I had an Argentine girlfriend for a while. While she was disappointed that I was not a machista, she really liked the fact that I was an intellectual. She said I was “un hombre de letres,” or “a man of letters.” It is a really cool phrase to describe a writer, but it is seldom used anymore. It seemed that Argentine women liked intellectuals. I also knew a Peruvian woman and she was really jazzed that I was an intellectual too. She really respected an intellectual man, but then she was also a university student.
Whereas Mexicans seem to delight in ignorance and contempt of education, on the other hand, South Americans seem to really respect an intellectual man. I am guessing it is due to more Spanish influence down in Latin America.
I have always felt that South America had much more influence of Spain in their culture. A respect for intellectual men would be a byproduct of Spanish influence since intellectual men are highly respected in Spain.
I knew a woman from Colombia, and she and her associates had strong influence from Spain. She was a member of the upper class, and she spent about half her time in Spain! She had a very Castillian accent, but it was also very sexy and sounded sort of French or Catalan. But a lot of Colombian women have crazy sexy accents. I think it is a rather sensual culture.
She and her family and friends were extremely polite almost to the point of being a parody of politeness. Colombians seem like the nicest, most hyper-polite people on Earth. What I don’t get is how the nicest people on Earth spend so much of their time slaughtering each other.
They were all very much into intellectual culture and arty circles. Her brother was a well known artist, and she was his agent. She hated the FARC and other Colombian guerrillas, but she also implied that there were guerrilla sympathizers in the art circles in which she ran.
I also met a Peruvian upper class woman who also told me that she spent a lot of her time in Spain. It’s almost as if Spain is a 2nd home to a lot of these upper class South Americans.
On the contrary, I do not think the influence of Spain is great in Mexican culture today, but perhaps I am wrong. They seem to have washed a lot of that away in preference for some sort of genuine homegrown Mexican culture.