Back when I was living in Xela, Guatemala, I would often go to this café in the touristy area to sit down and relax.
While there, there happened to be another foreigner named Jeffrey who was from the US.
Now, to keep it short, Jefrrey was basically a sex tourist.
Which is funny to think about because he chose Guatemala as his place to be an alcoholic sex tourist.
Usually, sex tourists will go to maybe Tijuana or Mexico City..
Or maybe Costa Roca…
Perhaps Panama City to a degree…
Or they’ll go to Cuba, the DR, Brazil or Colombia.
If they like white Latinas, maybe Argentina but you can find those in Colombia as well.
Suffice to say, Guatemala isn’t very well known as being a “sex tourist” place in large part because foreign men tend to find the average girl there to be really ugly.
Anyway, Jeffrey was as stereotypical as you can get when it comes to being a sex tourist.
Overweight, not good looking, old, etc.
And he was divorced when he lived in the US.
So, in short, he hasn’t had the best dating success in life.
Though not to judge him too harshly there…
Lots of people get divorced!
On the other hand, he probably did have money because, in his words, he was a dentist back home.
Granted, he also claimed to work for Intelligence in the US so he was sometimes seemingly full of shit.
That's a side point about some expats: you got those who bullshit you about their life story making it seem cooler than how it really was back home.
Still, that’s part of the beauty of life in Latin America as an expat – you can reinvent yourself and be whatever you want!
Just for the record: I had sex with porn stars every day back in the US and managed 10 million dollar businesses while having done cocaine with numerous rock stars.
Anyway, Jeffrey was, by most people’s definitions, the stereotypical “loser back home.”
This is the idea that foreigners who come down to Latin America don’t have any moral compass or act bad down here in ways they wouldn’t back home.
And, back home, they were somehow “losers” so they had to escape that.
The loser back home can be the stereotypical young male in his 20s who wanted to avoid the crap job and dating situation.
To the recently divorced and retired gentleman who is old and living on his 1,250 social security paycheck in Gary, Indiana smoking meth.
Anyway, it’s a bit of a stereotype but there is some smoke behind the fire because some of these gringos do exist down here for sure.
Having said that, there’s been a question that should be brought up – how many of these gringos were truly “losers back home” or how many of them simply became losers after living down here long enough?
Because let’s take Jeffrey for example..
I wouldn’t call him a loser for having been divorced. That’s quite common these days.
And let’s accept the possibility that he was a dentist.
In that case, he must’ve had decent money!
Doesn’t sound too bad.
And, all around, perhaps he was a well-contributing member of society.
Maybe he donated to the local animal shelter? Who knows!
But, once he moved down here, he became a bit of a scumbag perhaps.
That does happen.
Where the gringo in question was, for the most part, a decent person back home but became shit when they began living in Latin America as an expat.
That’s a little bit of nuance that seems to evade people’s thinking.
Some folks think all expats are “losers back home” when that’s not true at all.
And others, who are a little more nuanced, think that “some expats” were losers back home.
But I haven’t met too many who consider the possibility that the expat wasn’t a loser back home but because a loser while living down here.
So not so much a “loser back home” but a “loser in Latin America.”
An LBH to a LLA if we have to stick to acronyms.
Back to the point anyway, let’s discuss why an expat might become a loser in Latin America despite not having been much of one back home.
Defining the Loser
First, let’s define what the loser actually is.
I’ll keep it simple and say that the loser down here is the expat who, after enough time down here, can’t get his shit together on anything.
Nobody is perfect to be fair.
And I don’t expect any particular aspiring expat to be a loser if they are in their first or second year down here and still making 500 bucks a month.
Perhaps a young 20 year old kid who is a "digital nomad" but still struggling to make the online income thing work.
Look, if you are in your 20s and living on a tight budget, that's OK for a tiny bit.
And we have to be generous here because, even though remote work is becoming more popular, we as young expats don't have a retirement income to fall back on and are legally restricted from working most local jobs in Latin America (though most pay shit anyhow).
So I'd be conscious of that and also even respect the young 20 year old expat (or one of any age) to be taking such a major life change to live abroad.
But, if we're being honest, such a life living as an expat abroad with little income is perhaps "more romantic" when one is 20 versus say 40.
At some point, you need to get your financial act together and, while I get it can be difficult at first to figure out how to make money independently from most jobs, you are still objectively a "financial loser" if you wake up one day now 40 and no longer 20 with only 749 USD in the bank.
