5 Things You Can Do To Really Piss Off A Porteño

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Shutterstock / Celso DinizShutterstock / Celso Diniz

City dwellers of Buenos Aires, commonly referred to as “porteños/as,” are fiercely proud of their overpopulated and culturally diverse South American city. Although they are generally welcoming and friendly people, porteños, too, have their limits.

1. Don’t drink the Mate

Mate is a heavily caffeinated tea-like drink that porteños consume daily along with their oxygen. The yerba, or the tea leaves, are packed tightly into a hollowed out gourd and filled to the top with hot water (never boiling). Mate is a very social drink and an integral part of the Argentine experience. Groups will drink out of the same bombilla (straw) and discuss politics, life, and the like while passing around the mate. If you are a bit of germaphobe, learn to repress your anxieties, at least temporarily, and taste the saliva of new friends. It is custom when the mate is passed to you…

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And the unfriendliest nationality goes to…

After only recently moving into the hostel in Buenos Aires and meeting every group of people from Brits to Aussies to Brazilians to Danish, and Austrians to Slovenians, I am surprised to discover the most unfriendly, distant, and even borderline rude people here. It surprises me most because I’m one of them.

The same God who created the rest of humanity obviously made some kind of error when creating the minds of American girls. When first seeing that there were a handful in the hostel, I felt a breath of relaxation escape me, knowing that I would have people somewhat like me. However, when I first walked into the overcrowded and sloppy bedroom, it was clear that patriotism did not extend this far south.

I first felt their eyes scan me as if I was a secretly a virus, an unwanted and dangerous threat to their reckless lifestyles. After a few “friendly” remarks, all through a guarded smile and clenched teeth, I knew that any hope of make-up sessions and late afternoon shopping trips were out of my reach.

I tried to wrap my mind around why out of all the people I met, it is the Americans who act the least trusting and the most guarded around me. I wanted to scream to them, “What’s the deal? I’m just like you! Can’t we bond over our awesome Americaness in Argentina?” Apparently no.

I have always known that girls are the most guarded, the most judgmental, and the most distrusting, but I foolishly thought that living in a foreign country would create some sort of unspoken, immediate friendship.

It’s not like these girls are particularly appealing. They are loud, talk as if they have an IQ to match Bush, and party to all hours in the morning then come in shrieking and cackling while everyone else is sleeping. Despite all of these qualities, it’s impossible not to want to be in their inner circle. It’s not that I mind going to lunch with an Australian guy who mumbles and a Slovenian who is overly friendly, or going on a walking tour with an Austrian chick who incessantly talks, it’s just all those encounters are at best, pleasant.

Part of me misses the intense connection between American girls, the drama, and the wild lifestyle. Part of me wants to stay the hell away from them. As of now, I’m concerned that the window of opportunity of forming a bond is drawing to a steadfast close and I am out of ideas of how to make nice with these girls. If only I were Canadian.