Piropo means catcall in Chile. The catcalling phenonmenon is funny here. Most of the time people are too embarrassed to actually full out cat call you until you’ve already passed them, so that you don’t get to see their face. Also, sometimes they don’t really sound into it. It almost sounds obligatory, cursory, it’s strange. You’d think if someone was going to go through the effort of calling out some superficial compliment about a woman’s beauty, he’d only do it if he, you know, actually thought she was pretty. But sometimes I feel like the tone of voice these men use is the same one they’d use to say “no honey, those pants don’t make you look fat”. That automatic, I have to say this but I’m not even thinking about it and there’s no feeling behind it voice. Other times of course, there is passion, and sometimes people are downright creative. A few weeks ago (when I thought about writing this post) I got two very creative ones two days in a row.
The first one occurred very close to my house. I was crossing the street towards a man with dreadlocks and he roared at me. Then, in English, he said “you look like a lioness”. Honestly, maybe I’m being a bit conceited calling this a catcall. He might’ve been commenting on my huge curly hair. But the roar was kind of throaty so I’m going to pretend it was a compliment?
The next day I was in almost the same spot but going the opposite direction. A man who’d been kind of just chillin on the sidewalk stepped widely out of my way, motioned me into his wake in an “after you my lady” kind of way and said “buenas tardes reina” which means, good afternoon queen. It was quite galliant, I must say.
These of course are the highlights. The average hombre just says “muy rica” or “bonita” or something to that effect. I, however, prefer to dwell on the positive and laud the poets among the pirpo-ists. Call it optimism if you like.