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Argentina, Argentines and Anti-Yanqui Sentiment

September 5, 2011

So I went to the gym this morning and was happy to be starting the week with a good workout. Standing in the doorway of the gym was a woman texting on her phone. So as I am squeezing by her she just happens to take a step at the exact same time and we run into each other. This happens right? No big deal right? WRONG!

The first thing I say is “Oo, Perdón” which is exactly the same as saying Oops, Sorry. I would have expected a “No hay problema” or “No te preocupes” or even a return apology.

Instead, the woman starts screaming at me! SCREAMING! Following me all the way into the gym with a culminating line of “De que país de mierda sos?”. At which point of course, I had to stop talking to her, because you can’t argue with insane people.

But how did we go from Oops sorry, in a VERY common *accident* to saying “What f*cking country are you from?” The only interpretation of this statement is a nationalist or racist one.

I would like to point out that I have been an athlete and been in gyms my whole life. Only when I got to Argentina did I start having arguments at the gym. This strikes me as odd but there is a pattern here.

A year or so ago, I had an argument with one of the trainers at this same gym (AiresUp in Las Canitas, btw) who was extremely territorial. With nobody using the incline bench, I started to rearrange the weights so I could use it. I pick up a 10kg plate that is *hanging on the rack* and I put it on the bar. 10 seconds later I get a tap on the shoulder from one of the trainers saying “hey we were using that.” This is “funny” for two reasons:

1. The weight was racked and therefore by definition not in use.

2. There are another 15 10kg plates just like this one! In fact, there are 15 of them specifically so that there is enough for everyone!

My response: “Oh I didn’t know… (and then gesturing to another one close by), but there is another one you can use”.

His response: “No, estamos usando ese.”

Then I am thinking, wtf? You are being belligerent for no reason! I then pointed out that they weren’t using it when I saw it and then I again pointed to no less than 3 other plates that they could have used.

He then escalates: “No! You STOLE our weight!”. WTF??

Then, I lost my cool and screamed at him because he was such an idiot. I pointed out repeatedly that there were so many ways to have avoided this, but that he chose not to. I pointed this out to the management as well.

In this argument, the word Yanqui was used many times as well as “grandote”. Phrases like “that big Yanqui just thinks he can have everything.” Or “With all that size the Yanqui just thinks he owns the place. ”

Why is it, that in 30 plus years of going to the gym and NEVER, not once, having an argument with another member/patron, do I now, in Argentina have a problem (not to this level… these are the two worst) at the gym.

I can only see two possibilities (as I have not changed since being in the USA, nor have my workout habits).

1. Argentines are threatened by large people / like to pick fights with large people.

2. Argentines hate / are jealous of / like to pick fights with Yanquis.

What do you think?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    September 8, 2011 10:49 pm

    Well Duh! When the woman asked “De que país de mierda sos?”, you should have replied – Argentina!

    • danielkarlin permalink*
      September 8, 2011 11:03 pm

      Nice one John! Thanks for the comment!

  2. October 5, 2011 7:22 pm

    Seriously I think it’s not fair to say that Argentines are anti-Yanqui. Especially compared to other countries in the world. Most Argentines I meet don’t blame the countries problems on anybody other than Argentina.

    As far as large people I don’t know. I am 6’1″ and weigh about 200 pounds, so I am not huge but bigger than the average Argentine. Nobody ever starts trouble with me and I have never been robbed here in 8 years.

    And as far as the gym, there always seems to be somebody like that in a gym. Have you ever been to a gym like that on the East Coast of the US? Half the meatheads are like that!

    • October 6, 2011 5:12 pm

      Thanks for the comment Rodrick! I just want to clarify a nuance of meaning… I did not anywhere say direclty that Argentines are anti-Yanqui…. I ask that as a question and state it as a hypothesis. And I totally agree on the meathead analysis!

  3. Martin permalink
    March 20, 2012 3:56 pm

    I’m argentine, I think you just had bad luck, many morons in the same place.

  4. Joseppi permalink
    April 29, 2012 12:45 am

    Daniel, I know exactly what you are talking about. At the gym I belong to I am the only American there and I rarely have problems. Most of the problems I have are when an Argentine is resting for 5 min between sets on a piece of equipment I would like to use. However, I do deal with this attitude in every other aspect of my life here. I don’t think it has anything to do with your size, but being a yank definitely doesn’t help you in the matter. This country, despite all its human rights talk, is fundamentally racist. Any Argentinian that says different is kidding himself. I have a bunch of Argentine friends and I hear them badmouth Bolivians calling them “una plaga” and saying they are “moonfaces.” Its disgraceful. Its not the Bolivians’ fault they migrate here (legally) to find a better life. Anyways, I digress. My point is what you have experienced is the typical attitude here in Capital Federal and being an extranjero only makes it worse. They don’t even treat each other with respect. They love to talk but never do anything. Here is how to deal with them: If it is a guy and he is in your face about something just say this “y que? Que vas a hacer?” That usually shuts them up, if it doesn’t they will get even louder and keep talking. Then you just say, “Deja de hablar y ya hace algo.” If that doesn’t shut them up, just say “lo que pensaba… un cagon.” At that point they are obligated to do something or admit they are full of air. If they attack you, they it is their fault and you have a right to defend yourself. Sidenote: If it is a rugbier or gaucho, do not say that to them because they will fight you. However, you shouldn’t be in that situation if it is a rugbier or a gaucho as they have different attitudes. If it is a female you obviously can’t escalate it to physical violence so you have to take a different attitude. Just act like it is so cute that they are mad. Like a parent to a child. Say “Sabes que sos re-hermosa cuando te enojas.” Works every time! No matter guy or girl, don’t let what they say to you get you emotional. If you get emotional then they have won. Just keep a smug American smile on your face and watch them squirm as they try to get to you.

    • May 1, 2012 5:13 pm

      Thanks for the comment Joseppi! I loved the psychoanalysis of different types of Argentines!

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