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by Abigail Van Buren

Using Accents At Ethnic Restaurants Is Rude, Buffoonish

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I often go out to eat at local ethnic restaurants with a small group of friends. When we're at a Mexican restaurant, I often throw a couple of "arribas!" into our conversation. When we're at an Italian restaurant, I will sometimes use an Italian accent to say "pizza pie-a!" My husband tells me it's offensive.

I don't mean to insult anyone. My comments are made in the spirit of fun. Furthermore, the owners and servers at these restaurants are hardly ethnic Mexicans or Italians.

I would never wish to hurt someone or be derogatory, so I told my husband I'd consult you. What do you think? -- MUY CALIENTE IN IOWA

DEAR MUY CALIENTE: When you visit a Jewish deli do you tell the server, "Oy vey, I'll have the corned beef"? Your husband is right -- cool it. Not because you'll offend the servers in the restaurant, but because stereotyping makes you look like a fool.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics