13 Reasons I Might Truly be Salteña?

An American that lives in Salta posted this link the other day, saying “I can’t believe how true some of these are.”

Well, frankly I 100% disagree with pretty much everything in that post. That stuff could be true for Buenos Aires, I don’t know. But based on my experience in Salta, I totally disagree. The post says “You will never truly be an Argentine. Here’s why….”

The direct quotes from the blog are posted below, and then my response to each one.

1. You think people catch colds from coming into contact with what we doctors call the “rhinovirus”. In fact, colds are caused by going out with wet hair and an exposed neck when the season changes. Also, it’s not a cold, it’s flu. Probably swine flu.

Growing up my grandma always told me not to go out with wet hair and use a scarf. When I lived in Spain, my host mom said the same thing. These “beliefs” have nothing to do with the people being Argentinian. People just think that. And let me tell you, when the temperature drops in Salta and I do leave my apartment with wet hair, I tend to get sick. Should’ve listened to my grandma. (By the way, hi G&G if you’re reading this! Miss you!)

2. You’re puzzled by the excitement such ordinary foods inspire in the locals: You think alfajores are all right, but you’d rather have a Twix. You don’t have an irrational emotional urge to eat pasta every Sunday. Cremón cheese adverts anger you. “That’s not cheese!” you mutter at the TV. “That’s not cheese!”

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I would take an alfajor over a Twix ANY DAY. Clearly the person who wrote the article has not indulged in the variety of alfajores available on the Argentinian market (do you see that Oreo one above? Seriously). I do indeed have an urge to eat pasta (& pizza) every Sunday, I’d also like to thank my grandma and grandpa for those Sunday big Italian get-togethers. In regards to the cheese thing, I will address that later.

3. You feel a twinge of anxiety when your taxi doesn’t have seatbelts.

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I don’t even wear seatbelts in taxis in the US. And honestly, the taxi drivers are excellent in Salta. Maybe this one is just a Buenos Aires problem…

4. Your clothes are all wrong. You think “elegante sport” is the Spanish for “show jumping”. You don’t know when to wear a tie or not (answer: never wear a tie). The only time you ever wore alpargatas was for a fancy dress party, to which you went as the world’s least-convincing gaucho. It’s even worse if you’re a foreign woman in Buenos Aires, enduring the third year of a gruelling buffing-waxing-shopping-dieting regime in constant fear that the slightest slip will result in being cast out from polite society.

I literally don’t understand any of this. In Salta, clothes are NOT socially important in the slightest. Yeah, people dress up when they’re going out at night. But during the day, really it doesn’t matter what you wear at all. Also the whole buffing-waxing-shopping-dieting thing has nothing to do with Salta, unless you count “dieting” as eating empanadas, tamales, and humitas.

5. You’re scared of the plug sockets.

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What? This person must be completely ignorant because in pretty much every country there’s a different outlet shape. In Argentina they use two different shaped plugs, one like Europe and another like Australia. So most of the outlets accommodate both shaped plugs.

6. You don’t know the first thing about piropos. You think it’s quite rude to shout out compliments and/or oral sex requests/offers at passing women. The most daring thing you ever said to a strange woman in public was when you asked a pretty girl at the bus stop the time. You’ve never had sex with a prostitute either. Maricón.

Piropos (cat calls) happen very infrequently in Salta. There is kind of an issue with prostitution but honestly, the fact that having sex with a prostitute would make you “argentine” is repulsive, offensive, and absurd and I can’t believe someone would actually write that.

7. You’re too polite. You say “hola” when you walk into a supermarket. You say “por favor” to the bus driver. You think the Spanish for “thank you” is “gracias”, when it is in fact “listo”, and you think the Spanish for “goodbye” is “chau”, when it is it fact a stony silence.

I was shocked when I read this. In Salta, the store owners always greet you, as do the bus drivers. They are the first ones to say hello, they use usted with me (formal), everyone always says gracias, and goodbyes are a combination of chau with another phrase (hasta luego, nos vemos, que te vaya bien, que te vaya lindo, etc.).

8. Paradoxically, you’re too rude. You take your shoes off indoors. You eat lunch without using a napkin. Sometimes, you just can’t be bothered to kiss people goodbye. Ortiba.

These are just little cultural things that you pick up on right away and from there on out you should’ve have a problem. Not sure why the author thinks these things are such a big deal.

9. That’s not cheese!

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This is cremón. Ok, so perhaps the Wisconsin girl in me says that this isn’t cheese as defined by the United States. But who’s to say that this isn’t cheese? Bogus. To me it’s cheesy enough to be cheese.

10. You can’t make a drink in a bar last longer than 30 minutes without ordering another, and you never cease to be amazed at how these people can jabber on until 6am with just a 7-Up for sustenance.

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Maybe because I lived in Spain, this isn’t totally strange to me. But because you’re so engaged in conversations with people, you just don’t drink that quickly. Also, culturally it isn’t the norm to get wasted here like it is in the states, so the idea of chugging anything is ridiculous. Agreed, I can’t make it until 6 a.m. but most Argentines nap before they go out, so it makes sense.

11. Your poverty/crisis/quilombo threshold is too low. Don’t get me wrong, you enjoy a good old cacerolazo as much as the next Recoleta housewife, and a severe devaluation of the peso would bring you and your foreign bank account nothing but joy. But your patience will prove short if the government keeps depriving you of i-Phones and Sriracha sauce, and at the first sign of things really kicking off 2001-style you’ll be on the first plane to Barcelona (feeling no patriotic duty to fly Aerolíneas). Also, don’t all these poor people get awfully depressing after a while?

What? Argentina, yes, is suffering an economic crisis. But seriously? “Don’t all these poor people get awfully depressing after a while?” Come on. If the government keeps depriving you of iPhones and Sriacha? Bring it with you from home, or buy it in any of the neighboring countries. Stop bitching.

12. Your Spanish will never be good enough. You could immerse yourself in a small village in Entre Ríos for thirty years, cut yourself off from all contact with the English language, and the locals will still think of you as a foreigner and comment that you’ve still got a bit of a “tonito inglés”. The bastards.

I laughed out loud at this one. In ANY Spanish-speaking country, everyone knows I am not a native Spanish speaker. And they comment on it. Simply because I wasn’t raised to be a bilingual child, I will always have a slight accent and intonation no matter how much I try to get rid of it.

13. Finally, there is one watertight indicator of your inherent un-Argentineness: no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get that enthusiastic about Erasure.

I have no idea what Erasure is. I googled it and it seems to be from the UK from the 1980s. I’ve never heard an Erasure song while living in Argentina. So I frankly don’t understand this one.

If there’s one thing this article taught me, it’s that perhaps I am truly Argentinian because I was fairly offended by a lot of these statements and don’t think they’re a true representation of the Argentine people. Of course, I proudly do not live in Buenos Aires, so I’m fairly certain that I’m having a very different experience than those who live in porteño land. I feel like this article should perhaps be re-titled 13 Reasons You’ll Never Truly be a Porteño.

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1 Comment

  1. I think the guy is a British humor writer married to an Argentine — not quite sure, as I’m in Buenos Aires and too busy exploring to read many of his other posts, but I read a couple in castellano last night and I laughed very hard. One cannot take him too literally, as he’s trying to amuse a mixed audience of Argentines, Brits, USians, and Canadians, at least. Some of his posts are exceedingly silly.

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