Andar a lo Gringo

This weekend I got to meet the “suegs,” which is short for suegros, which means in-laws. Here in Chile it doesn’t matter if you’re married or pololeando (boyfriend/girlfriend) or (apparently, as in my case) just dating. The parents of your significant other are your suegros. I’m not sure if this is how it works in the US or not, but let me tell you, it’s a lot easier saying suegros than “my boyfriend’s parents.”

Anyway, if you talked to me any time on Friday or Saturday you would know that I was pretty nervous about this encounter. Chilean mothers can be somewhat possesive of their sons, and I was worried that his mother would resent me for that.

But anyway, the encounter went well, I think. On Sunday as we were eating lunch the topic of Peloton came up. I don’t have a television so I thought “crap, I can’t participate at all in this conversation,” but luckily, thanks to Kyle’s post, I knew there was a gringo on the Peloton. So I mentioned that. Then everyone said, “Yeah! You’re right! And he got naked in the shower!” And then the father said, “He was andando a lo gringo!” You see, here in Chile, the term for “commando” (i.e. wearing pants or a dress with no underwear) is andar a lo gringo, which would roughly translate to “going gringo-style”. The father laughed at his joke then checked to make sure I was laughing too, which of course I was. “Ahh, so you understand that one!” He exclaimed and I assured him that I did. Then he wondered if we called it the same thing in the U.S., which we don’t (although I could not for the life of me remember the term commando) and then speculated as to where the term came from. He asked, “Do you andar a lo gringo a lot in the U.S.?” I laughed and said I didn’t think so. We of course then speculated about the origin of the term.*

Then the father asked:

“Do people in the US know that we use this term in Chile?”

To which I replied, “No, probably not.”

So now, dear readers in the U.S., you know that andar a lo gringo means to skip on the panties/boxers/briefs when you’re getting dressed in the morning.

And yes, I talked about this with my suegros. I’m awesome.

*According to this site (which is written in Chilean, so some of you’ll have to take my word for it), the term andar a lo gringo came about when a poor man from the countryside, who had never seen a person from the city before, came across a gringo who was wearing cotton underwear. The poor huaso only used wool underwear, and he was so facinated that he and his friend stole the gringo’s underwear and for the rest of the time, the gringo had to go without.


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