Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

In Brazil it is ok to….

1)      Go out with your hair wet after a shower. How many people do you see with wet hair in the US walking around?

2)      Not wear a bra. Nipples showing? No biggie, every woman has them.

3)      Wedgies. Brazilian women like tight pants and jeans, and they like bikini-like underwear. Wedgies are normal and nobody even looks.

4)      Mothers breastfeeding in public. Nobody even looks, since it is a normal thing nursing mothers do and it is never sexualized.

5)      Men walking around the city or driving without a shirt in the summer. Nobody looks, nobody cares.

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September 25, 2013 Posted by | Brazil, Difference between cultures | , , , , | 5 Comments

Brazilian Incongruence

Brazilians want free public healthcare of the best quality. They also want plenty of qualified doctors.

That costs a lot of money

Brazilians want dirt cheap reliable public transportation.

That costs a lot of money

Brazilians want free elementary, middle and high school education with first world standards. They also want free universities.

That costs a lot of money

Brazilians complain about corruption, but elected back into office the same corrupt former president that had been impeached by the people (Fernando Collor). Brazilians call all politicians corrupt (which is true), but they vote for them! They are in denial about the fact that they voted for notoriously corrupt people.

Brazilians complain about having one of the highest tax rates in the world (40%) and not having good services back. While that has merit, the demands on the government to provide everything free and of the best quality require a lot of taxes! And if the money is not being well used (example, full pensions until death for government workers, bribes upon construction of bridges and highways and schools), it is because Brazilians don’t know how to vote.

Brazilians love soccer and want to attend all the games. They wanted the World Cup to be in Brazil. The stadiums had to be built on FIFA standards of safety. Now they complain about them. However, Brazil won the Confederations Cup and everybody cheered and celebrated. They brag about how mnay foreigners attended that cup.

Brazilians complain about not having any money for important social issues, but spend millions on a papal visit when the Vatican has billions! As well as promoting an institution based on lies, corruption and the protection of tons of pedophile priests!

Make up your mind Brazilians!

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Brazil, Politics, Society | 2 Comments

Why Brazilian women are considered the sexiest in the world

220px-AlessandraAmbrosio

Brazilian women have just been chosen the sexiest women in the world by Guyism.com. Some people have asked me why that is so.  I tell them what I think may be the reasons:

 

1)      It is a very large country; thus it could have a larger number of attractive women (and men).

2)      The racial mixture is such that the population may have mixed the best traits of each ethnicity. Portuguese prevails; also Italian, African, Native Brazilian, German, Ukrainian and Polish compose the Brazilian racial orgy.

3)      The warm weather all year long makes people expose their bodies more. That means there is more preoccupation with looks, working out, plastic surgery, and good diet. In fact, working out is a habit and gyms abound. Those who cannot afford gyms walk a lot.

4)      Brazilian cities are made for walking. The benefits of that show in women’s bodies.

5)      The racial mixture made a very feminine shaped body, where no one feature is more pronounced than others. The large buttocks are not a Brazilian reality as people think. It’s more of a nicely shapely behind, hips and a small waist look.

6)      90% of Brazilian women wear their hair long. That adds to femininity.

7)      Brazilian women are very fashionable. The country has long followed the trends in haute couture and Parisian fashion.

8)      Although Brazilian women like lipstick, they don’t cake on the make up like their Hispanic counterparts, making for a more natural look. Hairstyles are also less styled and more windblown.

9)      Brazilian women dress sexy and trendy but not usually slutty (many exceptions of course, especially during Carnaval). Hispanic women like tighter dresses, higher heels and lots of jewelry, while Brazilians prefer a fresher and younger look.

10)   The food is not so processed.  People still cook from scratch and vegetables and fruits are fresh and abundant.

July 3, 2013 Posted by | Brazil, Difference between cultures | , , | 5 Comments

Dating in Brazil versus the U.S.

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Talking to some Brazilian friends who are in the dating market, we compared notes about dating in Brazil vs. dating in the US, and came to the conclusion that dating in America is much more confusing. In Brazil, once you start going out with someone, there is an implicit understanding that you are a couple. That means you readily tell your family and friends you have a significant other. You keep in touch daily. You see each other also almost daily. You start sharing your friends and activities. You know where you stand. You don’t question the relationship so much: “are we dating?”, “are we serious”? Brazilians also display much more public affection, like holding hands and kissing. It is an affectionate country.

