Hello Fat Girl!

Hola Gorda! Que dices Narizon? Oye Enano!

In Peru, if you are fat, you’ll be called Fatty. If you have a big nose, they’ll call you Narizon (Big Nose). And if you’re short, they’ll call you Midget. And it won’t be your enemies who will call you these names — it will be your lover, your best friend, your mother. In fact, being called Gordita (little fat girl) is a term of affection, even though any European or American girl would probably slap the person who said it.

When I first met one of my husband’s friends, I only knew him buy the name Gordis. He’s a big fat boy, who has been chubby since childhood, so no one ever calls him anything else. It took me years to find out his real name, and even today I struggle with what to call him. I just don’t remember. Is it Alberto Luis? Alberto Juan? Marco Luis? So I end up saying nothing. Too embarrassed to call him Gordis to his face.

Peru is definitely not the place for you if you’re easily insulted. You really have to have thick skin to live here. Let’s say you gain a couple of pounds. No one will hesitate to say “Hi Fat Girl, you’ve gained a lot of weight. What happened?” The same if you If you look sick, have a face full of zits, or have man boobs. You don’t have to wonder if people notice. Don’t worry. They will let you know.

But of course there some limits as to how far they will go. A guy in a wheelchair will not be called “Four Wheels”, a blind person will not be called “Darkness” and a person on his death bed will not be called “The Dead”. Funnily enough, the remarks are not meant to be hurtful, although they might seem exceptionally rude to us who grew up somewhere else.

And me? They call me Flaca (Skinny Girl). Until I gain weight, of course.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hellenymanahlqvist
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 14:45:15

    Hmmm, until reading this, I’ve been jealous of you living in Lima…Now it feels ok to be here in good old polite Sweden 🙂


  2. Rischmöller Real Estate
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 12:00:33

    Hilarious and so true! I love this: “You don’t have to wonder if people notice…They will let you know.”

    I agree with you that you do need to have thick skin to live here. I met an American couple who were living here for 6 months and due to a few reasons, returned back to the U.S. One of the problems was the woman (who was Asian heritage) was annoyed being called “China”. She was offended for a number of reasons, but also because she wasn’t Chinese! Her boyfriend and I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t an insult, and that even people who aren’t Asian but have smaller eyes, get called that. It’s a term of endearment. Granted, you couldn’t go back to the U.S. and start calling people “hey Asian, how are you?” But different country, different culture, different norms. Evidently, she wasn’t really ready to be open enough to accept this.


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