Monday, December 15, 2008


Buenos Aires is a huge city and getting around sometimes can be a bigger pain in the ass than getting from Brooklyn to Manhattan. There are tons of buses (collectivos) for the lazy, often delivering you within meters of where you want to be. There’s a price for the convenience – often you will sit forever (if you are lucky enough to get a seat!) in sweltering temperatures while your bus crawls along like an 8 month old.

For the less patient, there are taxis. Tons of them. Also NY style – yellow and black, zipping through town, commandeered by aging Argentine men who vary from straight out of central casting with fedoras and tango music blasting to those who look they missed their calling in the next carnation of Guns n Roses (Ed note: there is a LOT of this look in Argentina generally).

A taxi is pretty cheap if you think in dollars and if you are really late (not just Argentine late), it is simply the only way from A to B. I also use the taxi ride as an opportunity to work on my fledgling Spanish. Inevitably because of my lovely gringa accent, the taxista and I will get into some type of conversation, usually focused on Barack Obama or my lack of a husband.

Late last week, I was in a taxi and the taxista decided to talk to me about #2, my lack of a husband. The dialogue went like this (translated into English):

T: “So, you are not married?”
J: “No.”
T: “Well why not? How old are you?”

I told him my age.

T: “And no husband?”
J; “No.”
T: "But you must have a boyfriend, no?”

I decide to play with him a little.

J: “Yes, a few.”
T: “Seriously?”
J: “Yes.”
T: “How do you do that?”
J: “Well, there are 7 nights in a week.”
T: “So these men, how soon do you go to bed with them?"

Whhhatt? I paused. Surely I am misunderstanding him? I say excuse me. He repeats the question and it is exactly as I heard it.

I am pissed. Who asks that kind of question? But then again, recalled the whole women in Latin America thing, the sexism. Also, there are many who think American woman are easy.

He has already made up his mind about this, so I respond, ”Depends on how I feel.”

My next taxi ride, when I am asked if I am married, I respond yes and talk about Barack Obama.

1 comment:

Tina said...

I love it. "There are 7 days in a week..." ha ha haha

Really though, there is no sense of privacy at all here. Everybody asks everybody everything. I have people ask me if I see a psychologist before they ask me my name. I have people ask if I'm thinner because I'm "haciendo mucho amor" and they ask it so matter-of-factly. It's bizzare!