Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Difference between cultures: USA and Brazil

Here in the very diverse Washington DC metro area, I have friends from all over the world. I was used to the mostly homogenous population of Brazil.  Most of us came to America legally, some through the Worldbank, some to get a degree, some because of green cards they obtained. Most of us are educated professionals. Usually worldly, cultured and fun. I also have American-born friends, but for some reasons my relationship with them is more work related. The Americans I find more in common with have either lived or traveled abroad extensively; they have a broader worldview. Some are of Mediterranean/Latin extract and therefore are a bit more outgoing and social.

I am starting this blog because I just love to write…wrote my first book at the age of 12 with a friend from school. Why am I writing in English when it’s not my first language? When my English grammar will fail me here and there? Because I want to reach a wider number of people. Many Brazilians read English as well, but very few Americans understand Portuguese.

Growing up I had the opportunity to come to the US at the age of 4 and live in a different culture and learn a second language.   I went back to Brazil at the age of 9 and then came back again at the age of 16. I moved permanently to the USA  in 1997.  I did live most of my life in Brazil though. 

I have a bit of both cultural influences.  I think I can see the best of both cultures. Therefore, I have compiled a list of things that I like about life in the US and a list of things I don’t. Some are quite petty, or even funny. Some are residue of the old Anglo culture,  and some are the nature of the beast (being a low regulation free market society).

Here it goes:

Things about the U.S. that irk me:

1) I will begin with the bathroom stalls. Why are they open on the top and the bottom? Why is there a big gap between the door and the standstill? Why can I see my neighbors’ feet and hear their most intimate noises? I don’t want to hear my co-workers’ gas problems!  People can peek inside my stall through the gap and see me. Is this on purpose so people will not have sex or do drugs in public bathrooms? I feel relieved (double entendre) when I find a “normal” bathroom in some rare restaurants.   Nowhere in the civilized world I see such bathrooms as in the US. Ok, I know there are places in the world where there are NO bathrooms (bushes and holes in the grounds), and at least most American bathrooms are cleaner than some other countries.

2) The whole engagement proposal and diamond ring thing. Are we still in the 1800’s? Why do women have to wait patiently for a man to decide to propose to her? I see women wasting their best years on a man and waiting passively for him to propose only to have them leave them for the BBD (bigger better deal)! Why can’t both decide to get married after a couple of years of dating and announce their wedding date or their engagement to everyone? It makes women seem so out of control of their destiny and men have too much power.  I have heard complaints about commitment phobic men all the time, and I have to say: it shouldn’t be that way. Both should make decisions together about their future.

3) I decided to talk about the diamond ring in a separate paragraph. This baffles me. The whole industry, dominated by De Beers, wants women to think they deserve a big rock and that their BF’s love is in direct proportion to the amount of money they spend.  Young men starting their lives feel obligated to go through the whole rigmarole of an “unforgettable” proposal-how embarrassing that can sometimes be- and to spend thousands of dollars in a ring-instead of a downpayment on their house, for example. 

I think this old diamond tradition needs to be seriously revisited. Diamonds are not as rare as they make them to be, and nowadays there are many man-made/lab-made stones that are just as beautiful and durable and ten times or more cheaper. One of them is moissanite: so beautiful that no one, not even jewelers, see the difference!! Cubic zirconia can be beautiful too. Other precious stones can make gorgeous rings, such as sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Semi precious stones in gold settings (nothing like 18K gold in terms of beauty) can also make beautiful engagement rings: citrines, aquamarines, peridots, amethysts, etc. And one more thing: the fact that the female side of the couple wears the engagement ring before the wedding takes place and the man wears nothing seems kind of sexist.

In Brazil, there is none of the diamond ring custom. First, it is too expensive for the average Brazilian; second, it is not part of the Latin tradition. The Brazilian tradition is for the future groom to buy two wedding bands, usually 18k gold (we don’t even consider 14k to be gold in Brazil). Before the wedding, BOTH wear the bands on their right hands, and after the wedding they move it to the left hands (always the same band for both woman and man-or man and man and woman and woman-gay marriage is getting more and more acceptance). Seems logical and simple. I will make a separate post about this.

 4) The frump nation thing. I read this term somewhere and I liked it. See my newer post about it. Having traveled to many countries and seen many styles, excepting really poor countries in Asia and Africa, I have never seen such a bad looking population as in the US. Frump Nation at its best. Many American women, especially the anglo ones, dress like a man. There is very little femininity. Short hair, glasses, no make up, no jewelry, baggy clothes, flat shoes. Very confortable indeed, very feminist, but very…..unnatractive. I often see couples across America where the woman looks a lot worse than the man-I often wonder if he feels attracted to his wife… I am sure he may love and respect her, and all that is sine qua non, but a woman’s feminity is nothing to be embarrased of or to hide.  It is also a sign of healthy self esteem to take care of your appearance, without paranoias and too many nips and tucks.

 5) This one is a given: the fattest country on Earth. I remember in 1997 I went to Disneyworld after 5 years without coming to the US: I was shocked at how many obese people I saw in those parks. Whole families of elephants. I know how unkind it sounds but the truth is that this can be avoided by exercise and self control and a little more education on what is healthy and what is not. Ever seen the food offered in these parks? Sugar and fat, sugar and fat. It is obvious for many that the widespread highways we have in America and that are subject of admiration by foreigners have made us very car dependant and unable to walk.  Add to that the aggressive advertising by food companies-our children are bombarded on TV by ads of candy and other sugar laden treats. 

