A few years ago, I was living in a Mexican city called Pachuca.
One night, I was going to attend some house party in a very nice and gated community of the city.
My Mexican girlfriend of the time, whose name was Brenda, was also living in the city.
We lived a tiny bit of distance between each other in different parts of the city.
Her parents owned a second home a bit far away and so I travelled to see her by her area before we ultimately left for this house party.
When I got to the area, I did find myself a tiny bit lost and some dude running a store noticed I was lost.
It was one of those basic stores selling sweet goods.
Anyway, I didn’t have any data in my phone but I gave him Brenda’s number and he called her for me to let her know where I was exactly.
Roll the clock a bit and Brenda located the store.
We left to her place in which I had some cookie in my hand.
The store owner, for whatever reason, offered me a free cookie.
If I remember right, I think I bought something else but he did offer me a cookie also.
It’s been a while so my memory is a bit weak here.
Anyway, I had a cookie.
And once we got back to Brenda’s place, one of her best friends was in the house too where we would wait a tiny bit before heading out to this house party.
At any rate, Benda eventually asked me (in private when her friend walked away from us for a second) to offer her a tiny bit of the cookie.
I don’t know.
Her friend looked like she needed a salad and not a cookie.
But I chalk it up to Brneda just being her Latina self.
What do I mean?
Well, despite us never having any major arguments, we did have some differences.
One of them being the topic of sharing.
It’s something that I’ve noticed among other Latinos also.
In which, for whatever reason, Latinos seem more down to share than gringos.
That isn’t to say that gringos never share anything but I do think it’s fair generalization in saying that we are more typical in having a “what you buy is what you consume” mentality.
In which, assuming the social context doesn’t call for anyone to be generous necessarily (like you see a homeless person who needs food), then you keep what you bought to yourself.
It’s a small cultural difference that I’ve only recently adopted.
When Brenda asked me to share a part of the cookie, I remember rejecting the idea initially.
Not like I told her a “flat out no” but, internally, I did think to myself “why?”
Her friend can’t afford her own cookie?
And it didn’t make sense to me.
She didn’t ask me for a bit of the cookie anyway.
It’s my cookie – fuck off.
Still, in another example, we will see what I mean when it comes to Latinos being a little more generous in sharing.
A Separate House Party in Pachuca
Outside of the house party that we eventually went to in the last story (in which I’ve talked about that house party a few times elsewhere on my blog), I also remember going to another house party with Brenda in Pachuca during that time.
It wasn’t full of rich Latinos anyhow in some gated community.
It was a normal apartment that we visited in which you had a bunch of Mexican folks who seemed maybe 5 years younger than me?
During that time, that could’ve been 18 to 22.
Very young folks.
And we are sitting around late at night in some small apartment with plenty of liquor from a nearby OXXO.
While having a few drinks, we were playing that game of “never have I ever” or some shit like that but in Spanish.
Being a gringo, I couldn’t help but be a smartass and say shit like “never have I ever seen El Chavo del Ocho.”
Cheap shots to be fair.
But they make for good humor.
Which, as a side point, making jokes about your “foreign status” can be a good way to break the ice with Latinos in Latin America as long as you don’t overdue it – meaning come across as self-hating or as a clown trying to be Latino when you aren’t.
Anyway, it was my impression that, during this small gathering, they were quite generous with the alcohol.
I had contributed a tiny bit to it but I didn’t buy the whole house.
And there was a Mexican guy at the gathering who really took a liking to me.
Some Mexican dude who was dressed stereotypically as what you’d see in a upper class Mexican from central Mexico.
It’s hard to describe the look – blue jeans, a western shirt and that black vest looking piece of clothing you put over the shirt without the sleeves?
I have no idea what they call that thing because nobody from home wears that.
But those who have been to Mexico might know what I mean.
Anyway, the dude was very nice.
If I remember right, it was his place and he was offering another drink from time to time.
No worry on his end regarding how much I have paid for the liquor.
Wasn’t seeing me as a gringo ATM machine.
A generosity that, if I’m being honest, I’m not always open to providing back unless it’s with a person that I like.
A complete strangers? Less no.
But that’s one observation – as a side point – that some gringos make about Latin America.
Which is that, in house parties, Latinos seem more down to “put together resources collectively” for the liquor that anyone can enjoy later instead of all of us just separately bringing our own beer to the party.
It’s an observation I’ve heard from a few others who have move down here also.
And, going along with the topic, perhaps one could argue that it shows how Latinos are a little more generous with giving than gringos.
Of course, this is all a broad generalization.
The examples here are those in Mexico.
Maybe Latinos of certain backgrounds are less forgiving – of other nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc?
I have no idea.
Maybe the Latino who dislikes the stereotypical Argentine would say that Argentines are not so generous.
I’ll leave that to you to decide!
But, despite my initial coldness to giving Brenda’s friend a piece of the cookie, I have to say that it has rubbed on me a little more in the last year or so.
Back when I was living by Lindavista area of Mexico City, I was sitting down in the dining room having some food.
A neighbor walked in having finished a day of work.
She began cooking something.
We began talking.
She noticed the bottle of brandy on the table.
Funny enough, she likes brandy!
Which is weird because I can count on one hand the amount of Mexicans who like brandy that I have met personally.
When I went to the OXXO near that apartment, there was a cute gal who remarked to me in a cute way how “I was the only one who bought their brandy.”
“oh chica, I’d like your number too.”
She was cute.
Supposedly, I was the only one buying the brandy.
And I believe her.
When I take girls out to dates, they never opt for the brandy that I have at home unless it’s the only thing left available.
Tequila works for them!
Well, rum or vodka too.
Few go for the brandy.
And so that neighbor is literally one of the few in Mexico who likes brandy that I have met
Long story short, we got talking about different brands of brandy and what we like to drink it with.
And I offered her a shot.
In other moments?
In the new apartment I am at now, I offered the wife of the landlord a slice of pizza a few days ago.
She didn’t want one.
Life went on.
But, being honest, my generosity with brandy and pizza is a little bit unprecedented for me.
Soon enough I’ll be offering people free black tea – the holy drink of mine.
I chalk it up to, in part, the extra generosity of Latinos finally rubbing off on me.
While it is annoying to have a cookie that you wanted to eat all to yourself, I get it.
It feels nice going in reverse when someone is generous to you.
But also, being honest, I think the extra generosity comes from feeling more financially comfortable these days than before.
Where offering a tiny bit just to be nice doesn’t feel as personal like when I was living on 300 bucks a month or whatever.
So it doesn’t matter anymore if someone takes a shot of brandy or a pizza.
Plus, it breaks the ice easier obviously.
Either way, despite all that, the final point to reiterate has to do with the generosity.
It’s simply an observation I’ve heard from other gringos too that I suppose it has some validity and it’s not just me saying it.
And, being honest, I see the smoke behind the fire.
Finally, despite all the shit talk I do about folks down here, the positives need to be mentioned too.
This is one of them.
Anyway, there isn’t much more to say.
It’s a small topic about life down here but something to mention briefly.
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Thanks for reading.