Mexicans love nicknames and they aren’t easily insulted by name-calling. Children are fondly called Gordito or Gordita when they are on the chubby side and Mama will take pride in her child being referred to as such, since it indicates her baby is healthy. Even as they grow older, a young person will hang on to a defining label, with absolutely no prejudice. We have met adults who still maintain names given long ago, sometimes no longer applicable, such as Flaco/Flaca, meaning skinny, thin.
It’s not unusual to hear family members in Puerto Vallarta refer to one another as Feo (ugly) and these tags are met with good humor and laughs. A guy who is limber and able to climb palms might be called Chango and yet, it could also be that his friends think he looks like a monkey. These names stick and follow one into adulthood. If you hear a fellow called Gallo, you can be sure he is popular with the ladies and his friends consider him the rooster of the gang. Moreno has darker skin then most of his peers and Rubia is the blondest of her friends. Masculine and feminine in Spanish are interchangeable by simply switching out the O for an A to go from one to the other respectively.
Anglo given names have nicknames… Robert is Bob or Bobby, Margaret is Margie, Richard can be Rich, Rick or Dick and Elizabeth can be called many names such as Liz, Betsy or Beth. Same goes for Spanish names. A quick list of common names for referral: Memo for Guillermo, Cacho for Carlos, Koke for Jorge, Chimo for Joaquín, Chuy for Jesús, Javi for Javier, Paco or Pancho for Francisco, Nacho for Ignacio, Tito for Alberto, Lalo for Eduardo; Leti for Leticia, Loli for Dolores, Lulú for Lourdes, Lupe for Guadalupe (male or female), Pepa for Josefa… to name a few. It seems that no one goes without a secondary name and many are tagged with more than one. Adding ito to any name makes it small, as with Pepita or Panchito. Or perhaps Changito or Gallito.
It seems that no one goes without a secondary name and many are tagged with more than one. If someone calls you Muñeca (doll) or Bruja (witch) consider it a term of endearment and be flattered.
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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