The government does a bad job in educating kids and adults about nutrition (Michelle Obama is the first to tackle this). Elementary, Middle and High Schools offer very unhealthy snacks and sugary sodas as the only eating options. Kids have to be at school so early that they don’t take lunch with them. They also do not have microwaves at school like office workers do to heat up their food. And of course, no one walks, because of the urban sprawl. 

Usually only those who live in large downtown areas like Manhattan are slim. Go to small towns and see the gravity of the excess weight in this country. I see pretty faced 20-something year old women throwing away their lives and their chances for romance underneath enormous amounts of flesh. And it is socially acceptable because everyone around them is also fat!  When I feel my clothes tight I know I need to revamp my daily exercise and cut down on food. These people don’t get the message. It is a social disease in this country. Anoxerics in Hollywood, obese in Tennesee.

6) The workaholic mentality. Short vacations. Long hours. Parents who do not see their kids. Kids babysat by the TV since the parents work long hours or 2 jobs to be able to have a decent lifestyle. Couples who lead separate lives. A lot of divorce. You get the picture.

7) The ME mentality. My “space”. My time. Married or otherwise committed men going to bars with other males to “Boy’s night out”.  Hey, you are a boy until 21, after that you are a man! Same for “girls’ night out”. They go to meat markets and put themselves in a position to flirt with the opposite sex. Men in committed relationships going to strip clubs and wanting their women to think it is “normal and socially acceptable” for them to be there. 

8) The health insurance business. Health insurance is extremely expensive and the quality of care is mediocre (I call it the “5 minute doctors”).

9) The constant scamming of the public. Credit card scams, insurance scams, long distance phone companies scams, false advertising. Ads disguided as “public health information”. There is too little control of this stuff, and the innocent, the naive, the elderly, the very busy and the foreigners are usually victims. It seems everywhere you look they are out to get your money. No honey, the waitress is not being fakely nice because she likes you, she wants a fat tip!!

10) The religious right. All those religious nuts and bible thumpers with their desire to opress women and ignorance about science. Unfortunately, Evangelicals and Pentecostals are growing in Brazil too, where they are taking over the poor and uneducated masses with the promises of a “better life is you accept Jesus”. Barf.

11) The traffic ticketing scam. Everyone knows it is not for safety. Speed limits are artificially low. It is all for filling city and county coffers and to give profits to the car insurance business. Why they increase our car insurance premiums because of a speeding ticket is beyond me. That should only be in the case of an accident.

12) The smugness of police officers. Not as bad as in some dictatorial countries obviously, but many police officers have a bullying attitude. They are there to help the public but sometimes they treat minor offenses like going 65 in a 55 road as if the person is a major criminal.

13) The racial division. The separation between blacks, who have developed their own culture, language and lifestyle, and anglos, hispanics of Native American descent, Indians from India, Asians, etc. Right, this is a democracy and I believe this country has been successful in guaranteeing everyone access to everything and to keep discrimination at large, but we all know that Shamika does not date or socialize with John Henry Stafford III.

Now, for those who might respond to these points with a: “If you don’t like it here, go back to your country”, I have to say I chose to live here for various reasons, which you can see below, but that doesn’t mean that the US is perfect, hell no! There is no nirvana. There is no Shangri-la. There is no paradise on earth. Every country/region has its pluses and minuses.

Things about the U.S.A  that I admire:

1) The cleanliness of the streets. You can also see that in Western Europe and Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong.

2) The well organized urbanization. The well thought of urban planning seen in the layout of streets and highways. The infrastructure.  The beautiful landscaping everywhere. The maintenance of buildings and streets. Open spaces, wide roads, smooth and well maintained. With a few exceptions, the US is a country where you can see that our tax money is well spent.

3) The free school system.  Well maintained and well equiped schools, mostly. Some with good teachers. A variety of subjects, sports and activities. Not the best education in the world, but one that is democratic and available to all.

4) The multiculturalism. The fact that everyone has access to the same stuff theoretically speaking. Black, white, green or purple, we are all equal. The class system is less pernicious that in other societies (excepting Western Europe’s democracies).

5) The affordability of food and clothing for the majority of citizens.

6) Safety. One of the few parts of the world (except for Western Europe again) where you can leave the door of your house open, your car open, not have alarms in your house, fences, bars, the works. An issue that encouraged me to consider moving to the U.S. (I had my home and my business burglarized in Brazil, even though it could happen here as well in a not-so-great neighborhood). I am aware there are dangerous places to live in LA, Bronx and Queens, Southeast DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, inner city crime and such, but as a whole, America is safe.

7) The fact that the minimum salary is not very low, unemployment is low, government corruption is low, and most people have a similar opportunity to succeed. (I wrote this in 2007, before the recession became BAD).

8) Respect. When someone crosses the street, you wait for them to cross instead of forcing your way in. There is more respect and civlity in the daily human interactions.

9) Overall quality of life, which encompasses several of the things above.

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September 26, 2007 - Posted by | Difference between cultures

78 Comments »

  1. Hello everybody, my name is Damion, and I’m glad to join your conmunity,
    and wish to assit as far as possible.

    Comment by DamionKutaeff | March 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi,
    It’s funny how I came across your blog.. I was actually searching for “differences between united states and brazil” and your blog showed up on Google!
    Anyway, I like and agree with every single line. I’m also a Brazilian who has lived in US for awhile, and I recognize the good and bad parts of it. It’s nice to see that other people feel the same way.

