Friday, May 18, 2007

One Thing I Won't Miss

One thing I won’t miss about Ecuador is men pissing in the streets. When Sylvie returned from Quito after her first time here (junior year of college) she told of a shocking custom, the likes of which I’d never heard before. She told me that Ecuadorian men come on to women by showing them their members. You know, instead of whistling or making sucking noises like civilized men, these guys just pull it out. It was definitely the funniest, most forthright ritual I’d ever heard of in my life. I mean, it don’t get no more direct than that. When I told people this random little tidbit during dinner conversation I would always mimic the gesture. I imagined one hand holding the culprit, the other pointing in its direction, and this complimented with a shoulder shrug like “hey, why not. What do you think?” And the woman nods “no” and giggles hard as she walks past. After years of telling that story, Sylvie one day told me I’d been spreading vicious lies about Ecuadorian men. Honestly, she took my best foreign places factoid. That was the most interesting thing I knew about Latin America.

Turns out, the men here don’t show their privates as a way to attract women. What they do, in actuality, is pee indiscriminately in public. Of course, I’m not talking about all men whenever they feel the urge to go. Social class and levels of inebriation typically serve as determining factors in these situations. Now, I’m no prude when it comes to public urination. I’ve detoured through an alley or two in my day. But the level of shamelessness here in terms of this issue is just on another level. Our last time in Quito, we passed an old guy, drunk, just peeing straight onto the grass in the middle of a park. No bushes blocking him. No looking over his shoulder to make sure no one was coming. In fact, the path we were on was crowded with folk taking their Sunday afternoon stroll. Sylvie and I had just come from looking at some really nice Guaysamin posters in the artist stalls. And there is this guy with his mouth relaxed open, groaning, carrying on like he’s in his apartment by himself. I mean damn. We gotta see all that. It’s way too familiar to see someone’s expression during that particular moment. And this is just one example of many that I’ve witnessed over the past few months. I gotta wife! And she’s got to stand at bus stops and walk through parks just like anyone. So yeah, that’s one thing I won’t miss. At least now I can speak from personal experience and some grounding in the truth instead of unintentionally spreading ridiculous rumors. Though I have to admit, part of me still likes the original story better.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha! I know just what to do at your Welcome Home party! Maybe you shoulda called this entry, "One Thing I Won't Piss" ;)

Sue said...

We just had this discussion in the warehouse someone was telling us this, and we were like..no way! But..wow..you validated that story!

sue said...

You just validated our warehouse chat, we didn't belive one of the guys!

Umi said...

I'm glad I could help. I'm here to settle any disputes on Latin American cultural peculiarities.