesting that in a phonetic language such as Spanish, the “x” has become a jack of all trades.
I must strongly advise you not to try this in Mexico, especially if you’re proficient with Spanish.
The distance from Mexico City to any other point in Mexico is directly proportional to chilango hatred, especially when that distance takes you to the northern parts of Mexico. Some people will have strong arguments against chilangos for being arrogant or uneducated (arguments that could, sadly, reflect a bad experience these people had with some lame chilangos), but it’s also true that the farther away you go the easier it gets to find people without arguments to support their hate. Some of them don’t even know any chilangos! People just love to hate, don’t they?
5. Politicians, especially the president
There isn’t an ex-president in recent history we don’t really hate. Hatred typically grows throughout the presidential term, and once it’s over you can’t find a single soul who admits to having supported the guy. Ready for a little experiment? Ask a Mexican friend to name you a Mexican ex-president she really admires. Then prepare to be transported in history to the early 20th century (or even to the late 19th century). Now, that’s not something to brag about…
6. Speedy Gonzales and every other similar character
The only thing we hate more than being stereotyped is being anachronistically and stupidly stereotyped. Characters like the so-called Mexican mouse have helped to maintain a misinformed image of Mexico in foreign countries. Of course Mexico was all about horses and sombreros a hundred years ago, but not anymore. We do say ándale though.
7. Public transport…and transportation in general
Try this the next time you have some Mexican friends around: start talking about how good public transport is in [wherever you want] and get ready to hear a mouthful of stories regarding every possible issue with public transportation in Mexico. There are a lot of things to hate about our transport system and about traffic in the cities, and we certainly know them all.
8. Penalties in the FIFA World Cup
This is a true classic. There are a lot of Mexicans who are able to recall at least three occasions when our national team’s been eliminated from the World Cup during a penalty or during penalty rounds. This has happened so many times (and in so many ridiculous ways) that people’s idea of a curse lying over the national team doesn’t sound illogical at all. I know you guys can come up with some good jokes about this.
9. Summertime…and its hurricanes
Of course we love to complain about our fabulous and wet summers. For the most part, the climate in Mexico is pretty benevolent, and we do prefer our damp summers to snowy winters or any other extreme condition, but even after living here our whole lives, the idea of a summer full of sun, beach, and fun never really abandons us. If you’ve been in Mexico during summertime, you know it equals hurricanes and lots of rain and tropical storms and cold fronts (yes, you read that correctly). And images on television of faraway beaches where people are having a hell of a time.
10. The relocation of Mexico to Central or South America
This is another simple experiment, so go ahead and try it whenever you’re among a group of Mexicans. Dare to tell them Mexico isn’t in North America. Personally, I’ve never really understood that strange pride we Mexicans take in being part of North America when we share a lot more with our southern neighbors. Of course anyone could argue we just hate geographical inaccuracies (yeah, right!), but there’s something in our reaction that goes far beyond that.
11. Faux tortillas
I know I’m always talking about tortillas, but we really have a strong fixation with them. When Mexicans travel abroad it’ll be the first thing we miss (even more than our own mothers), and it’s quite cruel that tortillas are advertised everywhere around the world, but they never manage to deliver the real thing. Prepacked tortillas will never hold a candle to the ones that originate in the depths of a tortilleria, not to mention the handmade blue ones.
There are two issues here. 1) Why do people outside Mexico like this band so much? 2) Why do we Mexicans hate them so? Yes, they’re really bad, but they play more in the leave them alone they’re super lame league than in the let’s hate them as we hate Ricardo Arjona league. Don’t get me wrong, I hate them too.
Photo: Alejandro Lopez