    Take care,

    Mandy

    Comment by Mandy | April 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. Hi (Oi),

    Not very different from Mandy, right above, I was just looking for the “Healthy lifestyle in the United States and Brazil” in order to finish a Health project for my Summer school class, and this “Brasilmagic’s weblog, Venting the world” appeared on my screen and it immidiately brough my attention. Especially when I read “Me and my multicultural friends.” It brought my attention quickly because I began to wonder where you were from, and I gladly found out that you are a Brazilian just like me. this is wonderful. I wonder if you are still here in US. I arrived recently, arround a year and a half, and just like you, legally. I now live in Indianapolis, Indiana with part of my family and we love here just like in Brazil, even though both countries are different in many other ways. But i wanted to thank you for writing about the differences in US and Brazil and for helping me with my Health project. :D I now do not have much to do after reading such a interesting article.

    Brigado!!! Cuida-se.

    Sincerely,

    Douglas Sprowl

    Comment by Douglas Sprowl | July 9, 2008 | Reply

    • Hey Douglas

      Do you still live in Indianapolis? I live in Indianapolis and I am interested in living in Brasil. I want to learn how to speak portuguese and I need more information about brasilian culture. Please help if you can thanks,
      Brian K. Robinson

      To Author this was a wonderful article and I could not stop reading it, I have been looking for information about Brasilian culture and I really looking for info from people who are brasilian natives. I would like any suggestions, thank you so much.

      Comment by Brian Robinson | November 5, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hi Douglas:

    I am happy you were helped. This blog is ultimately a channel for Brazilians living in the US. We all feel the same way about many things. Of course the circumstances change and our country is changing and so is the US, but some observations remain.

    You might want to point out how many government sponsored heath programs were successful in Brazil through intense media advertising (low smoking, use of contraceptives, auto-exam for breast cancer) and of course the successful AIDS prevention and drug availability. Brazil has always been criticized by us citizens but it has many good things. We have excellent doctors and we are ahead in many medical fields.

    Good luck,
    Grace

    Comment by Grace Farrell | July 9, 2008 | Reply

  5. WHASS – UP?…… MY BRAZILIAN PEOPLE
    I JUST CAME ACROSS THIS SITE BY ACCIDENT. I LIKE IT!
    I AM CURRENTLY DATING A WOMAN FROM GOIANIA.. TWO YEARS NOW.(COMMUNICATION IS HARD AT TIMES, MORE LIKE COMPREHENSION PROBLEMS – HELP!)

    CHECK THIS OUT, I HAVE A MILLION QUESTIONS
    REGARDING: RELATIONSHIP QUESTIONS
    CULTURE ”
    QUESTIONS ABOUT FAMILY
    DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BRAZILIAN WOMEN AND AMERICAN WOMEN……EXPECTATIONS!!!!!!
    THE ROLE OF THE MOTHER IN THE BRAZILIAN CULTURE
    WHAT THINGS AND ATTITUDES ARE CONSIDERED NORMAL IN THE BRASILIAN CULTURE

    Comment by DREAD | July 14, 2008 | Reply

    • You need to be introduced to the song “Amelia”.

      Comment by Eneias | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  6. Hi Dread:

    You cannot really generalize that all Brazilians or Brazilian women for that mattter are the same. Brazilians differ in terms of socio-economic status, class system, educational levels and ethnicity.
    On the other hand, there are some cultural similarities in the way people are raised. I am not surprised both of you have communication problems due to upbringing differences, as well as food preferences and other habits that can cause trouble.
    Here are some general pointers (which I repeat may not apply to all Brazilian women), but here they go:

    1) There is a strong sense of family in Brazil. The extended family is also important. Married people or people in committed relationships do not go to “Boys Night Out” or “Girls Night Out” where they can flirt with other people. Men might play soccer with their buddies in the afternoon, women might have a coffee and shoppping with their female friends, but they do not go out at night and leave their partner alone at home. No strip clubs for men in committed relationships either. That is all a no no and even shocking for us Brazilians.

    2) Latin people in general are more emotional and more possessive, keep that in mind when you fight with her.

    3) Women are raised to be women, to do female things (they haev piano and ballet lessons, not baseball or rough sports). Many are stil raised to get married and have babies as the first focus and their career as a secondary pursuit-a necessary evil. Women are encouraged to spend a lot of their time in their looks-body, clothes and hair. Staying attractive is sine qua non in a culture that judges people by how they look.

    4) Even though racism is not as pervasive and divisionary as in the US, lighter skinned Brazilians look down on darker skinned Brazilians. They see darker Brazilians as belonging to the lower social classes.

    5) Brazil still has a strong division of classes.

    6) Many Middle class Brazilian girls were raised with maids. Therefore, they are not used to doing housework, which is seen as something beneath them. Working with your hands in Brazil is also associated with the lower classes. Remember that Brazil has slavery and the impact of slavery was that the slaves’ descendants became part of the struggling poor in Brazil-they had a harder time getting education and better jobs. Fortunately this situation is slowing improving.

    7) Brazilian women expect the man to be more gentelmanly. They like a man who opens doors, drives for them, etc. They are the weaker sex when it comes to practical things, but not when it comes to decision making. Brazilian women are opinionated and are not shrinking violets. They expect you to respect them and share your decisions with them if part of a couple.

