If you've been to South America, especially as a woman, you'll know exactly what they are.
For those who have yet to have the piropo experience (and let me tell you, it's a treat), they're essentially a chat up line. Although Word Reference (without which I would not have graduated) deems a piropo to be a: "flirtatious remark", "amorous compliment" or "(pejorative) personal comment".
All you have to do is walk out and about on the street, preferably alone or with a girl friend, and it won't be long until you hear one may it be your typical "Hola [insert complimentary adjective of choice]" or something a lot more imaginative, creative, weird or maybe even down right vulgar.
They come as quite the shock to the system, especially if you're only used to the usual drunken "get your tits out love" on a Saturday night, as generally, South American men are a lot more open and forward than westerners.
Because we're cold and daren't express anything to do with feelings or just generally putting yourself out there.
On the whole, I have not had to endure any piropos that have been particularly rude, although who knows, it's quite likely I didn't understand so maybe I'll need to brush up on my dirty piropo vocabulary and I could do a Piropos: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. Take 2 post later on.
That said not all piropos were created evenly so along with the cheeky vlog I uploaded to Youtube (g'wan have a click) I decided to compile a list of the good, the bad and the ugly piropo chat up lines I've overheard.
Probably one of my favourite piropos all of time, happened this weekend and was actually the inspiration for the vlog/blog idea in the first place. I was casually returning from a run, looking spectacular as per (aka red-faced, sweaty, wearing a lovely baggy t shirt) and I was about to cross a road when a guy said,
"ah, llegó mi novia ¡hola!"
(Ah, my girlfriend's arrived, hello!)
He then pretended to link arms with me.
Credit where credit's due, it made a change from the usual piropo and it actually made me laugh, so keep up the ingenious creativity - you never know, one day it may work.
Like said before, I haven't particularly had any bad or horrible piropos, especially when I take into consideration my track record of attracting people who are bat-sh*t crazy (Paris, looking at you in particular). The only incident I can think of actually happened outside of South America, back in Brixton, when a middle-aged with questionable fashion sense and even more questionable pulling tactics asked me and my friends,
"Which one of you is the easiest?"
But I digress, this post is about South American piropos.
The bad piropos that come to mind are the ones when they will mutter under their breath loud enough for you to hear it, but quiet enough that you don't hear exactly what they're saying.
It's that Pandora's Box situation, when you want to know what they're saying, but you're fairly sure you won't like it.
Latin American men, if somehow you're reading this, for the love of God, if you're going to throw a few cheeky piropos, here, there and everywhere, avoid hissing at the object of your, albeit very short-term, affection at all costs.
Or making kissing noises.
Just don't even contemplate it.
Keep the sound effects to an absolute minimum and let your marvellous gift of the gab do the talking.
Have you come across piropos before on your travels? Any notable ones to share?