By Mose Hayward
Feburary 18, 2015
Whether youre kissing, drinking beer, dancing, or fondling your new love-interest, chances are youre doing it wrong, gringo.
For years Ive been interviewing Brazilians about their culture for travel guides, and in particular zeroing in on their sex, dancing and drinking customs for articles atTipsyPilgrim.com. What I hadnt yet done is compile Brazilians observations on gringos partying. Its about time I drew up the short list of gripes, partly for what they reflect about Brazilians themselves, and partly of course to remind us of how we ought to behave when we want to fit in.
1. Youre drinking beer all wrong. “Gringos!” laughed one of my friends in Rio. “You buy uma garrafa (a 600mL bottle) for each of you, and you keep them to yourselves. You even drink from the bottle!” Beer drinking in Brazil is a social venture; just buy one garrafa at a time, and use the little cups that are provided. In mixed company, a gentleman might do the pouring.
2. Youre fondling your lover in public all wrong. Yes, yes, I know, youve seen Brazilians groping each other like crazy in the streets, and youve realized its OK here, and youve even found yourself a Brazilian love-muffin. Now you are hankering to get some of that sex-with-clothes-on Brazilian street action. But beware of the secret tripwire, lest you cross into the sacred Brazilian region that can bring all of that wet, wild, groping, rubbing craziness to a halt: the bunda.
You can touch, rub, and grind against each other pretty much any way you want in public in Brazil, but if a hand strays anywhere just a smidge south of the waistline, expect a quick halt and a long interrogation. “Do you think Im a whore?” a Brazilian woman might ask, even if moments earlier she was joyously grinding her pelvis against your leg. “Were in public!” A Brazilian man, on the other hand, is less likely to stop things if a foreign woman touches his ass in public, but he is likely to think of her, again, as a whore. (Yes, a double standard, obviously.)
Do feel free to enjoy your Brazilian street fondling, just remember, in spite of how crazy things might get, to keep those elbows bent so that your hands dont accidentally graze anywhere near that dangerous, tempting DMZ.
3. Youve ordered a glass of wine. In Brazil. That’s definitely wrong. Brazilian wine is almost universally terrible, and even the bottles imported from the wine-neighbors Argentina and Chile are apparently left out to bake in the sun for a few years at the border before being brought into the country.
Brazilians who see you drinking wine will appreciate your effort to look classy/snobby, but probably also ask you something like, “but arent you thirsty?” They will often offer you ice and/or sugar to make the wine more drinkable, and in a boteco you may get something foul from a bottle that’s been sitting open for a few months, served in a coffee cup. You don’t really want to go through all this, do you? Opt for a caipirinha.
Aside his work at TipsyPilgrim.com, Mose Hayward (Twitter) has written for several Time Out guides and a comedy program on Spains TVE network.