“The Avocado Republic of Chile, because it’s too Cold to Grow Bananas” is Chile’s ultimate tour guide. Laugh-out-loud funny and insightful. American writer, Walker Rowe, sick of the pollution and noise in Santiago moves to the country for peace and quiet. What he did not know is when you move to the country, you exchange one set of problems for another. Click through the arrows to read.
Ladies, this is for the men. Read it if you dare.
Ask any male what is the best part of being an expatriate and he will tell you it is the chance for female companionship. Why is this? Well, if you were a female living in, say, Crete wouldn’t you grow tired of mustached black haired men all smelling of fish? Did you see Alan Bates and Anthony Quinn in “Zorba the Greek” filmed in Crete? Bate’s character Basil was shy and proper to the point of Victorian boring. Zorba told Basil that all the men hated the lovely widow in the village, because they all wanted her, but only he, as a foreigner, could have her. Basil steers away from the opportunity and Zorba admonishes him to take part in life and not run from it. He says, “Sometimes you just have to open your fly and join the battle(roughly transcribed).”
Think of this another way. What male has not dreamed of the girls on the Swedish bikini team, longed for the Japanese office chicks, swooned over the French farm maiden, lusted for the Dutch au pair? The same is true for females. What woman does not long to fly off to Italy and be wooed and seduced by some dark haired guy named “Antonio”. What is different might be attractive. What is the same could be blasé.
So it is for the foreigner here in Chile particularly the Gringo, the Germans, the Australian and French. Argentine men are considered handsome too, because many of them have blond or light colored hair. As for Americans and Europeans, part of your appeal is you speak English which most people here want to know–many Chileans study English, but few can actually speak it. So when they hear your accent, their interest will be piqued. If you have blue eyes and blond hair, they will become even more curious, because here most people are like, well, the fishermen in Crete meaning they all look the same. Well, that’s not entirely true as there are plenty of blond people here too and Chileans come in all sizes, shapes, and colors as long as the color is “moreno” or white for the skin and black for the hair. Still the Chilean female invariably will complain that Chilean men as a whole are too short and most are what they call “machistas” meaning “chauvinists”.
The other reason the foreigner can do well here with the opposite sex is you can seduce a female in her language even if you do not speak the same. You can bumble into a social situation and not appear ludicrous doing so, because you are an ignorant and cute foreigner. Someone told me a few weeks ago: abroad every one is an extrovert. This is perhaps true. In a herd of horses, a stallion is less willing to engage with the fillies when the alpha male is around. But along comes the wayward donkey and well you know the end result–we call that a “mule”. OK this is a bad joke–not all relationships would end with this aberration of nature. But the point is made.
Now, having taken advantage of your expatriate status to actually land that female what to expect? First know that in Chile even on the second date the girl is likely to ask you to come meet her parents. Do not worry, you are not going there so that the father can inquire what are your intentions with his daughter. The woman is likely to spend much time with her family and so the whole thronging mob which is the extended Latino family is curious to meet the stranger. Still, don’t be too surprised when the father does in fact ask you, “What are your intentions with my daughter?”
Be warned in advance. Having on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd date managed to wrestle off the female’s bra—it is called “sostén” in Spanish—there is no abortion in Chile. Skipping ahead, If you manage to get even further and take off her panties—the word “panti” here means “hosiery”, female underwear is called “calzones”—then keep thinking about that lack of after-the-fact birth control when you consider that here child support is paid for either 22 or 28 years. That is a looooong time, some 10 years longer than the USA where we expel our youth from the nest at age 19. Here in Chile one is presumed to care for their offspring through college, graduate school, right on and beyond your own retirement, where you will likely die at your desk as you pay off university tuition. Given that, there might be some financial reason and incentive why there are so many single mothers here. Something like 65% of births are out-of-wedlock. That chance encounter can fund the female and her remaining dalliances for quite a long time. It is enough to make one consider joining the monastery.
Regarding the theme of money you might was well assume up front that she has none even if she is from the oligarchy. If she is a rich emprasaria, with a house at the beach, an apartment in Las Condes, and several automobiles, she will expect you to pay for everything. Even if she says she is a feminista the man is expected to pay. First date, second date, date n+1 it does not matter.
No money for that? Prostitution is legal here as long as the girl works as a call girl entertaining customers at her own home. Brothels are not legal. But be not surprised when you leave the bars of Tobalaba at 3 in the morning when the street walkers there fondle your balls while they pick your pocket.
Now for some vocabulary. If the woman moves into your house and takes over everything, she is a “mandona.” When you first meet she is simply your “amiga” (“friend”). Sleep with her and she becomes your “amiga con ventaja” (“friends with benefits”). Ask her to go steady and she becomes your “polola” and you are “pololeando”. Buy her a ring (a “brillante”) and she becomes your “prometida”, “esposa”, and “señora” in that order. Good luck for now the shackles are on for good.
Should things not work out here, cheer up for there is always the chance for divorce. My own observation is that 60% or more of Chilean couple (“parejas”) are separated or divorced. Only a few years ago divorce was not legal here so one got what is called by the Church an “annulment”. The Church with all its omnipresent power and association with The Almighty can erase your marriage as if it never existed. But today God is not necessary, for there is an even more powerful force on the planet: divorce attorneys. Yet they come at a steep price. The attorney keeps 10% of the marital assets and the court another 10%. But not to fret. There is no need here for what is called a prenuptial contract, because when one marries they can either declare their assets separate ”separation de bienes” or conjoined. For that reason foreign marriages are not recognized here until they are registered with the registro civil.
There. Now you have the rules of the road and know that not all the roads in Chile are paved. Enjoy your love life but wear a preservativo unless you want a quaqua in a foreign land.
(13) Readers Comments
March 21, 2017
March 02, 2017
March 02, 2017
February 21, 2017
February 05, 2017
I really enjoyed this story. It made me think about my own predisposit
Thank you, Scott.
I have been living in Santiago for about one year and I can confirm th
This was an enjoyable read. I could easily picture the venue and und
Thank you so much, Melanie. I appreciate your kind words about my stor