It seems that Spanish people are obsessed with a certain body part – they talk about it over dinner, they touch each others and moan if they don’t have one. The spanish word is culo, meaning bum, bottom, ass, rear end or however else you choose to call it.
It’s not a sexist thing, in fact the women are worse when it comes to taking about and touching other people’s bums. I am not exaggerating when I say that I hear the word culo every single day.
Once in the queue for the cinema my host Mum told me to look at the woman in front of us. At first I didn’t see anything strange about her, besides her zebra print playsuit; then she told me to look at her culo. Imagine a normal bum, but lifted way too high and pumped with something to make it look as hard as a rock and stick out. The zebra stripes helped to disguise it, but my host family’s hawk like eyes were drawn to look at her bum whilst the English au pair was looking at what else was on at the cinema.
The little boy I look after is 8 and he loves to eat. It seems a lot of his food goes to his bum so all summer I have been hearing people say (about him)
- “¿Has visto que culo tiene?” Have you seen the bum on him?
- “Pero, mira que culo tiene más bueno” But look, what bum better than his?
- “Ñam ñam ñam, mmmm que culo, madre mía.” Nyam nyam nyam, mmmm what bum, oh my.
Family members and friends of the family also just casually approach him and start squeezing his cheeks and it’s never an issue. There was also an incident last year when the kid’s auntie started squeezing my culo in the swimming pool as she thought I was him. That was definitely more awkward for me than for her.
The other week I met a girl who is 16/17, we were at the swimming pool and all of a sudden she stood up, turned around and said
Look! Look at my bum, I don’t have one, all I have is cellulite. I want my friend’s body, she’s so skinny and has the best bum. But she said that she wanted my body. I was like whatever, give me yours!
I didn’t know how to react, so I just stayed quiet while her Mum told her not to worry, that she is beautiful how she is. I’ve now passed my teenage years and I remember complaining with friends about the amount of barely visible black heads on our faces or how our stomachs weren’t flat and toned as the people on The O.C. Never did we twist our necks to compare bums. Also, she most definitely doesn’t have a trace of cellulite, she was over reacting.
The children also have a game called CaraCulo (Bum face) which is a boxing ring where you punch the other players’ faces to send their bum flying out of the ring. If you want to earn more lives, you punch your own bum. Can you imagine the outrage British parents would have if this game were to be released in the UK? Here is a Youtube commercial for the game so you can see it for yourselves.
Part of me is embarrassed when people start talking about culos and ask me to join in the conversation. I also wonder what they think and say about mine when I’ve left the room! At the end of the day I think it is funny when Spanish women talk about culos and I just giggle to myself, like the Minions in Despicable Me 2.
*I don’t think the Spanish are ridiculous, it was just the best word I could think of that had the word ‘culo’ inside of it.