 

In America, especially with the multitude of options online dating has created, it seems people have become flakier and that often translates into an on and off relationship. Don’t get me wrong: in Brazil, online dating is also popular, but the essence of what couplehood  means remains the same as before. That is, once you start a romance, you don’t look for others. You see each other almost on a daily basis and starting behaving as a couple.

 

In the US nowadays it seems everyone is looking for the bigger better deal. You go out with someone but you don’t show much commitment. You have “back up” plans. The guy or girl you call on Sundays when you are bored, because your Friday and Saturday nights are reserved for searching for the BBD (bigger better deal). You keep your back up plan happy with a few dates far and between and a few phone calls. You keep your backups a bit hidden since you don’t want your social circles to think you are a couple. God forbid a BBD shows up in a party and you are with the back up!

 

If it doesn’t work out with your partner in Brazil, you end things properly. In America, many people are acting so passive agressively nowadays that they seem unable to break things up with someone or tell them right in the beginning they are not interested  in the other romantically. So relationships drag in that sea of doubt. People forget their manners and disrespect each other by not answering the phone, text or emails. Again, they are so unsure of what they want while they leave you hanging,  just in case it doesn’t work with the BBD…

 

Our society has made us believe that we deserve perfection. Nobody wants to work in a relationship anymore nor put up with normal issues people have. Men want women who look perfect like the photoshopped world they grew up seeing. Women dream of Don Draper types without the womanizing. Selfishness and materialism has subverted the family values we once had and that are still strong in countries like Brazil.

 

Brazil has a lower divorce rate than America. Families stay together for longer (most kids only leave home when they get married), and people tend to live near their families. This family atmosphere also makes couples take their relationship more seriously. Once you both meet each other’s family, the pressure to stay together is stronger.

 

This lack of commitment and constant search for the perfect companion (or soul mate like many like to call) is one of the strongest reasons for this lack of commitment we are seeing in the American dating scene. Couple that with all the supermarket choices of online dating, the “I want it now” mentality of high speed internet/life that has produced instant gratification, the easy access to porn (which banalizes sex) and the disintegration of the nuclear family and you can understand why so many people are complaining about the dating world nowadays.

 

 

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Brazil, Difference between cultures, Relationships, Society | 3 Comments

The false superiority of the Brazilian Upper classes

This post has something to do with the former post, “Educated Immigrants”. That posts talks about educated immigrants from several different countries that live in the USA. This post is about the the upper classes in a country like Brazil.

If you born in an upper middle or upper class family in Brazil, you might have some or all of these characteristics:

1) You think poor people need to look up to you and respect you;

2) Poor people exist to serve you; at home, at work and everywhere else;

3) You barely talk to or acknowledge the waiter serving coffee or cleaning the floors anywhere you go;

4) Your child should not mingle with children of the help, or children who live in bad neighborhoods;

5) Anyone who has an undergraduate degree is called “doctor”, even though he or she is not a medical doctor nor has a PhD;

6) The law does not apply to you. You feel sorry for the rich kid who “accidently” hit someone with Daddy’s imported car. There is no way on earth this kid can be in prison with the lower classes, especially if he/she is white and good looking;

7) You use your contacts to find cushy jobs for yourself, your children or your close relatives;

8) If you are a woman, you have to be dressed from head to toe in the latest fashion. You simply cannot repeat a dress and you cannot wear something from last summer;

9) If you are a woman, you don’t dare go to the gym or the grocery store without make up or in sweats because people can think you are poor;

10) You don’t mind that your live-in maid sleeps in a windowless 2 x 2m room; she’s lucky she has a place to sleep!

11) You feel magnanimous when you give your maid a 30 Real salary increase, or when you give her leftover food she can take home to her family;

12) If you are a woman, you don’t do our own hair, manicure or pedicure. Why, when it’s so cheap to do it in a salon?

13) If you are a man, you wouldn’t be caught dead mowing your own lawn, gardening or washing your own car. Imagine if someone thinks you are the gardener? Besides, labor is so cheap.

