Expat Argentina

Argentina, Argentines and Anti-Yanqui Sentiment


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?