When Readers Attack! ‘We Wash our A$$ with Water’

Every once in a while I’ll get a comment from some haughty Latin that is just wonderful in being both uninformed and arrogant. The last time it happened I launched a new series, When Readers Attack!

Recently a poorly educated Argentine named Jorge left one on Expats > Regular Gringos.

The full comment:

First, de don’t watch soccer, we watch football (fútbol) it’s a game with a ball and they kick it with the feet, quite different from that “USA rugby”

Second: I don’t know where you’ve been, we flush the toilet paper, and the we wash our ass with water in the bidet, we don’t have that disgusting and dirty way of using only paper

We drink excellent beer, wine. I don’t recommend “local” whiskey.

This is the key: as far from USA you go in America, it gets better.

By the way, if somebody asks where are you from, just say the state, don’t say “I’m american” because we also are Americans


Now I’ll dissect.

First, we don’t watch soccer, we watch football (fútbol) it’s a game with a ball and they kick it with the feet, quite different from that “USA rugby”

Wow, amazing neither I nor my fellow American expats reading this had ever thought of that. Foot, kick, ball … football! How could we have missed it?

Given you’re Argentine and hence fairly ignorant of cultures outside your own, not to mention statistically unlikely to have ever been on a plane, in the United States we use the imperial system of measurement. A common unit for length is the “foot,” which measures 30 centimeters. The ball used in American football measures just shy of one foot. Hence, football.

You may also be ignorant to the origin of the word, “soccer.” It actually comes from England, and it was used to separate the men from the women, the former played Rugby Football and the latter played Association Football, which morphed into “rugger” and “soccer” respectively before “rugby” and “football.” The original “soccer” was exported to the States along with the sport, but it was always seen as something for women so we never adopted the new name because women didn’t play sports much in the 1800s.

So “soccer” is still the word in American English, and it is still considered a girls’ sport in the United States today. That’s why Team America dominates the women’s World Cup and Olympics.

But I understand your preference for British English given how easily the United Kingdom bitch-slapped Argentina in the Falkland Wars. It may be natural to admire their culture given how easily they dominated yours, kind of like how men who get turned out in prison come to enjoy it and, in time, even love the men who penetrate them.

All I can say is, imagine what would happen if Argentina ever goes to war with the United States. You’d be worshiping burgers and baseball, and calling it “soccer,” but fortunately you don’t have anything we want.

I’ll address your invented term (“USA rugby”) later. I see what you’re trying to do, and it’s almost clever in a Latin way, which is to say not clever at all but we would chuckle just to be polite.

Second: I don’t know where you’ve been, we flush the toilet paper, and the we wash our ass with water in the bidet, we don’t have that disgusting and dirty way of using only paper

To tell you the truth, before publishing Expats > Regular Gringos, I thought some Argentine was going to take issue with eating rice. I’m surprised it’s something else. I visited BA in 2009, and I can’t remember if we threw the shit paper in the trash. But an expat friend in Argentina confirmed to me that in the capital it’s mostly flushed, and in the provinces thrown in the trash.

But the bidet helps explain why Argentina, a country deserving the utmost respect for their accomplishments in real sports like basketball and boxing, is so wild for soccer. Almost half the population enjoy having their asses tickled!

We drink excellent beer, wine. I don’t recommend “local” whiskey.

I can’t resist protesting this absurd use of quotation marks. Argentina used to be a literary giant in Latin America … what happened? Borges would be rolling over in his grave. It’s not too late to go back to school, Jorge. On a positive note, you’ve done a better job using periods to end a sentence.

The joke about beer had nothing to do with Latin America, but everything to do with the absurd trend in Gringolandia away from beer and toward wine and spirits. It has been underway a long time, even when I worked in the beer industry from 2003 to 2005. But it was confined to girls. So it’s unsettling to hear dudes who would be classified as “meathead rednecks” proclaim they don’t drink beer anymore.

For expats in Latin America, that’s not something we can relate to. It’s like a dude telling you he doesn’t wear underwear. Or doesn’t eat meat in Argentina. Smile and nod, whatever man.

This is the key: as far from USA you go in America, it gets better.

While I enjoyed my only trip to the Southern Cone and hope to return, I will point out that Buenos Aires may have been considered the most advanced city in Latin America a very, very long time ago, but not anymore.

I’ve never been to Sao Paulo, which I imagine is nicer than Buenos Aires in development and first-world-ness, but last year I went to Mexico City. I was shocked, I felt like I wasn’t in Latin America. As as much as I enjoyed my visit to Buenos Aires, I never for a moment forgot that I was in Latin America. But in Mexico City I did!

Some areas in CDMX felt like Los Angeles or Houston. One day I was being driven around a neighborhood that was so posh I felt like I couldn’t even afford a coffee. You know that feeling you get when you don’t belong, like you need to get out, back to middle-class pastures? I had only felt like that in cities like New York and Los Angeles, but now I can add Mexico City to the list. And conveniently located in North America, no need to travel to the Southern Cone. Not that Palermo inspires that feeling anyway.

Argentina no longer enjoys the esteem of even 20 years ago. The scale of political and economic ignorance in Argentina beggars belief, a comedy of errors surpassed in foolishness only by Venezuela and Cuba — caribeños!

