Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh, To Be Hot, Young & Chilean

SANTIAGO, Chile — It is just after 5 p.m. in what was once one of Latin America’s most sexually conservative countries, and the youth of Chile are bumping and grinding to a reggaetón beat. At the Bar Urbano disco, boys and girls ages 14 to 18 are stripping off their shirts, revealing bras, tattoos and nipple rings.

The place is a tangle of lips and tongues and hands, all groping and exploring. About 800 teenagers sway and bounce to lyrics imploring them to “Poncea! Poncea!”: make out with as many people as they can.

And make out they do — with stranger after stranger, vying for the honor of being known as the “ponceo,” the one who pairs up the most.
Whew! Now all kidding aside, Chile is a very conservative, very Catholic and up until now (and still only among teens) extremely repressed. A predictable dearth of sex education coupled with the aura immortality that comes with youth makes this a ticking time bomb. Yes, the majority of these kids appear to be only "making out" but seems only a matter of time before they take it further. Even if they do not, there's a slew of pretty nasty things you can catch from swapping spit with as many people as you possibly can including: mono, herpes, hep C, hep B and meningitis/septicaemia.

Read the whole cazuela from the NYT here.