Beyond the finances....
I don’t really shame the foreigner if he wants to engage in vices too much as long as he has the rest of his life in order.
Say a foreigner who goes to a whore house once in a while or does cocaine or whatever it might be.
And, in the first year that this foreigner lives down here, it’s more understandable for him to engage in the vices a little more often than normal.
He might be in that honeymoon phase or whatever and is simply having an adventure.
And, even if he is beyond his "honeymoon phase," why do you give a fuck if he likes to screw whores or does cocaine?
It has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Assuming those gals were not forced into sex trafficking and consented to working as prostitutes (which is legal in Colombia) and occasionally likes to consume drugs (which is illegal but doesn't harm you), then leave him alone!
But, to be fair, the problem arises obviously when said foreigner can't get his shit together and his vices are making him "not so functional" in life.
Like this Russian Nazi in Mexico who got arrested.
And so this problematic foreigner, not having necessarily the most functional life, shows his degeneracy to the world in public.
The one who ends up every weekend vomiting in public with only 100 dollars to his name.
Literally only a 100 dollars.
The Plane Back Home Test
Said gringo literally would not be able to afford a plane ticket back home.
And, truthfully, that’s probably a good measure of if a gringo down here is a loser or not.
Can he afford a plane ticket back home?
Granted, you could argue that standard is quite low since a plane ticket probably isn’t going to be more than 1,300 bucks if he’s flying in from Argentina in worst case scenario…
So maybe 2 plane tickets!
One for himself and one for his favorite prostitute to come to America!
If he can’t afford those two flight tickets despite living down here for 10 years…
He’s a loser.
And, to be fair, I don't think being able to buy a plane home proves that he ISN'T a loser but, if he can't afford it, then he quite likely is one.
Still, to summarize, I'd leave it at that going back to where we were before "the plane back home test."
The loser down here is the one who literally has nothing in order despite a decade down here being in his 40s maybe always making a mess of himself and never having enough money for two plane tickets back home.
Beyond the example with Jeffrey, check out this article I wrote here on an interesting German man I met in Mexico City not too long ago who was begging me for help to get to Costa Rica.
Having said that, why do I think that expats can become losers down here despite not having been losers back home?
The Gringo Rotting Away
First, it can be difficult to get your shit together while down here long term if you don’t have social security or retirement for some gringos.
Especially from a financial aspect.
If you are trying to figure out how to make money online, it can take a bit of trial and error really.
Some gringos never figure it out.
Consequently, they end up at 40 years old with no real money in the bank account.
Second, some gringos become "comfortable" living on low incomes such as 500 bucks a month.
They figure out a way to make what they need (working hard or not) and have absolutely no desire to work any harder.
Their free time often involving lots of booze, drugs and whatever vices.
Third, some gringos see the behavior of the locals and think they can get away with similar behavior.
Things like littering, scamming others like I wrote here and much more.
Simply put, they behave like those they have experience seeing.
And, on top of that, their behavior might even be encouraged by the locals!
The most obvious case of this would be the corrupt cop who basically kidnaps a foreigner, accuses him of a crime that he never did and says to him that "there's another way to resolve this."
Check out this story here I wrote on the time such a case happened to me when I had to bribe a Mexican cop because he accused me of "pissing in the street" when I didn't.
Fourth, it’s easy, as I wrote elsewhere, to get a little bit of an addiction to things like sex, drugs, liquor, etc. Some gringos never get a hang of that.
Perhaps it’s because of boredom with nothing else to do for example.
And let me tell you that I've had my own days bored out of my mind because I don't have to work too hard to make ends meet.
In a way, maybe I personally fall into the trap of "becoming comfortable" with what I have and, with the extra time one has, resort to drinking more.
For other gringos, drugs might be involved.
Beyond that, you got those who resort to vices because they are coping with the past.
While they likely were or perhaps would have found ways to cope back home, I would argue it's a little bit eaiser to cope with drugs and alcohol down here.
For one, at least based on my observations, it's easier for gringos to get drugs down here more cheaply and with less risk of being put in jail if caught (bribing a cop).
But, as I hinted at before, those gringos with REAL problems can find ways to live extremely cheaply. In short, that means that it's easier to pay your expenses while engaging with your vices to such a degree that you'd have become homeless back home but can still find a way to pay the rent down here.
That's because "the rent" could be as cheap as 100 to 150 bucks a month (or even less if you really go off the gringo tourist trail).
And the expenses for those vices?