14) You loooooove France. You loooove Paris, and you bash the US, but you like to come to the US for shopping.

15) You are racist, but you pretend you are not.

Examples? The David Goldman story. Wealthy and well connected family thinks they could keep American abducted child in Brazil without any consequences. Now, to be fair, many of these “attributes” can also belong to wealthy Americans too, don’t you think? Those upper crusty Boston types with 3 names and a Roman numeral at the end?

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Brazil, Society | 5 Comments

A Traditional Brazilian Family

I have some distant cousins in Brazil that represent a lot of the Brazilian values I have talked about in this blog. I spoke to them via Facetime the other day and enjoyed seeing them all. The father and mother are in their late 50’s. They are considered “upper middle class” and have a very good lifestyle. This lifestyle includes a residence in the city and a country “resort”, with soccer fields and swimming pools. The father looks great for his age and being a wealthy man, could have gone the selfish route and exchanged his wife of 35 years for a younger woman. However, they remain married, and the wife said he is getting better and better as a husband. How many women can say that? She too looks very good for her age, dressing in that youthful style that many Brazilian women have: slender, long hair, trendy.

The couple has two sons. You would think that being the sons of a wealthy man they would be involved in drugs or behave like playboys who wreck the sports car Daddy gave them. None of that. Both sons (late 20’s) are married and are doctors. The oldest son has a daughter. Nice Brazilian guys from good families get married to another nice Brazilian woman from a good family and settle down early. And they stay married. The family is very important. They were all together celebrating NYE in their summer house. Everybody looked healthy and happy. They have a cook who they treat like family. Most Brazilians with a high financial status such as this family has cooks, maids and gardeners. Their leisure time is for the family. Here in America you see so many husbands and wives who spend their weekends mowing the lawn, cleaning the house and fixing things that little time is left for just hanging out and talking to their family members. I know there are many families like this one in America. I would like my readers to tell me about stable families in America they know. Families not plagued by divorce, single mothers, drugs, prison time, cheating, etc.

I was very impressed by this family. I concede that having money helps everyone. It can make people happier and look better. It can allow them nice things and vacations that make them happier. But don’t we all know many families that have money and are super dysfunctional? This is an example of a balanced family which is rarer and rarer these days. Where the concept of marriage, kids and family is more important than selfishness and individualism.

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Brazil, Difference between cultures, Family, Society | 5 Comments

World Cup: fanaticism or patriotism?

As every native Brazilian, I love the World Cup. Since it only comes every 4 years, it is very exciting, like a dear friend you haven’t seen for years.

A lot can happen in fours years of a person’s life. Therefore, many Brazilians like me tend to remember each World Cup and what was happening in their lives in that period.

I remember my first World Cup and how I came to get the fever: 1970. Mexico. Brazil was proclaimed champion. Pele, or “King Pele”, as he was called, played brilliantly and scored so many goals that Brazilians went wild. I vividly remember the fireworks after each goal. I also remember my father gathering the family into his Dodge Dart and letting us kids sit on top, while a slow procession of cars honking their horns and carrying big Brazilian flags took over the streets. This sense of victory and patriotic pride made quite an impression on my young mind.

For many World Cups to come, there was always celebration involved, but none ever topped the thrill of that 1970 World Cup. Maybe in the subsequent years I was less impressionable and had other things going on in my life. Still, every World Cup was awaited with eagerness. I knew Brazil would perform well and that we would use the games as an excuse to party and hoot.

Things changed when I moved to America the last time (I have lived on and off both countries since I was 4). Living in the cosmopolitan and diverse Washington D.C. area, it was always easy to find a group of Brazilians watching the games together or a restaurant/bar that would show the games and attract Brazilian patrons. I would then have my little 2 hour fix or cheers and hoots. Once I stepped out of the restaurant we would leave that magic world and see Americans going about their business, not giving one thought to the fact there was a World Cup going on.

See, in Brazil the World Cup fever begins a few months before the games begin. You start seeing green and yellow gear being sold in stands and stores, you start seeing ads on TV referring to the championship and you hear people discuss the merits of each player and how good the coach really is. You are surrounded 24/7 and in every corner by the World Cup. During the games, life practically stops during the 2 hours that Brazil plays. I am sure emergency room employees are glued to a television set (or should I say monitor nowadays?).

