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An American friend of mine would constantly whack her boyfriend on the shoulder and say, “Get your mind out of the gutter!” You see, her boyfriend was an aficionado at “albures”. Anyone learning Spanish and planning on traveling to Mexico needs to be forewarned about them, especially if you are a woman.

You see in Mexico, anything at any given moment could have two meanings. I remember one time when I was traveling by myself in some city in southern Mexico when I got lost. It started to rain and I went deeper and deeper into some unknown “colonia” (neighborhood). I hailed a taxi and gave him my hotel’s address. I made some silly comment about the rain to which the “taxista” (taxi driver) replied, “¿Te gusta mojarte?” (You like to get wet?) I didn’t get it at the time. It wasn’t until a year or so later that I realized what had really happened.

I had already been living in Mexico for quite some time and spoke Spanish fluently before I realized that I couldn’t walk into a store and ask the attendant, “¿Tiene ustéd huevos?” unless I wanted to become the butt of the joke. The word “huevos” in Spanish, especially among men, refers to testicles. Instead of questioning a man’s manliness, most women ask, “¿Tiene blanquillos?” Now that’s something they don’t teach you in Spanish class.