Chile Group: Chilean men

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Slowly I have been meeting Chilean bloggers that I really like, people who have something in common with me. These meetings started with Kyle and talking to her online via our blogs for about 10 months before meeting in person. Once I did meet her, I also met others as she seems to be the queen bee of Gringas married to Chileans online. Anyway, this week Kyle decided, via a suggestion from Heather, that we should all do posts on the same topic on the same day. This will be our first, the topic is Chilean men.

To tell the truth, I am not sure what to say about this topic. I have known many over the years in a variety of ways: boyfriends, host fathers, host family (brother, cousins, uncles), friends, teachers, strangers, and drunk men in bars. I guess the first thing I am wary of is making generalizations. For example, I would say generally that Chilean men are very sexist. For example, I have a (host) uncle who has a habit of telling me that I really need a macho man in my life. The implication is that this way I would learn my place in the world. I always respond that I would like to see someone try to put me in my place that way!

Several months ago I went to a dance club with some friends. I was the only one not in a couple there. Dancing with the group, another man came up to ask me to dance. I told him in no unclear terms that I really wasn’t interested and that I was happily dating someone else. He said he didn’t care, that he too was dating someone, and he just wanted to dance. He danced with me for the rest of the night at a respectful distance; we barely spoke. At the end of the night, he did ask for my number. I reminded him that I was dating someone and uninterested in a relationship or romance, but I did give him my real number. It seemed the right thing to do as he had been a gentleman. He called twice. Both times I was on the phone or out with friends and told him I couldn’t speak. Admittedly, the first time he called I didn’t even remember his name– his name is Cristian. After the second time, he sent the following text (or something very similar):

You a very pretty, but very mean. I am not going to waste anymore time on you!

The sense of entitlement was infuriating. I had done nothing to lead him on and yet he oozed a macho attitude that claimed I owed him something.

Another aspect of Chilean culture and Chilean men is the difficulty of creating and maintaining relationships between males and females. I have been told repeatedly by Chileans (both male and female) that friendships between men and women are impossible because there is always sexual tension and that the basis of any friendship is always one side wanting more. Heather also has touched on this here in her blog, although she also focuses on the difficulties of female-female friendships in Chile. While I have successfully maintained multiple friendships with men in the US, I have definitely struggled more with this in Chile. The male friendships that I have in Chile are always described as “sister-like”. My ex-roommate, Lu, who is one of my best friends, always refers to me as a sister figure. This is sweet and we have a great, playful, honest relationship. But, the terming, also demonstrates how there is little space for female-male friendship between the non-related.

That being said, I have many examples of men in Chile who do not fill this code. S is possibly more feminist then I am. He is outspoken and friendly. He maintains multiple, longterm friendships with women. He doesn’t see women or wives as property. Lu recognizes and articulates many of the ways in which he is macho in his outlook. How he is jealous and sometimes controlling. He also articulates the need for women to have sexual freedom and control over their lives. M, a friend I have through Lu, wants to go to the States and become a sex therapist– a profession he sees a sorely lacking in Chile. He talks freely about how Chilean society teaches girls and boys that they can’t be friends, that friendship is impossible. He complains at how both sexes are shuffled off into their own boxes and not free to explore specific themes. Girls are not supposed to play sports or ask boys out. Boys are not supposed to explore their emotions. Both genders are crippled by this.

Other blogs that are participating (I will update to the specific link as the show up and list the title of the post, ones without title are just blogs that promised to participate):

Kyle: Chilean Men

Heather: Chilean Men

Emily: Group post: Chilean Men

Tamsin (Chilean men’s complete devotion to the female species)

Tyffanie: Chilean Men

Katina (style and male sex symbols)

Mandy (Chilean men compared to U.S. men)

Leigh (having friendships with Chilean men)

Shannon (Chilean male drivers)

Meredith (Chilean men’s intense need to be in a relationship)

Lydia (a completely spot on list of generalizations about Chileans)

Jessica (guy love in the Chilean form)

Rita, aka Kyle’s mom (her impression of S. as a son in law, his friends, and a few male tour guides)

Renee (gay Chilean men)

13 responses »

  1. I totally agree with the gender thing you talk about, like how important it is for a woman to be a woman and a man to be a man. And if you behave androgonously, you are mixed up. If you are bisexual, for example, you are totally confused and basically just a homosexual in denial. Gender differences are really important here. The parents of infant girls get their daughters’ ears pierced asap so that everyone is clear their baby is a girl.

