Vanity and Colombian Women

There’s something different about Colombian women. They take an unhealthy pride in their beauty.

Most beautiful women are vain. I almost married a gringa five years ago. This beautiful gringa had a gang of beautiful friends, and their favorite time of the night was picture-taking. They knew how to pose and smile. Then they’d all clamor to look at the pictures immediately afterwards. I knew each one was clamoring to look at herself.

Vanity is the excessive belief in one’s own abilities or attractiveness to others.

Latin women generally take picture-taking to a new level. Colombians are the worst, illustrated in their outsized model industry. The celebrity gossip scene is filled with models. Their beauty pageants make national news. The pageant winners are household names. They hold pageants in the prisons.

In America beauty pageants are something of a joke, and the women morons. In Colombia they’re glorified. Unfortunately, normal Colombian girls aspire to be models.

I have Facebook friends who have albums of themselves. Not just photos, albums. Each album may have 20 to 50 photos, and some have a dozen or so albums. Some create Facebook fan pages for themselves. Their albums feature photos of them sitting or standing in the exact same place. They’re holding their camera out, changing position or smile, and snapping off dozens and dozens of shots of themselves with slight tweaks to their eyes, smiles, etc.

I had my aha moment one night in Medellin with a paisa chick. Flirting, she asked me for my camera, saying she loves photos. She proceeded to take shots of herself. She changed angles, smiles, her eyes. She didn’t change them, she merely tweaked them, for dozens of shots. Dozens. By the time she gave the camera back, she had deleted all except her favorite.

There was another Colombian girl with whom I had a very brief affair. She was proud to be a part of a model agency. She was cute, but certainly no model. I almost wanted to tell her, “Honey, you’re great, but stop this model nonsense. You’ll never be a model.” She worked as a brand girl in Centromayor or whatever, selling laundry detergent.

I think the unhealthy obsession with beauty explains Colombia’s vast prostitution industry. Colombia exports prostitutes throughout the continent, and saturate their own cities. You often hear Colombians complain about sex tourism. I’d counter that something in the culture is driving supply.

UPDATE: Of course this is a cultural generalization and does not apply to all Colombian women. And I’m going to add a positive note. It’s not a virtue, but beauty is inarguably a positive quality. And while there are beautiful women everywhere, Colombia has more than most countries.

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