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Quit looking at my ass

ARGENTINA | Thursday, 8 November 2007 | Views [754]

Buenos Aires has trained me well.  The vendors in Peru and Bolivia would at least, at times recieve eye contact and perhaps a harsh "no gracias" when accosting me with postcards, gourds, jewerly and a plethora of lama related trinkets.  The small girls in Salta, placing on our dinner table, packs of socks for sale would at least receive a weak smile, but here, in Buenos Aires, the importance of a military like discipline, walking in a straight line not flinching even if the man next to you is hit by a bus, has been beaten into me.  

It mostly has to do with argentinan men´s constant need to assert their masculinity, letting you know that they are infact attracted to women.  I had wittnessed this a bit in Mendoza: the occasional car horn, incoherent yell out a window, whistles, and my personal favorite... an odd kissing noise which all these men seemed to have honed to an art form.  These advances I found mildly entertaining if not a bit annoying, but the men of Buenos Aires have taken it up a notch. 

I´m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the average Buenos Aires man has issues with his masculinity. 

Why do I state this broad assumption? Well, it is becuase I have yet to walk down the street here in Buenos Aires with out at least one whissle, click, or kissing noise.  It seems they all find it very, very necessary to let it be known that they are attracted to women.  Its not just the young guys and construction workers either... creepy 65+ yearolds.... buisness men... I had a 14 yearold make kissing noises at me (my first reaction was to tell him he was a bit young for me, but due to a combination of a lack of spanish and overwhelming urge to run I instead chose to ignore him) 

I have been intentinally run into, my personal space has been violated multiple times, groups of men have made me uncomfortable enough to cross the street.   But the move that creeps me out the most (I´ve lost track of how many times this has been done to me) is when a man, usually over 40, walking towards me actually stops, partially in my path, and proceeds to wordlessly stare at me, sometimes with the added bonus of a blatent and exagerated look up and down.

I have come to the conclusion this has nothing to do with how good you look... granted, if you are dressed like a hooker chances are you will probably garner a bit more attention/actually be physically assulted.  Not to say I don´t feel safe (ok, so there were a few times I didn´t, but this always happens in broad daylight on busy streets) but frankly i was amazed by how unpicky these men were.  I got most of my cat calls after having spent the 20 hours the previous night on a bus, unshowered, makeup free, slightly dirty (probably not smelling to great either) and dressed pretty conservatively in jeans and a tank-top.  It´s to the point where I´m starting to get pissed. 

I´ve even had men on the street click, whisle and say things to me when I was walking with another guy (but this does generally discourage them a bit) Of course what should I expect from a city who proudest symbol is a giant obolisk. 

Luckly I don´t speak spanish. Otherwise i´m sure i´d be offened by whatever phrases and paragraphs these men keep spewing at me.  So these homophobic, machimo, testosterone soaked men have trained me well, I´m like a scared puppy, trusting no one and consciously making an effort not to flinch, activly avoiding eye contact and reacting to nothing for fear that the heckling will only get worse... god help the man who is just trying to ask me what time it is.

Except for the constant effort of not drowning in a sea of testosterone, I´m having a blast and Buenos Aires is by far one of my favorite cities ever even with the 6am bed time.

Hmmmm... masculinity issues much?

Hmmmm... masculinity issues much?

Tags: Culture

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