I bought Joe Bovino's Chicaspotting: A Field Guide To Latinas of the United States almost immediately after reading this headline from a profoundly triggered-by-words columnist at Vibe.com:
The one-star reviews from humourless SJWs only served to convince me further that this was a must-have title:
The author and I clearly share a common interest and, having done the majority of my chicaspotting in Latin America, I was interested to see how some of the traits of Latinas from various countries would translate to American soil.
I'm pleased to say that this short book not only confirmed some of my own observations, but also alerted me to many subtleties that I either failed to notice, or was unable to articulate.
I have broken down Chicaspotting: A Field Guide to Latinas in the United States by section, much like I've done for my review of James Maverick's The Sovereign Man. For each section, I provide one descriptive quote from Bovino (that is either helpful, perceptive and/or humorous), as well as some personal commentary based on my own experience with girls from these countries. I find that structuring reviews in this manner (although they tend to run a bit long) is a better way of relaying a book's value, while still not giving too much away.
But, enough foreplay.
Book Review: Chicaspotting: A Field Guide To Latinas of the United States by Joe Bovino
Taco Belle (Mexican American) – “A wide butt that’s flat at the top and round at the bottom.”
Useful Knowledge: Sarcasm doesn't work well; forget the bad boy game; sleeps with white guys sooner.
I find sarcasm more and more distasteful as I grow older, so this hasn’t been an issue for me. But he’s absolutely right – sarcasm doesn’t really translate for Mexican girls. Even if they have lived in the States for a long time, your witty attempts are more likely to cause confusion, or worse, be taken as an insult. Best to leave it at the door.
Bad boy game will not work on the kind of Taco Belles you're likely to be pursuing. Why? Because for them, bad boys are low class - nacos that will plummet their social value. There is really no Marlon Brando-esque Rebel Without A Cause romanticism for Mexican girls as there is with white women. This extends to negs (a game tactic to build sexual tension by mildly insulting your object of interest) - this won't increase appeal, they will just think you're being an asshole for no reason.
The first Mexican girlfriend I had slept with me within a week of meeting me. Her Mexican ex-boyfriend didn't get any for 2 months after they started dating. Countless examples of this. Can definitely attest to the 'sleeps with white guys sooner' claim.
Bumbshell (Brazilian American) – “Strong, sexy legs; a small waist; naturally small breasts…exceptionally upbeat, sociable and non-confrontational.”
Useful Knowledge: A kiss is just a kiss; the Bumbshell doesn't require much personal space to feel comfortable.
An extremely valuable piece of advice that Bovino offers for beautiful Brazilian Bumbshells is to not put too much emphasis on kissing. My biggest surprise upon going out in Rio de Janeiro was discovering that I could be making out with a girl 5 minutes after meeting her, only to return from a bathroom break to find her doing the same with another guy (yes, this did happen). Luckily I'm not the jealous type. Don't mistake this as a game to get your attention and don't take it too personally. Kissing is just taken less seriously here than in the USA or Canada.
Also, whereas in Mexico and Colombia, playing it more casual and less aggressive with women may reap you rewards (probably because you are already perceived as higher value as a foreigner (i.e. you are the prize, not them), this is not the case with Brazilian women. They are used to Brazilian guys being upfront and aggressive. If you're not, they will simple think you're not interested (or gay).
Euro-Mina (Argentine American) – “Almost always slender.”
Useful Knowledge: Enjoys dating games and plays hard to get, unlike other Latinas.
Nearly everyone that has any experience with Argentine girls knows that they aren't easy. Bovino's observations of "occasionally snobbish, condescending and dismissive to others" is spot-on (although vehemently denied by Argentines, often, ironically, in a snobbish and condescending fashion). However, it is worth keeping in mind that this is in comparison to other Latinas, who set a pretty high standard for warmness. Also, there is a major difference in attitude that occurs once you get to know an Argentine girl a bit better. Upon meeting them, they can seem cold and flippant. But if you manage to befriend one of these creatures you'll find that they are warm, caring and considerate people. This explains why people who live in Argentina generally come away with a better opinion of it than those who visit for a short time.
