keskiviikko 14. maaliskuuta 2012

The ways of getting attention

Scandinavian attention addicts should come to Latin America. Although the attention is attracted by mere femininity and fair skin and expressed with shouts like "gringa", "güera" or "rubia", it's sometimes nice to be noticed.

The men here in Argentina are much more subtle than in other Latin countries I've been to so walking around here is calmer. Yet people tend to know that I'm a foreigner and occasionally shout "hello" or "Alemania". It's a bit of a mystery how they know that but sofar I'm guessing it's my haircut that reveals me. [Edit. note: Sarcasm. I do look very typically Scandinavian.]

Here I have two objects that seem to attract attention for sure. One is a necklace that a good friend gave to me once. It has a green Lego building block. People here tend to notice it very quickly and comment it in various ways. "Is that really a Lego block?", "So cool!", "I want that too!", "Why on earth do you have a Lego block as a necklace?". Nice attention that usually leads to a conversation.

The other object is a dress I bought in Rio. Simply put it's a dress made of the Brazilian flag. It's colorful, bright and really nice. In Brazil I wore it twice and many people complimented it. Here I wore it once and will not wear it again.

It was a Friday afternoon. About 3 seconds after entering the street the construction workers next door started shouting "Brazil, Brazil!". Making my way to a meeting, taxi drivers whistled, male drivers stopped next to me, bypassers started singing something and some young men followed me. In the meeting everybody thought I was Brazilian. Later in the evening we went to a carnival event (that's why I had put the dress on in the first place) and the same show around me continued.

In the end I couldn't take it anymore and tucked the dress so that it became a miniskirt/dress and put my scarf on the blue globe that's in the Brazilian flag. Somehow it felt funny that the evening was suddenly much more peaceful when I was showing half of my thighs, rather than wearing anything that reminds people of Brazil.

Nowdays I wear the dress at home. People who come here like the dress very much and start talking about football (the house is the meeting place of a foundation so during weekdays there's about 10 people around). Being a European who doesn't watch football, this association didn't cross my mind. Now I see the dress as a symbol of my ignorance and think of non-catholic people who wear the Holy Rosary because it looks cool. How differently we see the world and interpret the symbols in it.

Life is about learning. Lesson of the day: more Lego blocks, less Brazilian flags. Oh yes, and more nice Argentinians with good manners and smooth compliments.

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