Meanwhile, in North America, you hardly hear or see any mention that there is a World Cup going on. Few channels show the games. Few ads on TV except in a specific channel that broadcasts the games live. Forget radio. Newspapers carry a small update on the Cup amidst other stories about basketball and baseball. Sports commentators discuss local games while ignoring the worldwide event that brings together millions of people in the planet and generates millions of dollars.

We have heard many reasons why Americans don’t care for soccer (or shall we say, football): too boring, too slow, not enough goals, children’s sport, girly sport, not violent enough, the USA team is not good and Americans don’t like anything they don’t excel in, Americans consider it a “third world” game, Americans relate it to dark skinned people (!), Americans see it as un-American…and the list goes on.

As much as I enjoy watching Brazil play, and as much as I cherish each victory Brazil has, having now lived outside Brazil for 12 years has made me look at the whole World Cup obsession with different eyes: it is ok to be happy and celebrate a Brazil victory, it is ok to cheer and jump up and down when we score a goal, it is ok to wear all green and yellow from your head to your toe when watching the games….but you have to keep things in perspective. This is a game, that’s all. This is not about your identity or your character as an individual or as a nation. Therefore, if Brazil loses a game or the opponent scores a goal, it is not ok to be extremely upset and storm out of the room, throw things and be depressed for days.

Brazilians tend to associate the success of their national team to their self esteem as a country. It’s just a game folks. There is always another game in the future. Losing a game or even the whole championship does not mean that your country is lesser in any way. Brazilians (and Argentinians and the Brits) need to let go off fanaticism. Brazilians should stop linking their identity as a country to the outcome of the World Cup. There should be other reasons to be proud of being Brazilian: economic success, growth, medicine, exports and progress in many areas.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to start planning the barbecue before the Brazil game on Sunday with family and friends…

June 17, 2010 Posted by | Brazil | 3 Comments

Brazilians are passive about corruption-David Goldman case an example

care2I had some Brazilian visitors at my house and they know my disgust with the fact that David Goldman still does not have his son back in the United States. I asked them their position on David’s case and they are in favor of Sean being returned to his father (“obviously”, they pointed out). However, their attitude is of “defeatism” and “apologism”.

They gave me a very grim picture of Lula’s government and the ever existing corruption in the country. They said Lula is almost dictator-like and the poor population loves him due to popular actions like a “basic basket” of free monthly food items to those who have an income lower than a certain amount, the “school-scholarship” which is a certain amount of money given to parents who guarantee their kids go to school, etc.

Apparently Lula bailed out the Globo media group, which was struggling, and now they never badmouth him. Globo is the largest TV station in Brazil with the most viewership.

Meanwhile, corruption runs wild in a big scale, and most Brazilians feel helpless. Even though I lived in Brazil most of my life, it still shocks me to hear that the population accepts the corruption passively. They complain and complain, decade after decade, but they simply do not get together and act against it. They claim is has gotten better than in the past, but still has a long way to go.

I tried to argue that Brazil is an avid internet user and that widespread information is the best weapon to bring corruption to light and provoke enough ire that public opinion forces change. I gave as an example Twitter, extremely popular in Brazil, which has corruption stories availabe for all to see. My visitors said it doesn’t matter. The majority of the population just doesn’t care. All they want to watch or read about is SOCCER, Formula 1 and SOAP OPERAS. They skip the news on TV and watch the “novelas”, the soap operas that millions and millions of Brazilians watch every single night. If you try to discuss something more serious with many people, even the “educated” ones, they immediately lose interest. Girls are raised to try to be “models” and boys aspire to become soccer players.

They accept corruption with passiveness. They shrug their shoulders and say “fazer o quê, né?” (“do what, right?”). There is little sense of organization, community and activism. They say that it will take “100 years” to change the mentality, instead of trying to change things NOW. I blame only one thing for the state of affairs and corruption in Brazil: the Brazilian population. Finally, they did not try to find out more and showed no interest when my husband and I talked further about David’s case. I think they think this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of corruption. I believe that is the attitude of many educated middle class Brazilians now.

 

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Activism, Brazil | 3 Comments