Monday, September 1, 2008

piropos and the like

After commenting on Kyle's question of the day: to provoke or not to if you should bitch out the nasty jotes (ho-tays) who make comments or which several of us replied: the answer depends on the situation...basically, yes it's a good idea, as long as you wouldn't be putting yourself in danger doing it, I'm going to share some experiences I had in Spain along these lines.

Besides the myriad times Chilean guys have thrown piropos my way, the Spanish are also good at this. While the Spanish flirts, in general, I find to be more respectful than the Chilean jotes, and actually I absolutely loved the Galician people and felt very at home when I lived in Galicia...I did have a few memorable incidents of courageous piropos when in Spain and they all seemed really funny to me.

Los pulpos
The first experience was while at a discoteque in Madrid with other gringas. I went to the hip-hop floor and started dancing with some of my classmates-all girls, in a circle the way we do, and I had a Spaniard come up behind me and grab me - like put his arms around me. I was shocked and turned around and angrily pushed him away. I crossed the circle of gringas and started dancing on the other side, and the exact same thing happened right away. So I went to the electronic floor where the guys were more chill. The Spaniards called this type of guy a pulpo, (an octupus).

One night I was walking with my friend Carmen in Santiago de Compostela. We were just arriving to the vegetarian restaurant where we were meeting up with a couple more friends and we heard running footsteps behind us and before I was able to turn around, this guy wound up his hand and slapped my right butt cheek with mucho gusto and continued running. (I was surprised it didn't bruise, the slap was so forceful!) He was out of sight in a couple seconds. Out of shock, I just started laughing. Because it didn't scare me and it was just completely absurd. Granted, I'd probably be pissed if it ever happened again, but at the time it was too ridiculous to take seriously.

Los viejos verdes
And the third and most entertaining incident happened after J, L, and I did the "Camino de Santiago" from the border of Galicia to Portomarín. We heard the last 100 kilometers of the camino were alongside the highways and not nearly as pretty as the first 500 kilometers. Granted we didn't do the whole pilgramage. We started like at kilometer 400 and walked to kilometer 500...but anyway me estoy alejando del tema.

So we were in Portomarín waiting for the bus to Lugo where we would catch a second bus home to Santiago, and there were these two 70 year old guys waiting for the same bus. And J and I were talking to one and L was talking to the other and he began to hit on her, el viejo verde. Just then the bus arrived so we let the old foggies get on first. They sat in the back and then J and L sat behind the driver and I sat behind them where we wouldn't be bothered. After a bit on the bus, I felt something in my hair, and I ignored it because como tan could they be so dumb. But then I felt something touch my hair again; I turned and the two viejos were sitting behind me smiling at me.

I shouted at them:
Me: ¿Cuántos años tenéis?
el viejo verde 1: Tengo 70. (He said this with lots of dignity, his tone almost made me crack up in laughter).
Me: Porque vosotros estáis portando como si tuvierais 4 o 5 años. (I had just learned the subjuctive form "tuvierais" in grammar class, and was soo proud of myself for being able to use it correctly in an urgent situation like this one.)

And with that, the whole bus erupted. There were like 20 other passengers and they all had an opinion. "Leave the girls alone!" they said. "Behave." "Quit being rude." And the bus driver started braking and asked them "Do you guys want to get off the bus right now? Because if you don't leave them alone, you will be getting off." To which they responded "no." We were in the middle of nowhere. I can just imagine these two viejos verdes balling each other out after being dropped off on the highway in the middle of the prairie. Hahaha. Needless to say, they left us alone for the rest of the ride.

The large difference that I've experienced between Chilean and Spanish cultures with regards to the men who throw piropos, is that the Spanish are way more forward about it. I think they have a healthier relationship towards rejection. Whereas, in the Chilean incidents (I commented them on Kyle's blog), the men often try to "pasar piola" the dude on the bus who had his hand touching the side of my leg without me even knowing it. And then when I chewed him out, he just moved over and acted like nothing had happened. And no one said anything. Very typical of Chilean culture. And the other guy who crossed the line staring at me in the grocery store ran away before I could yell at him.

Granted not all Chilean guys are piroperos. Most of them are very chivalrous and fun to be with. While there are a lot of jotes in Chile-too many-I'm doing my part to fight back. Jejejeje.

And I don't mind the ones who are nice about. Every now and then when I'm having an I-feel-ugly day, it's nice to hear that not everyone agrees with me.


kumichan83 said...

Hi, I'm Kathleen. I found your blog through JMCS.

I think it's funny how many of the men who make cat calls are actually total wimps who try to escape if you confront them. How do Chilean women respond to piropos? I know in many countries the women just ignore them.

Anyway, the grabbing ass story is funny and reminds me of something that happened when I was in Greece. My friend April and I were walking in Crete, Greece one evening and this guy passed by on a moped. He went to the end of the street, turned around, and grabbed April's ass while driving by on his moped. Pretty ridiculous!

Maeskizzle said...

hahahaha, hilarous, on a moped no less. What do they tell their friends afterwards? "Dude, check it out, I grabbed this girl's ass while riding my moped."

The ass-grabbing thing must be a Southern European custom among piroperos. I've heard they do it in Italy too.

As far as how Chilean women react to the piropos, I think they just ignore the guys.

Mamacita Chilena said...

I find it totally hilarious that we are on this subject just a week after talking about Chilean men and how much we love them :)

This would definitely be the downside to the Latino culture.