Perhaps for these reasons, American-style game works better on Argentines than on other Latinas. You can be a bit aloof with these ones and it may just work in your favour.
Symmetrical Force (Colombian American) – “Over-accessorizes with big belts, earrings and the whole nine yards.” Unafraid to wear white pants.”
Useful Knowledge: Bright and entrepreneurial but more likely to pursue a shortcut to success and the easiest way to get what she wants; materialistic; assumes you'll cheat and might beat you to the punch.
It seems that Colombian girls in Colombia and Colombian girls in the United States hold many of the same values and character traits. While in Colombia, I was impressed and terrified at the skill and ability with which the women where able to manipulate men and situations in their favour. The social intelligence of Colombian girls is higher than any in Latin America.
The materialism holds true as well. A Colombian girl that you are dating will often request that you take her shopping. It might not sound that outlandish, but no other girl in any Latin American country has asked me to do this. That being said, the positive thing about of materialistic women is that they are always dressed to the nines and looking fine.
One thing I disagree with Bovino on about Colombian girls is his assertion that they are ‘worldly.’ Personally, I found them anything but. However, it's worth noting that this may be a difference between the Colombians who stay in Colombia and those who have settled in the States. Also, I'm referring mostly to my time in Medellin, and people there have a reputation for thinking their city is the centre of the universe.
PS. I laughed out loud at "not afraid to wear white pants."
Ecuadorable (Ecuadorian American) –“Tends to be unusually skinny for a Latina.”
Useful Knowledge: Not easy to bed.
I was in Ecuador for less than a week, so I can't really offer much information for comparison here. But I was throwing up airballs the entire time with women, so I can agree with his statement that they 'aren't easy to bed.'
La Guitarra (Puerto Rican – South) –“Guitar-shaped body with a thick, shapely butt.”
Useful Knowledge: Feels pressure to remain a virgin. Mostly attracted to Latin guys.
Full disclosure: I don't know anything about Puerto Rican girls, so I'll have to trust Bovino on this one. I did, however, love his description of them having "Guitar-shaped" bodies.
Nuyorican (Puerto Rican – Northeast)- “An urban or ghetto-urban style due to extensive intermingling of Latin and black cultures in the region.”
Useful Knowledge: Promiscuous if single but extremely territorial in exclusive relationships.
See previous section.
Trifecta (Venezuelan American) – “Slightly taller than the Colombian American Symmetrical Force.”
Useful Knowledge: “Known to wait one to two months before closing the deal.”
I spent ten days in Venezuela, so I was interested in what Bovino had to say about Venezuelan girls in the United States. His observations regarding their beauty, stature and them not being particularly easy all rang true.
Transformer (Cuban American) – “Dresses to look sexy and draw attention to her best assets, even if she’s fat.”
Useful Knowledge: “Expects you to take the initiative because that’s what Cuban guys do.”
The expectation of the guy to take the initiative will not surprise you at all if you ever go to Cuba. I have never encountered a local population of dudes so vocal, forward and assertive in terms of female interaction. I think it's a good thing - seems more natural. That being said, if you don't play this kind of game with Cuban girls they will wonder what the fuck is wrong with you. Don't worry, they'll give you plenty of signs if they are interested, but if you don't act on these signs they'll move on at breakneck speed.
Perusian (Peruvian American) – “A relatively wide waist, a long butt, short legs and naturally small to medium-sized breasts.”
Useful Knowledge: Humble, traditional and conservative in many ways.
Having spent a few weeks in Peru, I can verify that Peruvian girls are "humble, traditional and conservative in many ways." But definitely not all ways. Something that doesn't seem to hold true between Peruvians in Peru and Peruvians in the United States is promiscuity. Peru, at least for a white guy, is one of the easiest places to get laid in Latin America. However, I think Bovino only gave Peruvian girls in the States a 6/10 for promiscuity. Be aware of this discrepancy when planning your next trip ;).
Cinnamon Swirl (Dominican American - Florida) – “A small waist followed by a large booty on a short to medium-sized frame.”
Useful Knowledge: Attracted mainly to tall, family oriented white guys (with blue eyes). Don’t refer to her as black if she doesn’t refer to herself that way.