    8) Never, on any circumstances, call your GF or wife the B word. Name calling in Brazil is considered extremely offensive, and a man should never call his wife names no matter how terrible a fight is. A wife, like a mother or a daughter, are sacred. Cursing is far more common in America, Brazilians associate curing with the lower classes and lowlifes.

    9) The mother in law thing. Many older women in Brazil are in dire economical situation due to widowhood, divorce or lack of opportunities and investing in their careers. The older generation never even worked outside the home. Therefore, they expect their children to take care of them. Many of these mothers interfere in their childrens’ relationships and try to control their daughters or sons. They are also often lonely and live vicariously through their offspring. They use guilt tactics to keep the children catering to their needs and see the children-in-law as the devil themselves. They take their kids’s side if they have problems with their spouses and sometimes destroy marriages with their interference. Not every mother in law is like that: the ones with careers, the ones in happy relationships and the ones a life of their own. So beware of the dependant MIL!
    10) Finally the good stuff: because of the strong family sense and their natural warmth, Brazilian women are very loyal, family oriented, feminine looking and affectionate companions!
    *You just gave me an idea for a new post :)

    Comment by Grace Farrell | July 15, 2008 | Reply

  7. OI EVERYONE,

    I REALLY REALLY LIKED YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT AMERICA…..I AGREE 100%…THING IS ……I AM AN AMERICAN….A BLACK AMERICAN.

    THAT MEANS MY POINT OF VIEW OF MY COUNTRY IS “AMERICA”…..THE BIG LIE!!!!

    NOW DON’T GET ME WRONG I LOVE MY COUNTRY! WOULD NOT WANT TO BE FROM ANYWHERE ELSE,…..SO FAR.
    YOU KNOW I HAVE A FEW BRASILIAN FRIENDS, AND WHAT I REALIZED IS THAT THEY ONLY SAW BLACK PEOPLE IN A NEGATIVE LIGHT. NOT SURPRISING IF YOU ONLY GO BY THE AMERICAN NEWS OR THE T.V. SHOW “COPS”. BUT THE NEGATIVITY WAS NOT A MALICIOUS NEGATIVITY, IN MY VIEW IT WAS MORE LIKE A…… “THOSE” PEOPLE ..KIND OF ATTITUDE.

    I JUST CAME BACK FROM AFRICA AND I HAVE BEEN TO BRAZIL, AND WHAT I HAVE NOTICED IS THAT OTHERS OUTSIDE AMERICA DONT SEE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLACK AMERICANS AND WHITE AMERICANS, THAT SHOCKED THIS BLACK MAN.

    QUESTION:
    WHAT PERCENTAGE OF BRAZILIANS KNOW OF THE PREDUDICES(RACIAL)IN AMERICA? ….LIKE APARTIDE IN SOUTH AFRICA DO YOU ALL KNOW ABOUT SEGRIGATION AND DESEGREGATION IN AMERICA IN THE 1960’S AND IT’S LASTING EFFECTS.

    I WISH SOMONE WOULD HAVE TOLD ME HOW YOU ALL FELT ABOUT ENGADGEMENT RINGS BEFORE I HAD WENT AND PURCHASED A $6,000 RING FOR MY FIANCE FROM GOIANIA. TO ONLY HAVE HER SELL IT, AFTER I POSTPONED THE WEDDING FOR FINANCIAL REASON. I POSTPOND THE WEDDING FOR TWO MONTHS. SHE WAS NOT HAVING IT!

    I STILL DONT UNDERSTAND WHY SHE WAS SOOOOOOOO UPSET!

    ANYWAY GOTTA GO
    GOOD CHATTING
    PEACE…I’M OUT

    LOCKS

    Comment by LOCKS | July 19, 2008 | Reply

    • Hey Locks, sorry for taking 2 years to answer :) I am not a very prolific blogger..only when I have time or am in the mood…Anyhow, I agree that some movies have shown African Americans as agressive, lazy, helping spread the prejudice. IN Brazil there are so many shades of skin that the perception of whites vs. blacks is not dominant. Brazilians know about the segregation in American and think it’s horrible. ON the engaggement ring: your fiance probably thought it was a waste of money in a rock, which I also agree! This is why I sport a moissanite (man made diamond) for a fraction of the cost of a diamond and feel great about it. She was not upset with the ring, but with the postponement. Maybe she did not want her dream day changed by you (She might not have agreed with the postponement). I don’t blame her! Unless your had a mighty good reason, she probably interpreted it as sign of cold feet. Hope all is well now!

      Comment by Brasilmagic | March 7, 2010 | Reply

      • To add to the wedding and rings thing: Today, many couples already consider themselves married once they move in together. And stable relationships are recognized by law. If I tell a woman that I love her, that I want to live with her, she ‘d rather we spend our money (my money) in securing a nice house, a good car, that we save money for the future, have money to travel and enjoy ourselves and take care of each other. And the respect is the same, because once you are committed, u will refer to her as your wife, as she will refer to u as her husband, so u will have to act like a married man, no such thing as boy’s night out, or staying out of contact for the whole day. And if u dont have money for a grand wedding, a simple ceremony in a church, in humility before God is much more important than spending your hard-earned money with 300 guests, food and drinks, and probably a bill u will pay-off in installments.

