The phenomenon ‘Brichera’ explained

A ´brichera´ you’re saying? Does it bite or does it cost money? Some do, I have been informed. They can be blond, black, brown, fat, skinny, beautiful, young or old but many speak fluent English. They even teach you Spanish if you want to and sometimes there is even a free oral exam included. If you are having bad luck, or just have been thoughtless not wearing a condom, these bricheras might send you to the doctor years afterwards when you are already happily married with children. Speaking of which; some might even ruin a person’s marriage or force you to marry them. Are they that bad? Of course not, they are as nice as you want them to be and if you get the sack or run out of money someday, you can always become a ´brichero´ or ´brichera´ yourself. Living here for over four years, I was wondering what the Net had to say about Bricheras.

¨Brichera is Peruvian slang for a Peruvian woman who aims to meet gringos (foreigners) – men from North America or Europe. A woman who is simply attracted to foreign men is not necessarily a brichera. Brichera implies that the woman is seeking to climb the social ladder by creating a new life or somehow benefit financially in the short- or long-term from relationships with foreign men¨, according to Urbandictionary.com.

If I had to believe the TravelPeru book, published by Mobilereference:

¨There are two types of bricheras: the first type are women who are genuinely looking to meet in the hopes of dating or marriage or even a quick fling. The second type are women that search for foreign men with the implicit purpose of exchanging sex for small gifts or money. This second type of brichera is risky, especially for foreigners lacking local sensibilities, since it involves prostitution. These bricheras do not use contraception reliably and therefore pose a higher risk for transmitting STDs (Sexual Transmitted Diseases). If you decide to have a fling, make sure to use a condom! ¨

The most detailed description of a brichera is written by Thomas Carroll from lonewolfadventure.net. He states the following:

¨The word brichera is used in many Latin American countries to describe a woman who uses tourists for money, a visa to a Western country, or both. The male equivalent is brichero. I use the word brichera here because it is convenient; bricheras are not confined to Latin America, they are found all over the world. Most of the time women use brichera tactics on men, less common is a man who uses the tactics on women. The brichera tries to win the love of a tourist through deceitful ways. A typical brichera will compliment a tourist heavily. Many times she’ll tell him that she loves him even when she barely knows his name. It’s always easy to have sex with a brichera as she uses this for more leverage. She almost never wants just a one night stand, as she wants to maximize the return on her investment. She will do everything she can to get the tourist to have strong feelings for her, or to even fall in love. That way he’ll be more likely to buy her things, pay for her bills and send her money once he’s returned home.

Bricheras target tourists because in many countries it is assumed that all travelers and tourists are rich. Many think that tourists have money and want sex, while bricheras don’t have much money but can give sex.

Brichera work is a far cry from prostitution. In prostitution a guy pays for sex and that’s it. Bricheras don’t directly charge for sex (they do so in subtle ways) and they manipulate the feelings of the tourist. Most bricheras are not looking for a serious relationship as may be claimed. Many use sex, flattery, love and even pregnancy to squeeze as much money as they can out of their unlucky guys.

A brichera that’s good at her job will have boyfriends in several countries around the globe. She usually doesn’t need to worry about her boyfriends’ finding out about each other, as it is very rare that two boyfriends will be in her area at the same time. The tourist might be with the brichera for a few days or weeks before leaving, then she goes after another one. If an old boyfriend is in town, she’ll stay with him and not look for others to prey on during that time. A brichera will keep a list of boyfriends to contact whenever she wants money. Some boyfriends will even send her money on a regular basis.

The boyfriend is usually completely unaware that the girl he loves has a network of lovers around the globe who have all heard the same story about how she doesn’t have enough money to pay the bills, can’t pay the rent, or someone in her family is sick and she can’t afford to pay for the medical expenses. Even without these stories a boyfriend usually likes to spend money on his girl.

Typically a brichera will see a tourist at a disco (but it could happen anywhere). She’ll approach him and start a conversation. Then they’ll dance. If the guy doesn’t buy her drinks, she’ll go after another guy. If he does buy her drinks she’ll politely ask if he can buy her friends some drinks too. If he does, then he has passed the brichera’s “dumb ass” test and she’ll stay with him for the rest of the night (unless she finds a more promising prospect).

