The longer you live here, the closer you edge toward crossing The Line. Gangs of San Miguel took on the concept, citing me in the first line, which means that now I’m impelled to write about the lines which I absolutely will not cross. Not under any circumstances. Well, only if threatened with revocation of my Mexican passport.
Let's see: I have worn high heels with jeans, left the plastic covering on a lampshade, accepted invitations to parties and events I had absolutely no intention of attending, failed to acknowledge receipt of or thank the donor for a gift, executed the Mexican lie, and have had my hair dyed in colors not found in nature.
A few of us might hesitate before hanging a black velvet painting of Elvis, the Last Supper, or something Jesus right in the living room, but there are even more cultural barriers. I would rather have fuzzy dice hanging from my rear-view mirror than cross any of these lines:
- 1. Wear polyester, which is the fabric of choice a good deal of Mexican clothing. I would never wear clothes which are too tight, reveal cleavage or bare arms. For men, the equivalent would be those shiny polyester shirts of a fabric similar to the Qiana of the 70's, usually adorned with the Virgen of Guadalupe or fighting cocks. Wait, I would never let polyester anything in my house.
2. Display tschotchkes — souvenirs and favors from baptisms, weddings, and the like, often in the form of Holly Hobby or childish dolls. Or homemade crafts.
3. MAJOR LINE ALERT!!! Decorate the bathroom with decorative toilet accessories to cover the toilet seat, load bandoliers of toilet paper, or upholster the toilet tank.
4. Dress detergent and cooking oil bottles and other kitchen appliances in clever garments. Mine are naked.
5. Wear an apron.
6. Apply high-gloss varnish on anything, particularly when matte or satin is an option. Mexicans love high-gloss and disdain matte finishes. It's only in recent years that I learned that matte and satin varnishes and paints are a lot more expensive than the high-glass, which explains a lot.
7. Wear religious medals and crucifixes as jewelry or hang a rosary over the bed.
8. Even consider knockoff Burberry, Coach and other designers. This is a capital offense.
9. Pluck my eyebrows and replace them with a finely drawn line.
- 10. Voluntarily listen to banda.
These lines are not just a matter of naco; I've seen all of the above in the homes of educated, high-income, cultured people. Even people I like.
And then there's the Don't Cross the Line food:
- 1. Jello fantasies.
2. Hot dog.
3. Pink fiesta cake
4. Macaroni mixed with ham and pineapple.
5. Lunch meat (possibly chopped up hot dog) mixed with mayonnaise and cooked vegetables, usually served over a tostado.
6. Major gross-out alert! Chicharrones cooked in sauce. Why not just serve up a dishrag in sauce?
- 7. Rice pudding.
I would rather eat gopher guts in gravy than any of these Mexican culinary delights.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s a little naco in all of us. Just more in some than others.