Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cochinos


We're moving, to another neighborhood, and within the many discussions surrounding the moving process (new roommates etc.) lies the inevitable conversation about peoples' differing hygiene practices, which leads to a conversation about regional variations. We're talking broad generalizations, people, obviously there are exceptions. I'm not saying everyone does or does not do these things, just that certain trends have been noticed and noted. So I made a list; if I were more technologically-savvy I would have made a Venn diagram:

U.S.
OK not to take a shower every day
OK to spit in the street
OK to blow your nose in public
Mostly OK to fart and burp (I mean not really, but people do it all the time)
NOT ok to share drinking vessels/utensils with people you don't know
NOT ok to throw garbage on the street
NOT ok to leave your dog's crap on the street
NOT ok to pick your nose in public

Brazil
OK to do snot rockets in the street
OK to spit in the street
OK to pick your nose in public
OK to cut your nails in public
OK to bleach your leg hair at the beach
OK to throw garbage on the street
NOT ok to not shower every day
NOT ok to have dirty/unmanicured hands/feet
Spray hose necessary for proper hygiene

Colombia
OK to talk about diarrhea and farting (the way Americans talk about vomiting: "I was up all night with diarrhea after that hamburger I ate.")
OK to share shot glasses and soda bottles with people you don't know
NOT ok to not shower every day
NOT ok to have dirty/unmanicured hands/feet 
NOT ok to fart or burp
NOT ok to blow your nose in public 
NOT ok to spit in the street
NOT ok to throw garbage on the street
NOT ok to leave your dog's crap on the street
NOT ok to not brush your teeth after every meal (many people bring toothbrushes with them to work for after lunch)

Argentina
OK to talk in detail about your health problems to strangers
OK to throw garbage on the street
OK to leave your dog's shit on the street
OK not to take a shower every day
OK to pick your nose in public
OK to spit in the street 
OK to share drinking vessels/utensiles with people you don't know
NOT ok to burp or fart 
Bidet necessary for proper hygiene

Confused yet? Saying "Americans are gross, Brazilians are clean" (which I've heard, a lot) is pretty simplistic. Also, when you travel to another country, it's inevitable that you will unwittingly do something inappropriate. It's taken me awhile to understand just how gross Felipe's mother finds it that I don't shower every day. Colombia is the cleanest country I've ever been to, probably by far. You could eat dinner off the floor of its public bathrooms. On the other hand, Colombians find most of the rest of the world extremely cochino (dirty/gross) so I feel like there's got to be a balance before perceived cleanliness becomes a prohibitive factor that makes you uncomfortable to leave your own country.

2 comments:

  1. It would be a *crazy* venn diagram! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha, especially an illustrated one! Eew.

    ReplyDelete