Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to alienate/win over a Chilean

I must say, you guys had some hilarious comments on how to alienate Chileans. Sooooo true. First, a few ways to alienate a Chilean:
  • Tell them you're vegan or vegetarian, hopefully at a barbecue.
  • When you want them to pass you the bottle of Coke, ask them to pass you the azúcar con agua, color caramelo (the caramel-colored watery sugar.)
  • Tell them you don't really like tennis, and that Massu and Gonzalez aren't that good anyway.
  • When you go out with your friends, instead of ordering a beer or a pisco sour, order mineral water. All night.
Now several ways to win them over:
  • Tell them you love Chile and speak positively about their country. Obviously! hehehe
  • Use lots of chilenismos. I LOVE language, and eat up new expressions. (I've taken a six-month break from my Chilenis blog, though I've started again-sort of.) I don't know that there's anything more flattering and humorous for Chileans than to see their culture spread to foreigners. Instead of "Esta wea es para el pico" "Ehsta whea ehs paa el piicou". Oh, and if you really want to blow them away, teach them a chilenismo they don't know. I find the word "lumami" is a bit uncommon here. Some, but not all, Chileans know it.
  • Ask your suegra (or other Chilean friends who like to cook) for their recipes, onda porotos grandos, pastel de choclo, pescado al vapor, etc. Talk about cooking with older Chilean women, and let them know how the recipes they gave you worked out.
  • If speaking with a chileno "culto" (~highbrow), mention the poets Vicente Huidobro, Pablo de Rokha, Gabriela Mistral's prose (vs her poetry), the movie Tony Manero, etc. They'll be surprised you didn't choose to talk about Pablo Neruda. Or tell them about a Chilean literary figure that they've never heard about like Teresa Wilms Montt.
  • With some types of Chilean women, who tend to ignore you on purpose, ignore back. It really irks them and makes them interested in you. Obviously, if they are ignoring you on purpose, they probably will never be a fun friend to have. Fun Chileans usually don't ignore you, and may be interested in what you are like, since you're a foreigner.
  • Converse as they do, focusing as much on the speaker as on the topic of conversation. Be sure to tease (webear) the speaker as much as possible.
Other posts on "how to alienate a Chilean":
Don't call me gringa
Cachando Chile
La Gringuita Diaries
NY Gringa Expat
Abby's Line


Matt said...

Tennis- I was in Santiago when Chile won a couple of medals at the Olympics which were the country's first ever, I think. I pissed off quite a number of people by repeatedly stating that tennis isn't really an Olympic sport and no one else in the world cares who wins the title.

That was fun.

Sara said...

I did that. The whole announcing that I was a strict vegetarian to my group of friends at a ramada. They were speechless and kept asking me if choripan counted as vegetarian.

Margaret said...

Great post! You beat me to the punch on the winning them over side... that's my next angle so let's start the group post going now!

Lucie said...

The tennis thing is so true. Almost every Chilean I know watches tennis religiously and Gonzalez is a National hero!

Great topic for the next group post! How to win over a Chilean! I like it! I'll write that one soon!

Annje said...

I bet they think Vegans are alien. I love how a vegetarian plate comes with a piece of ham (or used to or does at some restaurants).

Margaret said...

Once we went to a tanguería and when my husband said he didn't he meat (carne) the waiter said "Ok, pork then" (chancho)!!
He finally started eating fish when we go out just so he doesn't always get stuck with a cold salad!

Isabel said...

haha. the mineral water thing is sooo true although that's never me, jaja

AND the ignoring chilean women thing,too. i just experimented with that and it worked! eh eh eh eh!

Maeskizzle said...

hehehe, Matt, I would have loved to have seen their reaction! Right in the middle of their glory to have a foreigner say "tennis isn't really an Olympic sport", hehehe. That's cruel!!

Sara, so DOES a choripan count as vegetarian? hehehe It should!

Margaret, great topic! It's fascinating comparing our experiences of cultural idiosyncrasies.

Annje, agreed, I don't know that most Chileans would understand/accept veganism except for the Chilean vegans and vegetarians.

Lucie, yeah they watch a lot of tennis here. I prefer watching soccer. I find it entertaining for the first game or two. I can't even get through a whole set, much less a match.

Isabel, I'm so glad that worked for you! I've found it soo useful.

I may be wrong, but I almost feel like some chilenas lose respect for me, or at least are turned off by me if I'm friendly to them. (Only some though.) And that's just my impression. And it does affect how I act with them a little, because I often don't even want to make the effort to be friendly if it's not appreciated. But some chilenas reciprocate friendliness, which is nice ;)

Anyhoo, I'll see if I can come up with more "how to win Chileans over" thoughts. Maybe reading other people's ideas will help me think of more.

Anonymous said...

well, 95% of the points explained above is people trying to be friendly with you. 1) the vegan/vegetarian stuff is true, but it happens in US too (south) . 2) mineral water..like many countries, we use alcohol to make new friends and to reinforce friendship ("si a chile vino y no toma vino..a que vino?") so isn't "polite" to drink water :D 3) sports: you are right, Americans or British never celebrate sport competitions..pfffff. anyway, I'm not complaining, just laughing at gringos who "no cachan nada". (all the grammar mistakes were on purpose ;), and please read this comment with a Strong Chilean accent)...just go there and mix with locals, you will like it.