  2. Wow that was a really cool read. It sounds like people in Chile are very much like people in Europe where I’ve been many times. I think in general if you look at history, society is sexist. I think in America we’re used to different norms.

    Really cool post.

    And that guy who danced with you clearly wanted more than just dancing :-P

  3. Hi Julie! Welcome to the blog. I think it is true and I did encounter it somewhat in parts of Eastern Europe and Spain as well. That said, I would say that sexism still is alive and well in the US, just it is hushed in its tones in that it is politically incorrect. However, if you look at wages, if you look at societal expectations, if you look at style, if you look at some uses of language– it is still all there.

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  6. I have to say that I completely agree about some Chilean men being extremely macho, although this is definitely not true of all Chilean men. I dated a Chilean man in Southern Chile for 4 years and the macho attitude really came out in arguments.

  7. Being a Chilean man myself, I’m going to say… I do think Chileans in general are very sarcastic and maybe some of their comments were lost in translation. Just like you mentioned… some people are just not cool… regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, gender…

    My old man says: “Se van a acabar las piedras, los “huevones” nunca”
    Actually, let me share another one… “Si los huevones volaran, no podriamos ver el sol”

  8. ** IMPORTANT FEEDBACK ** Being an Australian Chilean (a chilean born in chile who grew up in Australia) I feel there is a lot of misconceptions out there..
    Firstly, chilean really don’t want to spend their lives with a “gringa” they just want to have a sexual relationship with her (from experience). Chilean men don’t really have a liking of their ways just their different looks (try a blonde).

    I have a friend from chile who just arrived in australia about a year ago. He is happy with his chilean-australian girlfriend but wants to try a “gringa” in the same way someone wants to drive a different model car.

    We chilean men can never really be happy with a “gringa” because they are generally as dry and critically indifferent as their male counterparts. “gringa” women are generally better at grabbing our attention (being blonde helps) but don’t understand us in the long term. White women are as cool to “hang out with” as a dry leaf branch in death valley.

    You are some disillusioned ladies out there..

  9. Hi Southern Cross,

    In some ways, I agree with you. I think that a lot of Chilean men, particularly when I was in high school and college wanted to be with the gringa for the exotic factor (not to mention because they throught the gringa would “put out” easier).

    I, however, would argue that there are no chilean men that accept gringa ways or would want to marry gringa. I am on a list serve where all the members are gringa women married to chilean men— there are over 400 in this group alone. Many of the 400 have been married for years.

    Personally, I have long term dated 4 chilean men. Two of these ended in marriage proposals. I am marrying S, a chilean, who I have known for the past 13 years. I think there is a subsect of chilean men who are very traditional and perhaps would not be comfortable in a marraige/ longterm partnership with a gringa. There are, however, a large group that are.

    So, dillusioned or not, all the women on this list are married to Chileans. Perhaps you are the one who is out of touch or making your experience the end-all and be-all of Chilean experience.

    • Hi Clare. I have read quite a few of your blogs and I find that you tell it like it is (and this is why I continue to read your blogs). I think Southern Cross has a few issues with Chilean man and/or gringas as he calls them. I am from Chile and I am living in Australia. I am married to a Spaniard. I think that there are good man and not so good man out there.

      I think Southern Cross has some anger issues with regards to Chilean man not wanting to settle down with a gringa. This might be because non Chilean girls from countries such as Australia, USA, etc are not going to put up their chauvinist ways some Chilean man have, including my brother. This would also apply to girls born in Australia from Chilean parents, like my sister. She does not put up with any chauvinist attitude from anyone. This negative attitude often comes from pear group pressure from their macho friends.

      With regards to the sex, I think this issue is not isolated to Chile. It’s universal. I do have to add that when we came to Australia, my mother was always making comments on how Australian girls were easy, or easy sex. This is a misconception my mother had coming from a classist society based on the Catholic religion.

      Pobrecito; gringas don’t understand you. From reading his comments, he should be looking for a psychologist to understand him not a gringa.

      Southern Cross in Australia is a sign people tattoo on their bodies to indicate that they are ‘white Australia’. I think calling your self Southern Cross and a Chilean at the same time, is like mixing water and oil.

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  12. Thank you for this post. Chilean man that grew up (until age 10) in Chile and then moved to the U.S…I found your comment about Chilean men having a hard time with female friends, and considering most females friends as either “sexual partners” or “sisters” is so true. It was a stark realization when I read those words, as they ring so true to my way of being and current situation.

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