Thursday, December 30, 2010


I don't know what it is with certain Brazilians, but it's as if the "polite" button in their heads gets turned off when curiosity strikes. I'm frequently accosted by strangers who want to know what I am. As in, they've decided I look different and so it's their right to find out what my true nationality is. And if anyone ever bothered to come up politely to me and ask, maybe I'd be inclined to share. But they never do. And I've started to become fed up with the nosiness and the lack of manners.

Like today, at the supermarket:

Tattooed guy holding roses and standing behind me in line: French? Puerto Rican? (In Portuguese. Because apparently I should know what my nationality sounds like IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE YOU ASSUME I ALREADY DON'T SPEAK)

Jenna, assuming this is directed at me: (silence)

TGHRSBMIL: (louder) French? Puerto Rican?

Jenna, in Portuguese: Are you talking to me?

TGHRSBMIL: Yeah. Are you...

Jenna, with a glare that hopefully withered something: It's none of your business.

This time, I managed to hold my tongue. Because what I wanted to say was some variant on the following (and yes, I can say it in Portuguese. Rants are only good if the people you're ranting on can understand you!):

"You don't know what I am? Funny, the minute you opened your mouth I knew you were both socially incompetent and bad-mannered. You should be ashamed of yourself. Next time you want to talk to someone, try a "Hello." Or, "Excuse me, I have a question." Don't talk AT people. It makes you look foolish..."

And since when have I looked Puerto Rican? It's a compliment, of sorts, but probably not for any true Puerto Ricans!

1 comment:

anne said...

this is a universal thing, not just in brasil. bethany dealt w/it endlessly in serbia and france, greece, etc...I figure it's a pick-up line, of sorts, as the folk are almost always male, who ask.when she responded, she usually said she was irish, and spun out some tale in their (the askers) native tongue (well, not in greece...)and just went on...
you could be puerto rican (well, a mix :)) --- my SIL is, and you have similar coloring, altho her eyes are very dark..
dumb rude people. Loved the rant!