Easy like Sunday Morning

3rd of July, Domingo
9:00 PM Hotel Dias, Minas Gerais

Let me tell you, friends, there ain’t shit to do in Pouso Alegre on a Sunday.

I finished reading Brida by Paulo Coelho, my first successfully completed novel in Portuguese. The language, the language I understand, but the concepts, no. Perhaps the cultural barrier is too thick. Perhaps the book just sucks. I’ll grab a few more Portuguese books before I split, reading has a distinctly positive effect on my language skills.

Our hotel is eerily empty, in a Shining sort of way. The city is closed, all shutters drawn; we ate at the same restaurant for lunch and dinner, as it was our only option.

Days like this, full of hangover and boredom, give one the opportunity for deep and meaningful thought. May as well write it down. Ain’t got shit else to do.

A frequent topic of conversation and contemplation, as of late, is love. Marriages, families, demure and demanding Brazilian girls of all shapes and sizes… it’s no surprise it’s the topic on everyone’s tongue in an environment like this.

Let’s discuss.

Broad Generalizations (hee hee)

Part A – The Fairer Sex.

Brazilian girls are different. Not better, not worse, at least from my point of view, but certainly different. Brazilians, both men and women, see American girls as invincible amazons, tall, independent women who strike terror into the hearts of timid tropical peoples. It’s a sort of mixed admiration and derision, one I only partially understand. It’s difficult for me, as an American, to see how things I consider “qualities” to be construed as serious drawbacks. Independent? Opinionated? Tall? Holla.

Of course, not all the BR girls are the same, any more than American girls are uniform. Outside of the University system and upper classes, girls our age are nearly always married and cranking out kids. 23 is long in the tooth for a Bahian girl. This, though it obviously works for them, is no good for the rest of us. The nice girls we meet, our own age, have a veiled but omnipresent gleam in their eye, a frantic familial rabidity that horrifies me.

Live free or die, fool.

Along with this, though, comes a softer, kinder attitude that is almost unheard of back home. Meeting a Brazilian girl is the simplest, least intimidating thing ever. The combination of a much more evolved dating system and an easy-going female populous make this a wonderful place to be American. Despite all manner of linguistic, cultural, and stylistic barriers, meeting girls here is completely easy, even for a foreigner like myself.

As I said before, though, the female of the Brazilian species is far from standardized. This brings me to my next point: I wish they all could be Brasília girls. Twice now I’ve left that charred, obsidian husk I call a heart in that cursed town. The cream of the crop, as far as Brazil’s collegiate, system go to UniB in Brasília. The girls we’ve met there, both times I’ve gone, are five star almost across the board. All of the independence, intelligence, and modernism of American girls without losing that serious femininity of old school Brazil. Good lord, ya’ll. That jaded, snarling aspect I’ve seen day in and day out in SLO is simply not there. I have yet to meet a Brazilian girl who was a bitch. Not one.

Perhaps I’ve been blinded. Those who know me best are well aware of my staggering weakness for dark haired, intelligent beauties, especially with accents. Whatever the case may be, from a statistical standpoint alone this country blows the christ out of anywhere in the US I’ve been for quality/quantity ratio. Despite all odds to the contrary, I’ve met more interesting ladies in the last two weeks than in probably three years at school. The numbers speak for themselves. Granted, here I have the foreigner advantage. My accent is endearing, my ideas strange and new, and frankly, Brazilian youth are enamored with American culture.

There is, of course, a down side to this.

Brazilian girls can be extremely dangerous, and I ain’t just talkin about The Herp. This is a catholic country only when viewed from a distance. The saints are worshiped as a pantheon, and polytheistic jungle magic runs in this country’s veins. You’re goddamn right I’m gonna hold doors and call when I said I would; you never know which petite morena beauty is a powerful Candomble sorceress. The last thing I need is some broken-hearted Brasileira whispering ancient curses into a black-flamed candle in her basement, condemning me to a life of impotence, hair loss, and poor cell phone reception. Who knows what these damn girls learn from their voodoo grandmas, cooking strange shit in the kitchen till the wee hours. American girls will cuss you out and key your car, but that’s easily managed vengeance compared to crazy Amazonian paganism.

There are several things the girls here lack, though. As rough around the edges and vicious as Cali girls may be, there’s a thread of shared culture and viewpoint there that simply doesn’t exist here. Even a Brazilian girl who speaks perfect English has no idea what the hell I’m talking about 90% of the time. There’s simply too much context. At home I’m witty, here I’m just fuckin weird. Sarcasm does not exist here, and so dark humor and abstract strangeness are complete failures as far as a lifestyle choice. Brazilians can’t understand the Royal Tenenbaums, or laugh at dead baby jokes. Brazilians can’t appreciate the blues or sit through a baseball game. HST doesn’t translate to Portuguese, friends.

I loathe to consider what girls like Fátima or Lindanalva think of me. I must be absolutely strange as fuck, an unreasonable and intensely mean-spirited creature who dislikes children and drinks beer straight from the can. One girl I told I was an atheist, and I may as well have told her I was a hermaphroditic leper and a registered sex offender. It’s simply inconceivable here.

And so for all their ferocity and materialism, all their remorselessness and emotional psychoses, it seems Americanas still have something to offer. They might be soulless bitches in many cases, but at least they laugh at my jokes. That’s points, ladies. That’s points.

It comes down to a matter of pros and cons.

Here’s a helpful chart.

+ Know how to cook —————————— + Know how to play Beirut
– Can’t change a tire —————————— – $100 a week Jamba Juice habit
+ Sexy Accent ——————————– + Understand esoteric Goonies references
– Doesn’t speak English well ————————- – Speaks English well
+ Know how to dance forró & samba ————– + Knows how to sass
– Doesn’t pay for her half of dinner —————– – Hates me a lot
+ Always happy, pretty much ———————- + Helps carry heavy shit
– Powerful Candomble mojo ————————– – Leaves you for Mike, the guy with the black F250

Are you beginning to understand, kids?

I thought so. Charts always help.

Part B – Marriage and Family

Oh hell no.

Part C – Ice Cold at the Equator

The strange thing here is… you don’t really need to be. I am, obviously, but out of habit instead of necessity. Ice coldery, like a pair of snowshoes, is completely superfluous in this climate. Everybody here is a goddamn sweetheart. It’s strange to walk into a place and know, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that I’m probably the meanest bastard there. And I’m nice as shit. Sometimes. The girls and guys here make me look like a supervillain who punches kittens. It’s refreshing. This is a hard place to be an asshole, so I’ve given it up. Instead of belittling my fellow man, my new hobbies are shopping for antiques, quilting, and napping.

Don’t you wish.
You fuckers.



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