Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The best Mexican memes of the week and what they mean

It’s a Saturday, and that means it must be time for the latest Spanish meme review with the newest installment of “but what does it meme?

This week, find some spicy jokes, steal some laughs about an empathetic burglar and enjoy a staggeringly (ahem) funny confrontation between two jealous lovers. Let’s dive right in!

Meme translation: “Yeah! Let Taylor Swift score a goal!”

What does it meme? In case you were wondering, Taylor Swift-mania hit Mexico, too!

And while the Super Bowl isn’t quite as big of a deal down here as it is north of the border, there are plenty of watch parties because…well, we just like to party! Also, it’s true: many Mexicans actually like “American football,” which I’ll admit is a complete mystery to me.

That said, I think it’s fair to say we’ve all found plenty of amusement in the focus on Taylor Swift, who was responsible for getting more than the usual crowd watching the Super Bowl this year (and apparently a few Very Manly Men upset). Irreverence and desmadre is the name of the game in Mexico, and we are 100% here for it!

Meme translation: “Well, well, if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions.”

What does it meme? I’ve seen similar formats to this one in English, and it cracks me up in both languages. I also love it because it’s a humorous mirror to humanity, who would absolutely love to think that any sin committed is “free,” cosmically or otherwise.

My own observation of the culture in this respect is that people are either 100% resigned to this fact or 100% in denial (“How dare the waiter give anything less than stellar service after I was rude and didn’t leave a tip last time!”). There’s not often a whole lot in between.

Meme translation: “Honey, what were you doing online at 3 a.m.?” “And how do you know I was?”

What does it meme? To be fair, services like Facebook Messenger show you are pretty much always online even when you’re not, and I know plenty of insomniacs who are up and scrolling in the wee hours of the morning.

Most likely, though, “conectado” is referring to WhatsApp, Mexico’s most ubiquitous messaging service, which does pretty faithfully let you know when someone is online or not.

Now, for the picture: in Mexico, “ponerse los cuernos” (“to put on horns” apparently? I never really thought about how weird it sounded in English) means to be cheated on.

In the case above, it’s clear what each partner is assuming about the other. Who would one be talking to at 3 a.m.?

Meme translation: “Your life or your money?” “What life? What money?”

What does it meme? I might be hugging that poor fellow, too. In the lean, party-free months following the holidays, chances are we’re all feeling a little like him.

Meme translation: “Yesterday I was making lunch and my son said, ‘Mommy, one day I’m going to work and help you with the food and household expenses.’ My eyes filled with tears; my little boy is already 32.”

What does it meme? Young Mexican men have a reputation for never really learning their way around the house, as there’s a tendency for mothers to “baby” their babies — especially their male babies — for much longer than one would think. This isn’t universal, but it’s widespread enough to be firmly entrenched in the cultural imagination; the gender divide when it comes to housework and childcare is still pretty one-sided.

This is very fortunately not the case in my own home, and I hope and sense that a generational change away from this stereotype is afoot!

Meme translation: “Everyone’s talking about how cold it is in the city…but the cold of my body asks for you, and I don’t know where you are.”

What does it meme? This one sounds weird, I know. But the bottom part of this meme is a famous line from an even more famous song, Si No Te Hubieras Ido (“If You Hadn’t Left”). 

It’s such a romantic line, and it’s one that everyone knows even if they don’t know all the rest of the words (but they probably do). A karaoke classic!

Meme translation: “When you’re able to generate a molecule that’s an irritant so you don’t get eaten…but you grow in Mexico.”

What does it meme? Poor chiles. Evolution thought it had it all figured out. Unfortunately for spicy plants, a los mexicanos les gusta la mala vida (“Mexicans love the bad life”), as some around here would surely joke. 

In any case, I sure am grateful they figured out how to make those spicy plants tasty…mostly, within reason. 😉

Sarah DeVries is a writer and translator based in Xalapa, Veracruz. She can be reached through her website, sarahedevries.substack.com.

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