To believe Argentina had a higher GDP per capita than the United States 100 years ago, only to descend to being less than an emerging market today. According to leading index provider MSCI, Argentina is a “frontier market” along with the likes of Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Pakistan. By this measure, Argentina is lower in the pecking order than emerging markets Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

By the way, if somebody asks where are you from, just say the state, don’t say “I’m american” because we also are Americans

[Yawn] … Back to English class for Jorge.

In all of the English language, both sides of the pond so your being an Anglophile is no excuse, “American” is an adjective which describes people, places and things from the United States. We expats have all heard your complaint a million times, and my advice is to just stop.

Are you really trying to change a language you’re not a native speaker of? Consider your earlier attempt at a joke, “USA rugby.” I understand what you’re trying to say because I speak Spanish. But if you said that to your average American he’d look at you in utter confusion because it makes no sense.

If you’re trying to change a language, it has to make sense. If it doesn’t make sense in English, which it doesn’t … well, look up this saying: “pissing into the wind.”

I’ll give you an example. I demand that all of Latin America immediately desist from using the incorrect nomenclature for our cities and states. We don’t call your sovereign areas “Good Airs,” “River of January,” “Saint Dominic,” “The Savior” or “Rich Coast.” So you must stop using “Estados Unidos,” “Nueva York,” “San Luis,” “Misuri” and so on. You will respect our sovereignty and spell them in English, and pronounce them as “hiu-NAIT-ed stets,” “Nu York” and so on. And I better not hear that fuckin stuttering “e” before “states” (estates)!

Really though, I’m not demanding all that. Because that would be pissing into the wind.

I understand that the selection of “American” as our national adjective was unfortunate. But it’s like the word “Indian” to describe the indigenous Americans — clearly not a good choice of word, but it’s too late to change.

To address your idea of claiming our state, I’ll have to further broaden your limited horizons and frontier-market education of other cultures. You may be able to relate to this if you’re a porteño. I am from St. Louis, Missouri, a fairly normal city located in a fairly backwards state. Many people from the city would never say they’re “Missourians,” and they never go further into Missouri beyond St. Louis because it’s full of rednecks with guns wearing camouflage. So St. Louisans will always say they’re from St. Louis and never Missouri. You see that phenomenon in other cities and states.

And that’s not the only reason your idea would fail. We citizens of the first world are more mobile than you in the developing world (this may be changing). The city or state we are from has much less to do with our identity than country because many of us move, sometimes early and often, as opposed to Latin America where most people live and die their whole lives in the same city. Some gringos moved so many times they don’t have a hometown. So asking Americans to claim their state is like your idea of using “USA” as an adjective. It’s confusing and destined to fail (pissing into the wind!).

Finally, be honest. You never call yourself an “American.” Neither do the other Latin Americans who make this argument, except when complaining about Americans using the word. You have no intention of ever calling yourselves “Americans,” or anything from your culture “American.” You just don’t want us using the word. You’re being a whiny bitch. But that is part of being Argentine, isn’t it?


Chau, Jorge. But before I go, I want to dedicate a song to you. It’s an excellent metaphor for Argentina’s trajectory and where it stands in the world today. Enjoy!

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  1. Reader from Alabama, USA here.
    Stumbled across this blog and gave it a perusal.
    Not sure what the heck I just watched, or read for that matter.
    Very informative of the Latin temper tantrum.


  2. Hahaha.

    That’s so funny. To be honest, people here in Nicaragua know damn well that their country will be the last one that will ever flush the paper down the toilet. Just yesterday a group of Nica athletes were featured on the local news complaining about the payments they received for winning medals in the recently held Central American Games. Seems the govt checks bounced.

    But here in general Argentinians here are thought of as a bit proud with their noses stuck in the air. I met a few of them and they were always nice (usually doing some roadtrip north it seems…none of em ever spend much time here). Aunque ezyos hablan un poco raro.


  3. People in LATAM love shitting on all things American (I’ve spent five years in Bogota). But strangely that Che Guevara wannabe drivel disappears when it’s time to collect US aid money.
    Tell it, Post!


  4. Great response to Mr. Argentina. Having purchased 2 tiny fincas there after 2002 currency collapse and being one of those gun toting camo clad rednecks from the Missouri Ozarks I completely concur with your article. Clearly he has limited travel experience and an average IQ.


  5. Well said mate. Don’t know how many time times now I’ve wanted to drop a similar rant on some of these wankers but I can’t be arsed to give ’em my time.


  6. this is the whole reason i say estadounidense to latin people. i get tired of hearing about “we are americans too” and being treated like an uneducated douche. this happened alot when i first learned spanish. so, i learned. never say the word “american” to a spanish speaker. you bring up very good points here. they would never use the term “american” besides maybe “latin american”. and i never thought of it buy yeah they say “nueva york” but we still call that city “buenos aires” not “good airs” why is that? we cater to babies wayyy too much


  7. People from USA are called Americans because the county is named United States of America. Likewise, Mexicans, for Estados Unidos de Mexico. Colombias for Estados Unidos de Colombia, etc.


  8. People from USA are called Americans because the county is named United States of America. Likewise, Mexicans, for Estados Unidos de Mexico. Colombians for Estados Unidos de Colombia. For Argentinians, Republica de Argentina. The name of the people comes from the name of the county.


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