By Maureen Stanucci
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s fun being the exotic one. After years of giving the dark Latin types the eye in the U.S., the shoe is on the other foot. Now, I’m the one that can just walk into a room and get the heads turning.
It’s exhilarating. It’s empowering. Ok, it can bloody well be annoying as hell sometimes too. But at the end of the day, it’s always nice to be the one with the right of refusal.
Men in Peru like women. Period. Short, tall, fat, skinny, white, black, yellow or brown. As a rule, they aren’t that fussy. While that may bother some women, I found the honesty of it kind of refreshing. But only once I had got over the fact that there’s no real reason to get an ego boost from such an ubiquitous, pervasive trait of the national character.
It’s a game here, and one I find fairly amusing most of the time. Sure, I roll my eyes when every man you meet asks “De donde eres? Where are you from?” If they’re really an aspiring brichero, they’ll even ask you in English. The really good ones don’t bother… they know that being a Latino is their hook.
What’s a brichero? It’s a term for a Latino who is only concerned with finding a fair haired Gringa. To me, what truly makes someone a brichero is when it’s all about the conquest. If they’re just trying to notch up as many gringas as possible, that’s a brichero. If they just happen to have a tendency to be attracted to foreign women, that’s not so bad.
The stereotype is that a Peruvian with a gringo or gringa is just looking for money or a visa. Conversely, the gringo or gringa is just looking for sex. Sometimes it comes with a relationship as well, which can be kind of cool.
Peruvians have a tendency to ask the most direct questions, as if they’re asking what you had for lunch. You will particularly notice this with taxi drivers where you are stuck at least for a short amount of time. “Where are you from?” “How old are you?” “Are you married? “”Any kids?” “Why not?” “Do you like Peruvian men?”
Once the driver even had the cheek to ask me if I liked sex. I usually try to keep the conversation light and friendly but when that one asked me if I wanted to go dancing with him I said no thanks, I have enough “friends”.
It doesn’t take long before a savvy woman has the measure of the game and can read the types a mile away. That being said, even a salsa teacher can surprise you and more than one gringa has found one that is actually sincere.
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