        Comment by Verlow | May 31, 2010

      • Eu tenho um moooonte de fotos de coisas de pais de terceiro mundo que tirei em Boston: ruas com pocas de lama, carrro parado em cima da crosswalk, da sidewalk, gente com copinho de cafe pedindo esmola, se voce quiser fazer um artigo e quiser ver meu “acervo” so mandar um email.

        Comment by Eneias | February 3, 2011

      • Eneias, do want to write a guest post? Can you write it in English or do you prefer Portuguese?

        Comment by Brasilmagic | February 3, 2011

    • She was upset because she felt that u were stalling her. In Brazil, men usualy stall before they separate. They “empurram com a barriga” (push with your belly), meaning, u just dont put any effort, u just leave things as they are, until the woman gets fed-up and leaves.

      Comment by verlow | May 31, 2010 | Reply

  8. Awesome article…I am Indian and have the same observations…

    Comment by Fido | September 13, 2009 | Reply

    • Fido, please make your observations about the Indian culture in intercultural marriages. I am curious to learn more. Thanks!

      Comment by Brasilmagic | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  9. I’m an American and I’ve got to say right on with the Frump factor! It bothers me as well. I’m not a princess; I do my own cooking, cleaning, moving and other basic car maintenance. But I like to look like a woman, not a frump. The one thing I see often that make me roll my eyes is big clunky shoes. A woman spends so much time trying to make most of the rest of her body look slim and then attachs these monstrosities to her feet. WHY?! Oh, well, nice post.

    Comment by Amanda | October 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks Amanda. I see many American women who like to take care of their appearance, specially in Florida, California and Texas. Warm areas. There is something about winter and heavy jackets..ha ha. I think the main problem is obesity. This is a big American problem that is also spreading to other countries caused by easy and cheap food and sedentarism (the internet aggravated it). And if the women around you are overweight too, you will have less incentive in losing weight. Hopefully Michelle Obama will have some success in changing the American lifestyle.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  10. i loved your article it was so in spiring but what are swome ways that brazil and us are different i would reallllly love to know

    Comment by hmmmmm | November 12, 2009 | Reply

  11. Very good observations and weblog, thanks!

    Comment by JG | January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks JG. Please feel free to correct me. It’s very easy to talk generalizations, and there are different kinds of people in both Brazil and the US. Also different kinds of relationships. We can just try to decipher some cultural norms that may affect these relationships.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  12. Wow I love this website. I am gay American male living in Tokyo, Japan, and my boyfriend is Brazilian. Really he is more charming and nice than anyone I ever met so I think it is long term. I wanted to learn more about Brazil and found your blog.

    I found your blog, and it is great. I saw you comment about advice about women, but how does one make Brazilian men happy? Thank you! KC

    Comment by KC | March 7, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks KC! Hmmm…the answer to your question may be that Brazilians have similar tastes and values, whether they are gay or straight. I think Brazilan men are also more emotional (but try to pretend they are tough-even gay men may try to out on a macho front and never cry, etc) and also a bit more jealous. A Brazilian man will like good food, a sense of family too (probably close to his mother and siblings), a sense of fashion (oh, yes, Brazilians like brands and “what’s the latest fashion”) and I am sure he is affectionate and very TOUCH-oriented. Probably likes hugging and kissing in public, that I heard is not common in Japan. We would love to hear your Japanese perspective. Welcome!

      Comment by Brasilmagic | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  13. Well… On the surface Tokyo is not romantic AT ALL. Few
    people kiss or have affection in public. But romance is there, just hidden from public view. It sometimes seems very cold and depressing, but you have to know where to look.

    Well since he is Brazilian and I am white America we are both Western hmmm, we definitely sneak in some touching. Maybe rather than PDA it is just DA ha ha ha-
    holding hands under the table, kissing in elevator.

    Well we just met, but he has claimed to be jealous already. We shall see what this means ;)

    Comment by KC | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  14. I found your article on gay Brazil from a while ago. This was a good article! Thank you for standing up for us on the Brazilian TV.

    Comment by KC | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  15. Icons Hairstyles Setting Cultural Trends
    Hairstyles of the rich and famous not only serve to be their signature identity. You can also specify, cultural changes and trends. A celebrity hair style is a statement to the world. And if this hairstyle is copied and popular, could only mutual relations of the people affected. So we can say it is a way of a haircut to a social trend set.

    Celebrity hairstyles symbolize each generation. From a haircut to say what it was ten years old can. In the 50s, the hair securely in place, which was considered the era of reconstruction in the United States. The 60s was a transition from the reconstruction of the boom. There was relative prosperity and could be seen in the “Twiggy” and the page boy. 70s was the age of Aquarius, an era of radical hippies, the Black Panthers, anti-Vietnam War, LSD, Woodstock. The adults had taken a relaxed attitude to life and youth spoke out against the decades-old traditions, or secular. This was the age of conformism, in which boys and men wore long hair or greater than that of women. The general styling of which have long been flowing, as she wanted to be the world. Rebellion was more open in the 80 years, has become as the wild hair was hard or drastic cutbacks.

    The end of the millennium the new millennium, we witness hairstyles mixing so many decades. This attitude reflects the current life, past and look to get by him, combined with those together to create something completely new can.

