Sexual Slip Ups: Camisinha

Have you ever blurted out the wrong thing while on one of your trips? Did you want to express a certain idea and discovered that you utterly failed to completely convey that very idea? While on my quest to become fluent in French and Portuguese, in France and Brazil respectively, I realized first hand how embarrassing and almost mortifying it is to inappropriately try to communicate with different cultures for the first time.

Brazil: How to Ask for a condom

During my three-month stay in Rio de Janeiro, I realized I was not prepared to encounter the heat. Although Copacabana beach was merely a couple of blocks from where I was staying on Rua Santa Clara, I had not packed enough t-shirts in my luggage. Set out to revamp my wardrobe and stay as cool as possible during this heat wave, I ventured to the shopping centers closest to the Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos where I was studying. Immediately, I noticed how tiny the clothes in Brazil really are. Mind you, at a staggering 5 feet one and a half, I didn’t think that was a possibility. Since Spanish and Portuguese share many words in common, I figured I could use the Spanish term “camiseta”. This is a term used to refer to t-shirts. I stopped at nearly every store on the first and second floors but never saw one, all I really saw were the tight and skin grasping work out clothes that both men and women sported at the gym. Finally, I came across a store that carried everything from bikinis to shorts. Thinking I had reached the right place at the right time, I kindly asked the lady at the counter if she had a “camisinha” for me to buy. In Brazil the ending “inha” is used to describe something small. I thought to myself, “I am small and need to buy extra small clothes because I am not blessed with the wide hips that most Brazilian women have.”

I figured I could use a combination of Spanish and “inha” to get my message across. Boy, was I sadly mistaken. After spending 20 minutes trying to explain to the lady at the counter what I needed, she informed me that the store did not carry such things but should attempt to find what I was looking for at a nearby pharmacy.

I thought to myself, “A pharmacy store?”

She nodded and remarked, “There is one across the street.”

“Well, I might as well.”

I walked outside of the shopping center and walked to the nearest pharmacy store.

All I kept thinking was, “Why in the world, would a pharmacy have what I need?”

Needless to say, the young lady at the pharmacy counter said to me, “ I am so thankful that there are responsible young ladies your age taking matters into their own hands and taking care of themselves.” “What?” I thought to myself. Next thing I know, she placed four boxes of condoms in front of me.

“OMG WHaaaaaPFTL####!!!”.

“Camisinha”, otherwise known as a “camisa-de-vênus”  is a “little shirt” but not one that you can buy at a clothing store, rather one that can be bought at a pharmacy.

Before being labeled as a sexual fiend in Brazil, I was accidentally crowned a promiscuous individual in France. Check out more embarrassing stories in the Series, “Sexual Slip Ups”.

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