Wednesday, January 2, 2008

¿Quién es más macho?

In Costa Rica macho doesn't mean macho. Well, it does, but it most often means blonde. Just like any other Spanish adjective, it has a masculine and feminine form, so a macha would be a blonde female. The word rubio/a is understood in Costa Rica, but the preferred term is macho/a. (You will most often hear rubia when referring to the local beer Pilsen, which is a blonde)

So, if you, as a light-haired foreigner, hear someone call you macho, don't get all weird about it. She's likely not coming onto you, but simply identifying you with respect to your hair color. (Foreigners in any Latin country should get used to commentary on physical attributes, as Latinos have no shame in telling you that you're very fat, skinny, pale, or dark-skinned) Also, don't be alarmed if someone calls you gringo, as Americans are very well-liked in Costa Rica and the word gringo does not carry the same negative connotation like in other places and time periods in Latin America.

Pura Vida...

Tico Matrimony

Ticos, although very Catholic in a number of ways, stray from traditional Catholic values in their that they often don't exist. Many Ticos will refer to their live-in boyfriends and girlfriends as mi marido or mi mujer, respectively. This kind of pre-marital co-habitation happens all the time in Costa Rica. Instead of casados the two parties are considered juntados. They use the verb juntarse to describe formation of these uniones libres, as they call them. I found it very surprising that these arrangements are not only common, but are also widely accepted in the mainstream culture. It makes you wonder what it really means to be Catholic. Obviously it differs from one culture to another. More deep thoughts to follow...