As everyone knows, dogs seem to reflect their masters’ personalities. Likewise, the breeds invented by a nation say a lot about that nation. Germans bred the German shepherd and rottweiler: smart, loyal, faithful, yet a little cold, and not the kinds of dogs you want to piss off. The French created the poodle: all about style, yappy, not great fighters, yet not as dumb as they look. Canadians created the Labrador retriever: good hunters and friendly family dogs. Gringos seem to have adopted the pit bull as the national dog — both are reactive killers of children.
When I think of Mexican breeds one type comes to mind: the Chihuahua, play toys for fresas like Paris Hilton. After thinking much harder, I thought of the xoloitzcuintle: bald and edible. Are these dogs the best representatives of Mexico’s national character? Does a Chihuahua really fit a nation of macho men and feisty women? Or are you really a nation of perros eléctricos: scrappy survivors in need of some updated marketing?
—Dueño de un Perro Eléctrico
Dear Owner of an Electric Dog: Tengo que take issue with your pit-bull characterization. My chica caliente is the proud owner of one, and she’s the kindest bitch around humans (dogs are another story). With that in mind, I’d argue that pit bulls are the quintessential American dog, as wabs, negritos and gabachos alike own them for the same reason the world respects and fears Americans — a Manichaean innateness that loves and kills with equal ease. The difference in comportment for both is a reflection of the trainer, and the results show up quickly — just look at us after seven years of the Bush II administration.
Ahora, on to the Mexican dogs. Don’t give up so easily: Mexico’s two indigenous breeds fully represent the Mexican soul. The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize the xoloitzcuintle even though the noble critters date back millennia, much like Congress won’t recognize illegal Mexicans despite their many years of working in the U.S. Chihuahuas are even more quintessentially Mexican: Napoleonic in complex, usually brown but available in all colors, maligned by gabachos as puny runts but secretly ferocious and smart, and bearers of muchos, muchos babies. Some P.C. pendejos might cringe at the comparison, but hey: Better the conversation deal with dogs than cockroaches, ¿qué no?
I’m a restaurant owner in Las Vegas. How come when a Mexican comes to apply for a job, he or she will bring several friends and sometimes the entire family? And when I ask them for a call-back phone number, they get all paranoid and fumble through two or three numbers before they give the “right one.”
—Chef Viva Las Vegas
Dear Gabacho: Mexicans are bringing along friends and familia because they want you to give them a job. That’s how so many Mexicans came here in the first place: Gabachos hired Mexicans, who knew other Mexicans and urged their bosses to hire those, who knew others, until one day Americans needed to dial 1 for English. As for the carousel of phone numbers, the answer is any number of reasons: Maybe the Mexicans in question are debating whether to give you a cell or home number. Perhaps they just moved into town and honestly can’t remember their new número. But it’s probably just that they’re trying to remember which stolen identity they’re using on that particular día.
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Email the firstname.lastname@example.org.