    Celebrity hair fashion and trends are set. A cut popular celebrity who is an inspiration for new fashion designs. The 70 long hair flowing caftans inspired muumuus popular in the Middle East and Hawaiian. This was a sharp contrast to the structured hairstyle of the 50’s with semi-rigid and lifestyle combined. The wild hair cuts and saw the 80’s, are metal and leather clothing and accessories abound.

    Groups of films, TV programs, have the companies hair, which had become popular. Facts that become icons of the introduction, a trend that will be in the generation of the then common. The worldwide phenomenon of the Beatles has a haircut that, similarly, has become popular in the world. Michael Jackson and Motown Afro popular across the Atlantic to Europe and even Asia. The stars of fashion created Twiggy Twiggy hair and began preference for anorexic thin that still exists to this day. Charlie’s Angels catapulted Farah Fawcett Farah Fawcett hairdo and worldwide popularity. In recent years, the Friends TV show Rachel lay in different countries for almost a decade.

    The haircut or style affects how people live. The company is structured hairstyles 60s and demanded a lot of preparation meant women had to get up before you have enough time to have to fix her hair. This would be a day’s work harder. The long hair cut short or long ones are easier to keep the people time for other activities for the day.

    We hope, Celebrity hairstyles always give us the time. If we can prevent not copied

    Comment by Rudy Arifin | July 13, 2010 | Reply

  16. Hello,
    I too was looking for “differences between Brazilian and American cultures.” Though I don’t agree with all of your point, I agree with many and respect them all. Quite a well-written blog!

    Regards,
    Jordan

    Comment by Jordan Lawal | October 3, 2010 | Reply

  17. Oh well , I like it how you wrote about that especially about the bathroom stalls! I thought that was weird too!
    Well my dream of visiting USA came true this year! I enrolled in a summer camp exchange program and I was able to visit the USA for a month after camp was over! I learned English by myself and today I teach English at a private school!
    I wish I was able to live longer in the USA so I could more English but the goverment really makes it hard for me!
    I didn´t have many opportunites in life so I had to fight for the right to visit the USA, my sister and I were raised by my mom who is a seamtress and we had a fatherless past!

    Anyone who relates to my life, I would be more than happy to chat a little! this is how you can talk to me !
    http://www.facebook.com/dyegho skype ID: dyegho12 msn dyeghodelima@hotmail.com and e-mail: dyeghodelima@gmail.com

    thank you all and have a good one!

    Comment by Diego | November 6, 2010 | Reply

  18. Interesting post, but as an American living in Brazil, I find the same problems in Brazil. For example:

    5) Brazil’s obesity rate is skyrocketing. This occurs in every country with a growing economy. See http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1890260,00.html

    6) Brazil lacks a workaholic mentality, and it also lacks efficiency.

    9) There will always be corrupt businesses and governments. I’d say this happens more in Brazil where there aren’t checks to prevent this. Consider Mensalão. Try telling me that Lula didn’t know what was goingon.

    10) The religious right? Two words: Brazilian evangelicals.

    11) I’d be happy to get a traffic ticket in the US. It shows the system is working. In Brazil, few people respect red lights (I realize that this has to do with safety, but many people abuse this as well). Consider motos in any big Brazilian city. Driving is dangerous and very unorganized in Brazil, which is why at 1am on Wednesday night on Avenida Paulista in SP I can end up hitting traffic.

    12) The smugness of police officers: few Brazilians trust in the Brazilian police. They also fear them, which is a remnant of the dictatorship.

    13) The racial division in Brazil is, by far, worse than the US.

    Comment by VR | November 12, 2010 | Reply

  19. Accurate observations, I must say! I’m American but I can take criticism! But I mean, I have to… I write enough posts like this about Brazil. :)

    Comment by danielle | November 15, 2010 | Reply

  20. i like very cute wedding bands that are lined with satin clothe and some velvet colored stuffs too ,.”

    Comment by Corner Cabinet | December 3, 2010 | Reply

  21. Brazilains are not Latin, Jesus Christ get a hold of yourself.

    Comment by Brazilian Guy | December 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Yoyo, Brazilians are definitely of Latin origin. We mostly descend from the Portuguese. Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Romania are latin countries. They speak Latin languages. You are probably confusing with the term “latinos”, which Americans usually refer to Hispanics from Central America.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | December 26, 2010 | Reply

  22. Same as Mandy!

    That’s awesome!! Lol like when you think am I the only one who thinks this or does that and I saw Mandys comment and was wowed

    But yeah, brasillian who lived in US
    Live till I was 7 in brasil then moved till I was 15 in US so total of 7/7 years here and there

    But now I had to move back permanently, it’s AWFUL! I feel so alone and no one to relate to! Course it’s not been a year yet but still

    I agree on a few things on your blog, like the stalls thing?? I don’t really get you, as if here they’d have any stalls….that work, in my school only one stall works

    I went in in, o good the smell! Still I had to go on that dirty, toilet paper covered thing, girls started buggin and being disrespectful

    That’s one problem big big here, disrespect everywhere!!!

