If you were to accost your average chilena on the street and grab her purse, well, first of all you’d be likely to find yourself on your knees, your hands behind your head in a citizen’s arrest. Trust me, I’ve seen it. But barring that, or perhaps after that, if you were to dump out the purse on the ground, you’d be likely to find a spoon among her purse contents.
A spoon. Think about it. If you had a spoon in your bag, what would it be for? Some soup? Or perhaps a snack-sized yogurt? But hardly would ever bring soup from home for lunch, preferring to eat at a cheap comedor (luncheonette), and yogurt here is drunk, not eaten.
So what’s with the spoon? And why am I singling out women? Is it a self-defense tool? A top-secret window-shopping aid? No, my friends, I am here to tell you that the teaspoon, which is otherwise completely absent in Chilean life, not even appearing on tables to spoon delectable desserts into your mouth, where mysteriously a giant non-mouth-fitting tablespoon is preferred, this teaspoon is a beauty aid.
The teaspoon is to curl your eyelashes. You use the teaspoon, spoony side in towards your eye, and place the edge against your lashes, kinking them up so they arc back towards your face, and not towards your eyebrows. This makes chilenas’ eyes very llamativos (attention-grabbing), as does the judicious application of several layers of thickening and lengthening mascara.
Which explains why when on my recent flight back from the states I mentioned to my seatmate that one of the Chilean azafatas (flight attendants) goes to my gym and is often in my spinning class, and my seatmate asked “which one” and I said, “the one with the preternaturally long curly eyelashes,” her response was: Which one?