Regrettably, I had very little time to explore the Dominican Republic. But it's true that tall white guys with blue eyes are desirable (I fit that profile and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of positive attention I received because of it. Blue or green eyes in particular are highly coveted).
Also keep in mind when talking to Dominican girls that Dominicans have a rather complicated relationship with race. Heed Bovino's advice and don't refer to a Dominican as black, even if it seems obvious to you. As a matter of fact, it is best to avoid the topic of race altogether if you can.
Beauty Call (Dominican American – Northeast) - “Café Mocha or Café Latte complexion.”
Useful Knowledge: Verbose and opinionated but often somewhat inarticulate. Relatively low-maintenance for a lively, hot-blooded Latina.
I can't speak to the difference between Dominicans from Florida and the Northeast, so again I'll have to trust Bovino on this one.
Pupusa (Salvadorian American) – “Inclined to prefer simple, casual clothing over fancy or flashy attire.”
Useful Knowledge: Guys become addicted and hooked for life. Sleep with her in moderation and start saving for your kids’ education.
I haven't been to El Salvador, but there is a guest post for San Salvador available on the blog. They generally seem to have a pretty outstanding reputation among Mexican guys, though. Based on what I've heard, I can see why guys "get hooked for life."
Hotemalan (Guatemalan American) – “Typically balloons to average to plus-sized as soon as she has a child.”
Useful Knowledge: Relatively quiet around strangers.
I only spent 4 days in Guatemala, but I found the above statement to be true. As you'll find on the blog, I wasn't impressed with the quality of women there.
1) The Artwork
The artwork was definitely the most impressive surprise of this all-around impressive book. Not only is it original and funny, it is also very high quality. For this reason, I suggest the hardcopy over the kindle version.
2) The Maps
Another great bonus for the chicaspotter is the inclusion of a map for each 'species' detailing in what parts of the United States you can find each type of girl.
3) The Rating System
Provides a helpful rating out of five for each species based on the following traits: Friendliness, Neuroticism, Nesting, Maintenance and Superficiality. Also provides a rating out of 10 for promiscuity.
Also, Bovino hilariously applies the same chicaspotting standards to himself at the end of the book, thus proving that he doesn't take any of this too seriously and neither should you.
I can say unabashedly that I enjoyed every page, heading and picture of this book. Bovino clearly has an ability for perception that goes far beyond your average chicaspotter. This is what makes the work exceptional. If you look past the humour and playfulness of the content, you'll see that this guy has some seriously impressive analytical abilities. If I possessed these kinds of observational skills, I'm sure my blog would be ten times as helpful and entertaining. But this only comes through experience. Bovino's got about 20 years on me and what I can only assume is dozens if not hundreds of more women, so I hope to someday get on his level.
However, I do wish the book was slightly longer. Even though other Latin American nationalities aren't as well-represented in the USA, I would love to see a version that includes countries like Panama, Nicaragua and Chile.
Now, a few words for the one star reviewers:
Bovino clearly states his reasons for writing this book in his introduction via a quote from Malcolm Gladwell: "Why is the fact that each of us comes from a culture with its own distinctive mix of strengths and weaknesses, tendencies and predispositions, so difficult to acknowledge? Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from..."
Culture is what defines us. How about we embrace our differences instead of pretending they don't exist? Not a single thing in this book was inherently offensive. In fact, Bovino's descriptions of the different Latinas of the United States were overwhelmingly positive. I just showed the book to a Colombian friend of mine here in Mexico and she loved it - thought it was absolutely hysterical.
So, in short, ya'll need to fucking relax.
The irony is that the author clearly has more of an interest, education and appreciation for Latin America and its culture than the majority of his haters. How many people would think to use the word pupusa in relation to a girl from El Salvador? How many people even know what the fuck a pupusa is? This obviously requires an advanced level of knowledge.
If you take this book for what it's meant to be - a lighthearted, humorous commentary on the differences between Latinas in the United States - you will be rewarded with an entertaining, clever, and insightful read. If you prefer to be miserable and offended, I'm sure you can find something in chicaspotting that will fit your sad and ever-expanding criteria.
My Latin Life Ranking: 4.5/5