    I wish to be in US :(

    But me and my family are not legal there, we immigrants but still isn’t that how America started??
    Why is it so bad now when theyve done it long ago?
    I get the over population thing but what you expect with the big difference

    Americans, when others come to your country they are amazed at how different and better they’re lifes get, try living in poverty and coming to America to see how it changes!
    It makes me cry and sorry to be so dramatic but it’s true :(

    Comment by Priscila | February 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Priscila, I feel pity for you :(.
      I was facing a lot of problems back in 2008. Financial problems, family problems so I decided to move back to Brasil. One of the worst decisions I’ve done in my life.
      I have a nice house with pool and near the ocean side in SP Brazil. So we decided to sell our business in USA pay for are debts and move back to try a more less stress full life. OMG What big mistake.
      My husband invested in a Supermarket in the same town we have our house. During the year, we were there he was assaulted five times and in one instance, the robber and my husband got into a physical fight and the robber shoot his gun three times. No one got hurt but…
      I was scaring most times. One day my housekeeper told me a sixty years old neighbor got raped.
      Ok criminality a part lets talk about services;
      Internet Services:
      I paid high speed internet that never worked properly. Most of my mornings were on the phone trying to get the right amount of speed accordingly to what I was paying for.
      Bank Services:
      They have a security door in front of every single bank in town. If you are a girl that carries a big stylish bag with you full with you necessities you will be humiliate trying to enter any bank institution. They will treat you like a criminal and even shoot you if you don’t follow the rules it already happen look at this link

      http://g1.globo.com/sao-paulo/noticia/2010/05/homem-baleado-em-banco-de-sp-foi-vitima-de-racismo-diz-familia.html

      Translate this page with google and you can see what I am talking about.
      Hey making a long story short. I am back.
      I applied for my citizenship with I got it and now I am back in college.
      Brazil no more.

      Comment by Patricia | February 14, 2011 | Reply

  23. Hi! I’m Tessa. I found your post really, really interesting, and agree with *almost* everything you stated here about America. However, when you mention “Frump Nation”, and how women are losing their femininity, well … To a certain extent I suppose I can agree that people should take care of themselves, show some self respect. Notice, however, that I said people, and not women. Everybody should take care of themselves. Don’t single out women.
    The thing is, society is changing. The Glass Ceiling is cracking, but only because a few women have chosen to give up their femininity and do what it takes to break into a male-ruled world. You mention short hair and flat shoes, and suits, and say … unattractive?
    I think not. Actually, I’m almost offended.
    You see, there are some women out there you have way, way better things to do with their time than fiddle with a curling iron or blow-dryer every morning, and so yes, they opt for short hair. There are women who have to walk to work every day, and so yes, they wear flat shoes. And, did you know, that to be feminine is a sign of weakness when you’re trying to succeed in your career, and crawl past all of the men weighing you down? Suits — I say yes.
    Women are making leaps and bounds, and have come far from wear they used to be. For God’s sake, give us a break! So what if we’re not so feminine? We’re too busy running for president, earning college degrees, and focusing on our careers, which is something we’ve only been able to do for so long, now!
    It upsets me when even women forget that we might have better things to do than our hair & make-up, or that just because a woman wears suits that doesn’t make her a man.
    Don’t get me wrong. I agree with *everything* else in this post. But this is a subject that just irritates me.

    Comment by quintessajazz | January 16, 2012 | Reply

    • You can wear a pantsuit and look very feminine. As long as it fits well, you wear make up and some jewelry.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | February 27, 2012 | Reply

    • See, US women will b*** at and argue with you even when they know you are right. They are frumpy and loud. When ‘Tessa’ needs it to be, style is suddenly a useless activity. And someone else has to be blamed for failures; in this case, men.

      Comment by brady | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  24. Hello Brasilmagic, I just came across your post and enjoyed it very much. I’ve been writing the opposite blog, a blog about a gringa (American) who retired to Brazil (see website below if you’re interested). When you choose to live in a country, learn its language and really get into the day-to-day experiences, you sometimes see things more clearly than the natives. I loved your comments about my native country, they’re right on target! Beijos

    Comment by Barbara Lowenstein | February 11, 2012 | Reply

  25. Brasil* That is how Brasil is spelled not Brazil. Dip shit

    Comment by Sammy | March 9, 2012 | Reply

    • Dear Sammy boy: I don’t know who you are calling dipshit (classy..) but obviously I know how Brazil is spelled in Portuguese, since I am Brazilian. Problem is, this blog is in English. If you write about the USA in Portuguese, will you write “United States” or “Estados Unidos”. Don’t be so damn touchy.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | March 9, 2012 | Reply

  26. Dear Brasilmagic, thank you writing this blog!
    I dated Brazilian women years ago. Good memories. This is how I ended up in your blog. But this is not why I keep coming to your blog Its because I can relate a lot of cultural differences cause I am immigrant from Uzbekistan living in US for 7 years.
    You are THE MAGIC!

    Comment by albert200505 | March 10, 2012 | Reply

  27. Hello I loved your blog, I am researching braslian and I love the different cultures, I find it so interesting to learn about other cultures sorry my english is horrible (laughs), well what I can say is that here in Brazil we are extremely value for the family friendships are a happy people unfortunately we suffered a lot with the ignorance of some, corruption poverty and illiteracy are things that still prevail in our country … but things are changing as a teacher of philosophy I seek to clarify my students about the importance of acquiring knowledge is to appreciate and respect above all, our culture and the culture of others. cultural divergences will always exist but the most important in any culture anywhere in the world is respect, tolerance

    this is my message to all kisses

    Comment by jessika | April 1, 2012 | Reply

  28. Hello I loved your blog, I am researching braslian and I love the different cultures, I find it so interesting to learn about other cultures sorry my english is horrible (laughs), well what I can say is that here in Brazil we are extremely value for the family friendships are a happy people unfortunately we suffered a lot with the ignorance of some, corruption poverty and illiteracy are things that still prevail in our country … but things are changing as a teacher of philosophy I seek to clarify my students about the importance of acquiring knowledge is to appreciate and respect above all, our culture and the culture of others. cultural divergences will always exist but the most important in any culture anywhere in the world is respect, tolerance
    this is my message to all kisses