Maybe 10 to 30 bucks for a prostitute.
Cheap ass vodka going for 5 bucks for a whole bottle and whatever for your cheaper drugs down here.
And, with your low expenses on things like rent or food, you got more money left over for those vices.
So, as I said, that cheap lifestyle (especially for the gringo who aspires to nothing) basically enables him to live a more degenerate lifestyle that would not be as easy to maintain back home because he'd have to be more functional to work harder to not end up homeless.
So, be it laziness or coping with mental health issues (or both), the "cheap" lifestyle in Latin America makes it easier for said gringo to engage in his vices down here and become very degenerate.
Fifth, sometimes you might notice a gringo who is constantly on the move from one country to the next.
In that situation, I feel like it can be easy for the gringo to keep reinventing himself.
Let’s say he gets into trouble in Costa Rica.
Then he moves to Colombia…
Nobody knows him in Colombia.
He hasn’t built up a bad reputation among the locals just yet.
A classic example might be Noah Goldberg "Medellin Paisa" who got shot to death in Colombia some odd years ago as you can read about here.
Sixth, some gringos, as mentioned elsewhere, can become very jaded with life down here.
It’s the difference you see between the wide-eyed gringo who is in the honeymoon phase to the one who sees shit everywhere he looks down here.
Consequently, he might not have as much respect for the local customs or people and behave badly.
Especially if he is jaded after having been fucked over one too many times by the locals or whatever the issue is that has made him more jaded.
Seventh, the lack of responsibilities that some gringos benefit from down here (no house, no kids, no wife, etc) can make a life of degeneracy a bit easier.
Eighth, some gringos can sometimes feel more at ease to "do what they want" and do things they normally wouldn't do back home because they live away from home where nobody knows them.
In short, you have less social pressure from folks in your family or long term friends who would be better mediating forces in controlling any bad behavior (assuming they are not so degenerate people also).
Putting it Together
So let’s go back to Jeffrey.
Jeffrey might have been a dentist in the US.
Not the type to run around drunk drinking liquor out of a container in a café back in Wisconsin like he often would when I saw him in Guatemala.
And definitely not throwing random comments out there for everyone to hear about how “he’d like to fuck that cute little Japanese gal over there in the ass" as I heard him say before in public.
Before chuckling along to himself and having another sip like I wrote about him here.
Perhaps because, back home, he wouldn’t feel as confident to make such a loud comment knowing that everyone in the café would speak English in the US.
Whereas here, in Guatemala, he feels confident enough that not enough people would understand him.
Or maybe he doesn’t give a fuck if any of them do because “they’re little Guatemalans.”
At any rate, Jeffrey might’ve been a respectable enough character back home.
Not a loser necessarily.
But now that he is down here…
Well, he doesn’t have a wife or kids down here to be responsible for in the community.
No responsibilities at all really.
Has a nice 1,200 social security check or whatever to keep him financially afloat just enough to not worry about expenses.
Is quite board likely with nothing to do so a lot of drinking helps the days go by faster.
Plus, having been divorced, drinking can help cope with that if needed or with his relationship with any kids he has back home who he doesn't see.
And no social pressure by other gringos to “act more normal” in public.
In a community where few people know him.
Of course, it can be said that not all gringos are like that.
In fact, most gringos I have met aren't that extreme that I would call them "losers" down here.
As I've written here, it’s somewhat of a stereotype by angry locals who think of all gringos as acting this way.
Especially in cities though with more of that "gringo sex tourist" presence like in Medellin or Rio de Janeiro.
Which I find funny at times because the same angry locals likely have vices themselves or are not perfect at the very least.
And, if we're being honest, they probably wouldn't appreciate us casting all of them with stereotypes either (which we do, to be fair).
Do all Colombians do cocaine for example?
No? You don't like that stereotype?
Then shut the fuck up and stop thinking all gringos are degenerate, sex tourists who do drugs.
Only like a fifth of them are! I swear, just a fifth!
Still, jokes aside, obviously not all gringos are like that above and not all Colombians do cocaine (even if their country is one of the top cocaine producing countries in the world).
My point here above all is to simply recognize that a “rotting away” effect can happen on a gringo.
Who might’ve not been a loser back home but is slowly degrading into one down here.
And so that’s the topic – the degrading of the gringo and how not every “loser gringo” was a loser back home but became one down here due to his reaction to the conditions he finds himself in while living in Latin America.
Anyway, that’s all I got to say.
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Thanks for reading,