Brush Your Teeth
09.05.2012 - 22.05.2012
In the US in elementary school you learn to share. In early middle school, boys and girls get cooties, and in high school they teach you that if you kiss someone you get herpes. By the time you graduate you've fully been trained to maintain a certain distance from people, especially strangers. That's why in Latin America us gringos have the reputation for being cold. A handshake, maybe a slap on the back, and everything geared toward the individual.
In Argentina, argued one South American friend, culture and products focus on groups and sharing. In greetings, everyone gets a kiss on the cheek, even men greeting men. Tables in restaurants are at least for 4 people. The concept of a parilla, or Argentine steakhouse, is based on sharing. Appetizers, such as fried provolone or sausage, is for everyone, just like in the States. But even the main meal, like steaks and pork dishes, are also shared. Everyone gets their own plate, but you cut pieces off pieces. It's basically everyone eating off the same plate.
At the bar, you can order a liter of beer (in a bottle), just like in Mexico. But the interesting thing is that people share beer with anyone and everyone. You sit down and someone passes you a sip of their drink. Someone you've never mrt and that may have cooties. And when you get you're drink, you're expected to share as well. To share your cooties back. The most typical "sharing" moment in Argentina is with mate, the tea. People gather around a thermos of hot water and mate to chat and hang out. If you join a group of people, you won't wait long till someone passes the mate to you.
So, so much for cooties. Even the flu epidemic that tried to curb the sharing culture wasn't able to prevent Argentines from cozying up and sharing a steak and a beer. Just be sure to share yours, too.