It’s All About RIGHT Now!I

236289dd-e409-4493-bf3c-722f8190df5cThere’s a mindset down here in Costa Rica, and probably a lot of other “developing” countries that a lot of gringos find baffling. There is a certain disregard for the future that seems very common here, especially among the working girls. It manifests itself in quite a few different ways.

I’ll get into my theories about why this is the case, but let’s start by describing a couple of common situations that frustrate gringos. One thing that we find maddening and infuriating is the ease with which the chicas break promises. Not just chicas, of course, but since we deal with them more than we deal with local men, we’ll talk about the chicas. Is there even one guy among us who has ever made a date with a chica, and had her NOT show at all, not even call? I can’t even count the number of times it’s happened to me. We gringos think it’s common courtesy to call if you’re going to be more than a little late, let alone not show at all. And if for some really unusual reason you can’t call, you expect an apology at the first reasonable opportunity.

To be fair, I have had some girls who were quite conscientious about not hanging me up, but they are the minority, not the majority. There are some that will call if they can’t make it at all, often hours after the agreed upon time. But there are plenty who will flat out stand you up and then call you at some later date asking if you want company as if they had never stood you up. I have found that it seldom does much good to make a fuss. There are a few chicas who will promise to behave more considerately in the future and actually BE more considerate, but they are the exception. What you’re more likely to get is a promise that isn’t worth the air it took to say it.

6a40b043-74a2-4f06-8c91-423f226dba8dThis brings me to a trap far too many gringos fall into. I don’t know how many times I have listened to some monger complain that he gave some chica money with the understanding that she would repay him in “merchandise” (wink wink). And then she either doesn’t show to fulfill her end (pun intended) of the bargain or she needs/wants/asks for more money when she does show. It’s bad enough if a guy has prepaid for one “session” of “company,” but I know plenty of guys who have “loaned” girls substantial amounts of money under the (false) impression that they are going to be getting free sex in repayment. When the time comes to repay, the gringo is SHOCKED to find out that his girl has other things to do, such as stay home and watch TV or go work someplace to get some ready cash. I know a lot of guys take such a thing REALLY personally, but it’s really nothing personal, that is, nothing to do with YOU specifically. For most of these working girls, it’s all about RIGHT NOW! That money you gave them back when is gone, and chances are good they need more money NOW. They seem to be unaware or unconcerned with losing a potential steady customer. It seems incomprehensible to most North Americans, but it’s the mindset you run into over and over.

Another thing that seems foolish to most gringos is how chicas will often go out and blow (no pun intended) their money after a good payday or a good weekend. It’s hard for us to understand how somebody who has trouble paying the rent every month will go out and buy an expensive pair of boots, for example, instead of putting the money away for the next emergency. But most all of us are used to a steady income, whereas most of these girls never know when they’ll have extra cash again. The thinking seems to go something like “If I can’t treat myself when I have a little extra cash, when CAN I indulge?” In their defense, I know plenty of gringos who live paycheck to paycheck, and have nothing saved for the proverbial “rainy day.” The biggest difference is simply that their economic situation is a lot less stable than what most gringos consider normal.

970fe54e-dd79-40d6-9151-179baed61b4aAlthough it’s maddening, the best thing you can do is try not to get too upset or spend a lot of money or effort hoping to change any chica, let alone the whole culture. For what it’s worth, my theory is that the “now is all that matters” attitude comes from the large percentage of people here who live virtually hand to mouth. If the kids are hungry NOW, Maria will probably be inclined to try to find some neighbor to loan her a little rice and beans rather than head off downtown to spend the night (without pay) with the guy who loaned her some money ages (days?) ago. The kids are hungry NOW.

Short sighted? Yes. But as they are now so fond of saying, “it is what it is.”

 

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