Oct 13, 2009


I’ve always thought it was awesome when non-Hispanic people tell me of their assumptions or perceptions of us Latinos. I’ve always thought that even when sometimes they are not flattering or accurate assumptions and perception it was interesting to see what they thought and to view ourselves from their point of view.

Dear husband for example doesn’t understand why we (my family) are so incredibly loud, and when I thought he was being just picky and explained that it was just a lot of us he smiled and said nothing but brought it up when we were with his family last year for his brother’s wedding and there were like 20 or so of them in a room and I could actually hear myself think (I still don’t understand how so many people can make so little noise!)

Note to self: Research that phenomenon further.

He was right, we are incredibly loud, and articulate and use our hands a lot and point with our mouths instead of our fingers (pointing is rude) gossip a lot and respect no one’s privacy and so on and on and on. That doesn’t bother me though. I consider gossip nothing more than another form of communication and transferring of information and being loud is a given because if you aren’t loud then how do you expect to be heard above the yelling of those around you? Duh.

Another thing Dead Dear Husband criticizes has an opinion on is the fact that we tell lies.

One time we were invited to go somewhere and I didn’t want to go and he didn’t care if we went or not so after coming up (at the drop of a hat) with an excuse to refuse the invitation we stayed home to watch Jeopardy! And eat my mom’s cooking. Even thought he got to enjoy the fruits of my white lie, he decides to hop on his favorite high horse and give me a speech about the evils of lying (I didn’t see him running to the phone to tell the truth did I?!). The nerve of the man! He gets to do what he wants, he gets to not say a thing to the people we cancel on, he gets to be the good guy to our friends (because I am the one cancelling) and to top it all off he gets to feel morally superior because he isn’t the one lying!. After chewing his ass off one day after he accused me of lying once more he decided to drop the subject and simply enjoy his wife’s amazing lying abilities.

I am a good liar, I won’t lie (hehe) I am, is the truth I promise. It’s not my fault though we Latinos have been conditioned since birth to lie. Here they call it white lies, in Spanish is “mentiritas blancas” and I call it “The art of Diplomatic Bullshiting”.

We Latinos grew up thinking that a little white lie is preferable at times to telling the truth. Don’t get me wrong, honesty is always welcome (except when it’s not) and we are encouraged to tell the truth in certain situations but in general we lie about everything. Latinos as a group have a serious problem saying the word “No” and answering uncomfortable questions. We lie for everything, we are equal opportunity liars. From a dropped call to screening to not answering text messages right away to saying yes to an invite to the movies even though we hate it.

If someone ask us to a party for example and we are working late that day and we are going to have a problem making it we instantly tell the truth “Sucks, I won’t be able to make it, damn it, I’ll be working late” BUT if we simply don’t feel like going and want to stay home to watch re-runs of “So you Think you can Dance” we have to, we MUST come up with an lie excuse.

Because if you say “Sorry I can’t” and don’t offer an explanation you can bet your ass the person will ask you “Why the hell not?” and you can’t tell someone you don’t want to go to their party because you rather see people do modern interpretive dance on TV while eating Ramen Noodles, can you? Because they’ll get their feelings hurt and we don’t want to do that!

See? We are forced to lie. There’s no escape. Ms. Manners would say there is no reason to offer an explanation and that simply verbally RSVPing “No” is good enough and that someone who rudely ask “WHY?” does not deserve the nice gesture of a good response, but Ms. Manners is not Hispanic so what the hell does she know?

We have no other choice than to come up with an elaborate reason why we can’t make it and after years of repeating the process one grows quite adept at this lying business. Dear Husband would ask “Why don’t you just tell them you don’t feel like it?” Well that’s ‘cause us Latinos are not only white liars but also incredibly pushy. If you say just “no” they will insist on you going! Lying just make things so much easier for everybody and if you don’t lie then they will talk shit about you at the party and how pretentious you are and how the party apparently wasn’t “good enough for you” (Yeah we also talk a lot of shit about other people).

I’ve gotten used to people (Gringos) telling me they just don’t feel like it or they can’t make it without an explanation, but before I used to get pissed! At least have the decency to lie to me, you know? Make something up! Make an effort! But people here are incredibly candid that they don’t feel they have to. They (in general) are open about everything, and I mean everything. I have heard things from people I really don’t need (or want) to know. I mean we are the ones that are supposed to be up all in people’s business! Yet I’ve noticed that gringos are so much more open about their stuff than I wanted expected them to be.

From my friend Erin who told me her life story the first time I met her to my other friend who has no problem informing me about the night she spent with diarrhea. Candor is something I definitely appreciate now but took some getting used to.

My mom is new to candor. She has a problem telling people off and she is a perfect example of Hispanic manners to the extreme because she even hangs out with people she can’t stand because she feels mean or rude saying no! (My mom’s special) she even feels bad for not liking them. “I’m sure I’ll like them if I make an effort” Let it go mom they are a bunch of cunty bitches!

Honestly sometimes I wish I could be as candid and openly talk about my bowel movements, my daddy issues and my inability to eat M&Ms because they are so cute, but I am too comfortable in the bed of my excuses so why bother? I’ll keep on giving excuses and making shit up.

Now I have to go, my boss is here and I should be working (sounds believable don’t it?)


Andrea Montano said...

haha! Did you know such thing is explained in my inter cultural communication text book while I was at school? It is said that collective cultures are more inclined to put up "face" in order to not look bad (and that includes, like you said, "The art of Diplomatic Bullshiting” (obviously in clinical terms, lol). And how hispanics talk more into what makes the most dominance in a conversation (aka. raise voice, mannerisms) versus independent cultures who communicate by turns (like a basketball game, everybody has a chance to talk). Well, I guess it matters of getting used to for Kurt until he doesn't get bothered by it anymore! lol

Mel82 said...

Huh. Damn I am as smart as text book! Lol. That's why I loved sociology and anthropology in school, it's so interesting!

Thanks for commenting!

talia said...

lol, this is so true. I never think about this things in depth until someone points them out. I the kind of person who would just rather tell the truth, but like you said, lying is much easier when it comes to our people. Unless I'm really comfortable with someone, I can be completely honest to the pont of rudeness, but otherwise I try to avoid conflict. We are cornered into lying. It's either that or awkward and uncomfortable future situations.

Mel82 said...

I never think about them either! I only notice because being married to someone from a different culture constantly makes differences like that so obvious.

Fearsome Comrade said...

You know what my favorite stereotype of "Latinos" is? That they're all basically from the same culture. You know, because 400 million people across 20 countries all share the exact same culture.

Mel82 said...

Well of course, didn't you know we all wear sombreros, eat tacos, smuggle cocaine, want to have 13 children and enjoy having sex with farm animals?

I can say without fear of being wrong though that the problem with saying no and accepting invitations has been proven to me by all my hispanic acquaintances, from Argentinians, to Mexicans, Guatemalans, Cubans, Venezuelan, Colombians, Brazilians, etc