    Comment by jessika | April 1, 2012 | Reply

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  30. Do not like the US and do not like Brazil. All the negative things in the US that you stated I agree with. But I will add one important thing to the list: the immigration service. If you happen to be one of the typically stuckup members of the Brazilian middle class going to “Jisney” or to NYC to make “compras”, the consular dogs grant you a visa with a smile.
    If however, you a member of the “working” class in Brazil as was my step-daughter, working two jobs and attending one of Rio’s private colleges, and wanting to spend a month visiting your mother who is married to an american (me) then basically fuck you.
    The derisive treatment of my step-daughter who was treated as if she were a street prostitute left her in tears. The justification is apparently that she “could” become an illegal. Apparently, Mexicans are the only ones guaranteed that right.

    As a result of the above the other four step kids, , who would have visited in turn, got completely turned off by the US and its fucked up dictatorial government and decided not to have any thing more to do with the idea of a visit.

    —————————————————————-

    The person who is my legal wife decided therefore to return to her family in Brazil. She wondered what the point was of staying with me in a country where her family couldn’t even visit.

    —————————————————————-

    As to Brazil, I’ve spent a total of about 15 months in Brazil in 3 different locations. I’ve found Brazilians at once to be friendly, warm, disingenuous, and snobby. Minor funcionaries both in business and govenment were insufferable in the bueaucratic attitudes.

    I had one incident of outright anti-americanism and several unnerving incidents in Rio on buses and in public at the hands of “moleques”. For me a visit to Rio is like visiting a ghetto area in an American city. For all of its natural beauty, Brazilians have managed to fuck it all up by allowing the development of hillside ghettoes, favelas, and general lawlessness.

    Would this lawlessness be the same if everyone was permitted to own a firearm? You can’t even own pepperspray. That means you need to learn how to be polite to street bandits. Polite my ass!
    Where are your cops? Half of them are bandits because of low pay.

    So you see, I detest both places, Brazil and the USA

    Will you have the courage to post this?

    Regards Abracos

    JC

    PS And to think I took the time to learn fluent Portuguese………

    Comment by Jack C. Lester | October 18, 2012 | Reply

    • JC, I agree with all your comments. Unfortunately. But obviously there are far worse places in the world to visit.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | October 18, 2012 | Reply

      • I hope you can pardon my expletives because the visa denied would have gone to my favorite stepdaughter, a gentle, soft-spoken domestically oriented girl who was as far as possible removed from the concrete stereotype in the mind of the callous consulate employee.

        Now that Betti is back in Brazil, I am going to focus on that incident and will contact my US senator or other parties specializing in immigration problems and I can assure you I will run with that ball. If my wife’s kids could get visitor visas, the situation may, even at this late stage, have a happier ending.

        Respectfully

        JC

        Comment by Jack C. Lester | October 18, 2012

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  49. Hi Grace! I came across your blog by accident and you know what? I loved it! I got addicted and I just want to read everything…LOL I agree with almost 100% what you say. I can’t compete with your view of Brazil and the US coz Ive never been there, However your exposure of both countries looks convincing and fair, especially because of the basis of your argumentation. I’m a 30 year old Brazilian guy who’s never been abroad. I got a passion for English when I was 18 and Ive been teaching da language since 2011 and I have to say, teaching a language is teaching a country’s culture and culture is very complex, so to be an English teacher ain’t easy (many countries speak English and have different cultures), but yields good results. I love to be a teacher. I quit working for private schools (coz they are all about exploiting people and teaching ineffectively) and now I teach as a private teacher. I’ve been developing a more effective system for Brazilians to learn English and your blog provides much of what I needed in terms of cultural differences. Thanks alot. My system will be developed based on the truth that one learns by listening 1st, not by reading, so it’ll be a system and material based on “true English Conversation” (not da fake CD conversations present even in renowned schools like Cambridge and Macmillan materials)from Brazilians who speak it well and from natives. I’d like to ask you if either you and/or your american friends could contribute to this project, which I can explain in detail through either e-mail or Skype. it involves voice recording about some important subjects, like social matters and the like. In the future I plan to create the same type of material for English speaking people who want to master Brazilian Portuguese. If you don’t want to get personally involved in this project, could you post on your blog a note about me and ask your readers (brazilians with experience and views like yours and americans) to write me if they are willing to contribute to this beautiful idea. I know that speaking Englsh can be a turning point in the way Brazilianas view the world. As for your entire blog, I think you should write books, you have a neck for catching people’s attention and making them read your articles to the very end no matter how big they are!!!! LOL Also your ideas and world view aee things that Brazilians should know and that where translation come in handy. I’d like to talk to ya bout translation and publishing your blogs in the form of a book for Brazilians, if u want. :) BTW, my email is fernando.franca01@gmail.com. I already subscribed to your blog. Cheers!!

    Comment by Fernando Franca | August 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank Fernando! Welcome and I hope you can make some comments!

      Comment by Brasilmagic | August 15, 2013 | Reply

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