When you ask a Latin American to identify what a tourists looks like, you'll get a description that probably involves someone going to the beach.
Be it shorts, sandals, etc.
Actually, if you ask someone to identify a tourist in any other sunny area with a beach like Hawaii, you'd probably get a similar answer.
In contrast, you'll also get gringos who have ideas about what Latin Americans typically dress like.
One observation you'll hear from some gringos is how seemingly nobody in Latin America is wearing shorts despite it being hot as fuck outside.
"Aren't they uncomfortable?!!" ponders the gringo.
In contrast though, sometimes you have Latin Americans who think the opposite of us in which they see us as being dressed too informally when outside in certain spaces.
Especially if we were discussing some place like Cancun for example where you got those memes/photos of tourists going into the OXXO basically almost nude.
Regardless, I suppose it should be asked then: "why don't Latin Americans wear shorts more often?"
Or, in other words, is there a way to explain the difference in how some gringos and some Latin Americans dress while living down here?
I think the answer is pretty obvious based on what has already been said but let's get into it.
Why Don't Latin Americans Wear Shorts?
Actually, you do have some that wear shorts!
Like if they go to the gym obviously.
Or if they are going to the beach.
But not as commonly in public when doing much of anything else.
Though, when speaking of Latin Americans, I do think it depends on what part of Latin America you are in.
For example, I have seen more people wearing shorts in rougher neighborhoods of Mexico City.
It's not super common but I have seen it a little more around some of these parts.
Similarly, as I think about my travels, I do remember seeing more people wearing shorts also when I was in Brazil.
Less so in Guatemala.
So your mileage will vary by what part of Latin America you are in both in terms of country, city and neighborhood quite frankly.
But now having put aside the point about how not all of Latin America is the same, what else could be said?
First, obviously the lifestyle differences between the gringo and Latin American matter.
The Latin American you see wearing pants in excessive heat is probably going to or returning from work.
Obviously, unless he works at a nearby pool, he probably isn't wearing shorts to work.
Not every Latin American is walking over to be in a reggaeton music video.
COGELA QUE VOY (HD) - Daddy Yankee
That's one thing that some gringos fail to remember is that these people actually have to go to a physical office to work.
While you do got some gringos who got formal jobs down here where they have to go to an office, so many more fit into one of two categories:
1. Having a retirement income where they are not working.
2. Working online from home where, in worst case scenario, they have to put on something formal for the Zoom meetings (while probably in their underwear though).
Therefore, in either scenario, the gringo does have more liberty to be outside wearing shorts.
Second, I do think there's something cultural at work here.
My personal opinion is that the parts of Latin America that are more conservative than others will have less people wearing shorts.
That it's just seen as too informal for when being outside (unless you are again in some rougher looking neighborhood perhaps where, like Walmart in the US, people give less shits about how they look and might dress more informally).
In contrast, more gringos think that the outside is informal enough for wearing shorts and don't see any problem with it.
Also, there's probably a generational difference too in how older people see shorts versus younger ones like how you have generational differences in other countries also.
Third, one could argue that perhaps more people are used to the climate than John and Sarah from rural Wisconsin or some freezing part of Canada.
So it's just not as big of a deal for some Latin Americans to wear pants during such heat.
Fourth, wearing pants can help at least protect your legs from mosquito bites when outside in certain parts of Latin America where diseases brought by mosquitos are a bigger risk.
Fifth, as I wrote here, Latin Americans have a different sense of what is cold.
Obviously, not all Latin Americans are little bitches who are too scared to wear shorts outside due to "the cold."
You have those who live in Ushuaia of Argentina where it snows and it gets very cold!
But, having said that, you do have this oddity about a lot of people in Latin America wearing literal winter coats outside when it's like 50 or 60 degrees.
I've even seen them wearing winter coats in the fucking metro station with masks on and a shit ton of people inside and no AC.
Where, even without a coat on, you could be sweating when standing up (especially if there's a shit ton of people shoulder to shoulder around you).
And yet some wear fuckin' coats in that environment.
So, when it comes to understanding why plenty of Latin Americans don't wear shorts as often as gringos, I'd argue one of the reasons is because of differences in handling different temperatures.
They're more likely to wear winter coats when it's not justified and we're more likely to wear shorts during times that'd confuse them.
I know I have!
I've been guilty of such.
Though I normally wear pants and not shorts outside, I have confused the typical Latin American from time to time when standing outside in just pants (sometimes shorts) and a short sleeved shirt and the other person asks me "AREN'T YOU FUCKING COLD?!?!"
I always say no.
I'm perfectly OK.
Finally, above all, I just want to emphasize that again plenty of Latin Americans do wear shorts.
It's a bit of a misconception among some gringos simply because we don't see as many wearing shorts as we'd expect given the hot climate.
It is what it is.
Anyway, if you got anything to add, drop a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.