Ok, so now that I’ve got these porteños on lockdown, I’ll investigate some helpful hints that may improve my chances of having positive social interactions with them using my same trusty texts.
Fact #1: “Unlike the stereotypical Parisian, who simply takes it for granted that he lives in a wonderful place and is colossally indifferent to outsiders who agree with him, porteños never seem to tire of hearing foreigners tell them how sensational their buildings/women/steaks/footballers are” (Time Out).
- What I’m taking away from this: Duly noted. My initial friend-making strategy, until I acquire the language skills to have a real personality, will be to shower Argentineans with compliments. I will report back on the success.
Fact #3: “You should never turn down an invitation to drink mate or eat beef.”
- What I’m taking away from this: Done. No convincing necessary.
Fact #4: Apparently, pay-by-hour hotels are extremely popular, especially due to the fact that most Argentinean youth live with their parents until they get married.
- What I’m taking away from this: Most importantly, one of the three most popular motels my book names is called “Kansas City.” Good. To. Know. Might now introduce myself as from “Kansas” or “Overland Park” if they inquire further (though I presume they’ll be sufficiently perplexed by the first answer).
Fact #5: Men love to call out to women to pass them on the street. These comments, called piropos, range from the poetic to the vulgar, and Adams says they are, “so much a part of Argentine society that I have known women to feel offended if they walk one block without anyone making a comment.” Ok. This is one of the things that makes me most uncomfortable about Latin American society (although to be fair, it might just be everywhere but America; Europe definitely has it’s share of this behavior, too). Every block?
- What I’m taking away from this: This is a toughie. Although the author notes that some are sweet (‘What’s going on in Heaven that angels have come down to Earth?’ is an example), I predict that I will still feel quite uncomfortable. Upside: for a while, at least, I probably won’t understand what they’re saying!
Fact #6: A tip from Adams: “Don’t jump back or try to edge away when an Argentine is hovering a matter of millimeters from your nose. Just as you shouldn’t flinch if they grab your arm to emphasize a particularly important point or decide to casually pick lint off your suit.”
- What I’m taking away from this: This will also be a challenge; even for America, my personal space bubble is a little big. I foresee rapid shrinkage.