Dear Mexican: Why is it that when I go to the Mexican supermarkets to buy productos femeninas, fully 98 percent of the aisle provided for such things is composed of maxi pads and the limited selection of tampons are in dusty boxes with a sell-by date of 1986? I assume it has something to do with traditional Catholic beliefs or an old wives’ tale that only putas use tampons. Que dices tu? —The Eventual Mexican
Dear Gabacha: Chula, you’re exaggerating—but only a bit. A 2000 study by Proctor & Gamble found only 2 percent of women in Mexico plugged up during their time of month; the figure improved only slightly in a 1990 Public Health Report survey that showed only 11 percent of Mexican- American women used tampons alone (21 percent used both pads and tampons). More recently, a 2003 ACNielsen report noted an increase in tampons amongst wabettes depending on their acculturation, but even the most pochas panochas lagged behind their gabacha and negrito peers. Blaming Catholicism for such figures is easy, because the causal evidence is so powerful—those Proctor & Gamble researchers also discovered that 4 percent of Italian mujeres shoved cotton up their hoo-hah to handle the Red Sea, and similarly low rates also exist in Catholic-heavy countries even though the Church has no official stance on tampons (their anti-vagina position remains intact).
The pad, the rag, a simple lining of cloth— all have worked mighty fine for mexicanas for centuries, and if something works for Mexicans, no need to modernize it.
You mentioned recently that you would never slander undocumented college students. I’m one of those li’l mojaditos. I didn’t just want to blindly cheer on your endorsement for we stationed-on-a-nameless-launchpad, eager-to-launch mojaditos, so my question to you, our articulate Highness of valid critique of all things Mexico-related: Why would you never slander undocumented college students? —I Keep Forgetting My Mojadito Mask, Ticher.
Dear Wab: Because people like you and so many others the Mexican personally knows are our greatest Americans. These young men and women know only the Republic as their home, have bucked all the stereotypes Know Nothings heap on Mexican high schoolers, and not only graduate from high school but go on to college. While matriculated, most undocumented college students work two or three jobs to pay for tuition because, guess what? Federal financial aid doesn’t apply to them; they can’t accept most scholarships due to their lack of papers. These secular saints go to college and work and study all while the very real threat of la migra looms in the background, ready to destroy their lives. To succeed in this environment takes the type of fortitude that carried previous Americans through the wilderness, a courage that beat the Nazis and created fake vomit.
And, on top of all this, these kids are culturally more American than John Wayne.