“No mames, guey” is The Notorious NMG.
(noh MAH-mays way)
The Notorious NMG is the fastest way to gain jobsite cred – that is, credibility among Spanish-speaking workers on the job.
“No mames, guey” means, “Quit messing with me, dude.”
And because construction guys & gals always mess with one another, “No mames, guey” is an unexpected way to get a laugh and build stronger relationships.
But it’s a double-edged espada.
It’s notoriously dangerous.
“No mames, guey” also happens to be a great way to get your ass kicked.
So before traipsing off to practice “No mames, guey,” let’s break down The Notorious NMG into its basic parts.
Again, “No mames, guey” means “Quit messing with me, dude.”
Said another way, it’s like saying, “Ahhh, quit f****** with me, bro.”
But that’s not the literal translation.
Literally translated it means, “Don’t suck, you idiot.”
Slightly different meaning, right?
This is why you need to be careful.
You need to exercise caution and employ some Social IQ when handling The Notorious NMG.
“Mames” comes from the verb, mamar (mah-MAHR) to suck or suckle.
This makes sense because “Mama” is right there: mamar.
Newborns suckle their mothers
No mames is then translated as, “Don’t suck.”
“Guey” is pronounced “way.”
It means idiot or moron or the always-effective dumbass.
Amongst friends, it takes on the meaning of dude.
Listen to a group of Spanish-speaking construction workers and you’ll hear dozens of gueys.
¿Qué onda, guey?
¡Ayyyy, no mames, guey!
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Everything is guey.
Everyone is guey.
Since everyone else uses it, can’t you?
Sí y no.
“No mames, guey” is best used with those Spanish-speakers with whom you already have a relationship on the job.
(If you don’t have a relationship with any Spanish-speaker on the job… go back to my first blog post and start reading….)
But with common sense, you can use “No mames, guey” with workers you don’t know.
For example, I was in Mexico recently and was about to be served prime rib. The carver asked me how much I wanted. Before I could answer, he said, “Here… take this.” in Spanish and offered me up the entire 10-pound flank.
This was a man with a sense of humor.
So I said, “Ayyyy, no mames, guey.”
He laughed so hard he nearly spit up on my roast.
He established the atmosphere of humor.
I delivered the unexpected punchline.
“No mames, guey” doesn’t work at church.
“No mames, guey” doesn’t work with the elderly.
“No mames, guey” doesn’t work with your girlfriend’s father.
It’s The Notorious NMG.
Use it with caution, but don’t be afraid to use it.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry.
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Categories: Construction Spanish