You don’t need to call yourself either homosexual or heterosexual: you can be attracted to both men and women (bisexual) or anything in between.
Love and Sex Info
When Nakshatra goes out for a coffee with his mother, they’re both on the look-out for cute men. “Do you fancy that guy?” she’ll say.
Things haven’t always been this way. Growing up in a village, he became aware of his feelings aged 16. A year later, after a move to Mumbai, he told his parents he was gay. His mum said she wished he was dead.
“Girl, if you cook the way you walk, I’ll even eat the bones!” “What a doll! What toy shop did you escape from?” “You’re the medicine the doctor prescribed me.”
In Latin America there’s nothing wrong with ‘flattering’ women, as long as you don’t get rude. At least, according to Juan, a young vendor in the Amazon jungle city of Iquitos.
When women stroll along the boulevard, Juan makes sure they know what he thinks of their looks. He's a small, ordinary-looking guy who doesn’t seem like a dominant ‘macho’. On the contrary, he's seems gentle and inoffensive.
But when he’s out with his friends on the street, he dares to say things he wouldn’t say on his own.
“Hey baby, let me clean the ground you walk on.”
“What scientific progress – they can even make a candy walk!”
“Let me be your guide so you won’t get lost.”
These are the kind of compliments we use here, Juan explains. It's a style of talking to women that can be heard in any town, anywhere in Latin America. The popular street ‘flattery’ is an old tradition imported from Spain centuries ago.
“It's a cultural thing we Latins have,” says Juan. The word for it, piropo, is actually hard to translate into other languages, but comes from a Latin word for ‘passionate’.
There are many theories on the origin of the ‘compliments’. The most common one is that in 16th century Spain members of court were expected to be decent and control their passions.
This meant they weren’t allowed to approach women directly like common people, so they would try to woo them by using refined and seductive language.
But there’s nothing very refined or seductive about some of the so-called compliments Juan uses. They’re guaranteed to provoke what he would describe as “fire” – blushes. “If a girl has a well-shaped bottom, you can imagine what we say when she has big breasts too,” he says.
“Now that's what I call meat, not the stuff my mother puts in the stew!”
“You’ve got all those curves and my brakes don’t work.”
“Do you wear panties from NASA? Because that ass of yours is out of space.”
But isn’t it just sexual harassment? Do girls really feel flattered by all this uninvited attention? Juan’s not too sure.
“I’ve been yelled at a couple of times and once I got slapped. But I can assure you I don’t mean anything wrong by it. I’m just admiring them.”
Latin flattery or sexual harassment? What do you think?
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