Saturday, December 18, 2004

"¿Por qué no eres casada?"

At my new job, there are many Mexicans. Many of them are in their 20's and 30's and a couple of the ones that might be interested in me ask some very pointed questions. I've noticed this about Mexicanos (from Mexico). They'll come right out and ask me if I'm married, even if we don't know each other, like my first day at this job. American-born Mexicanos don't do this. I once had a Mexicano call out to me in an el station, "¿Eres casada?" He was a complete stranger and he had been standing and talking with a friend when I bustled by, in a hurry to catch the train. Can you believe it? Why do they do that? I understand nothing about Mexicans (Mexicanos born in Mexico). I'm from California and have only a limited understanding of Mexican Americans (Mexicanos born in the U.S.).

Anyway, I've been struggling with these questions ever since I began this restaurant job. They ask me if I'm married, why I'm not married, if I've ever been married, why I've never been married, if I have a boyfriend, if I want a boyfriend and why I don't have a boyfriend. The interrogation is made all the more difficult by being in Spanish. After decades of shame and silence about my poor gringo-level Spanish ability, after decades of carefully NEVER mentioning Spanish on job applications or resumes, after decades of explaining to people with common expectations and assumptions that no, I don't speak Spanish, yeah, I know, but I don't. After all that, here I am at my first job ever where I actually have to speak Spanish. If I want the salad guy to understand that the customer wants both French AND Thousand Island dressing on her salad, I have to say it in Spanish. If I want to ask the dishwasher for more silverware, I have to say it in Spanish. Oh, the irony. The irony is thicker than my American accent.

Anyway, the questions don't stop: why aren't I married, why don't I have a boyfriend, why haven't I ever been married? I ask you, blog readers: what should I say to this?

Today I finally came up with the answer I'm going to use for now. One of the food runners (that is, one of the ones who hadn't asked me yet) asked me why I'm not married. I said, "Because I'm an axe murderer."

Does anyone know how to say that in Spanish?

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