When out at the boliches (night clubs) in Palmero people constantly want to know my nationality. Once I tell them am American, this then leads to an interrogation and criticism of American politics and culture. Argentinians villianize America and as a result my nationality is synonymous to this bad perception. Because this is their perception of America, Argentinians assume that am rich or that am promiscuous, this doesn’t help fight off the unwanted male attention. In addition, most Argentinians like to criticize American politics and culture this definitely brings down the mood.
I once spoke with a man who said that America’s reputation has gotten worse in Latin America, and that President Obama should look to Argentina as a model nation. Even at work there are people who think am rich. They to look at me with resentment and jealously or admiration.
To avoid the looks and misperceptions one student shared that she introduces herself as a Canadian. Most Argentinians are not interested in Canadian culture and are generally less judgmental.
I wanted to see if this would work so I tried it, below is my conversation (spoken in Spangilsh) with a guy at one of the boliches last Friday, the parentheses represent my thoughts:
Guy: Where are you from-Montreal?
Me: Yeah! (I was about to say Toronto but I went with Montreal)
Guy: What university do you go to?
Me: University of Montreal. (I hope that’s a real school)
Guy: Do you speak French?
Me: No, only half of Canada speaks French. (Is this even a real statistic?)
Guy: Do you like hockey?
Me: No, not really a sports person. (I am not sports person regardless of my fake nationality)
Guy: How do you like Buenos Aires?
After he asked me this question our conversation move passed Canada — we actually talked about culture and my country wasn’t insulted. I guess my fake nationality social experiment worked. But don’t get it twisted I am proud to be an American. I understand the blessing it is to live in the United States and that is something I will never hide again.