She’ll take him back to her apartment for sex. In the morning she’ll compliment her new “boyfriend” and maybe even tell him that she loves him. She asks for his phone number and email address. She tells him that she wants to continue seeing him. So they go out again and each time it ends in sex. When the brichera senses that the guy is developing feelings for her then she’ll really lay it on thick.

Once the tourist leaves, the brichera will continue to keep in touch with him. She’ll tell him how much she misses him and just can’t wait for him to come back. Then they can have more sex. If the relationship starts to get really strong (or the guy is desperate) then she’ll push him into getting married. That way it is usually easier for her to get a visa to a Western country, which is the dream of many people around the world for some misguided reasons.

Bricheros are not as common as their female counterparts, but they’re out there too. Bricheros usually don’t try to get the girl in the sack right away; instead they use subtler, more “romantic” tactics. It can be difficult to discern if a girl is a brichera or not. But if you look for the money, visa and easy sex signs it shouldn’t be too hard. Around the world the brichera enterprise is big business. Avoid it like the plague. Otherwise the person who ultimately gets screwed is you.¨

At the time of writing the article, the English version of Wikipedia did not uphold a written clarification about this phenomenon but linked to the following: Sanky-panky!

What da heck is Sanky-panky? Yup, I was wondering the same. ¨A sanky-panky, or sanky, is a male sex worker, found in the Caribbean in the Dominican Republic. A sanky-panky solicits on beaches and has clients of either sexes or only women. When with men, the sanky-panky assumes an active (a.k.a. top) role, but when with women, assumes the role of an ideal lover. While strictly speaking they are not prostitutes, since they do not directly negotiate money for sex, they are more likely to create a pseudo-relationship which can be continued when the guest returns home. They then attempt to ask for money to be sent to them primarily by wire transfer, often using elaborate stories such as ´sick relatives´. A sanky’s ultimate goal is to obtain a marriage visa to the tourist’s native country, marry the tourist and then leave for areas of the country with large populations of their country persons.

In Peru they are known as bricheros (which are male and usually target female tourists) and bricheras (who are females and target male tourists). They hang out in popular tourist destinations and may even involve themselves in business involving tourism in order to reach their prey. The word might come from the English word “breach” or its partially false cognate “brecha” as they reach through the breach made between themselves and these tourists in the process of establishing a parasite and host asymmetrical economic relationship between both. The curious thing with bricheros is that they succeed not in raw appeal but in the personalities they build.

Representing a mixture of the streetwise local and the knowledgeable savant on their native culture they appeal to the tourist’s interest in the exotic and their existence furthers terrible social gaps between both sides of the experience.¨

Can you find bricheras or bricheros in Huaraz? Of course you can, you might be translating this article to one at the moment. Doing some research about this subject made me read wonderful stories, though I came across many negative descriptions of bricheras. I guess you can make up your own mind.

I also found out that, according to mountainproject.com and submitted by Josh Cook in 2009, there is even a whole rock formation, which can be mounted, named after this phenomenon. ¨The formation ´La Brichera´ was named after the Peruvian girls who will do anything to get a white man. Likewise this massive chunk of rock that sits at nearly 5000 meters will pull you in but can have a trick or two up its sleeves to keep you coming back for more even though there might be a lot of suffering and pain involved. It is the highest and arguably best multi-pitch trad within an hour of Huaraz (driving time). There is still a ton of potential on Brichera for those willing to work at altitude. Only a small percentage of the plum lines have been picked.¨

¨A Peruvian girl who will do anything to get a white man¨. I´d have to confess that this is definitely the most awful and most ludicrous description I´ve found on the word brichera. As mentioned before, people can make up their own mind and decide who is a brichera or brichero or not. Well, for those who want to conquer a brichera but are a just tight or short on money, here you have been presented a cheaper option with more good news to follow: condoms not needed!

Update 21st of may 2014

The article above still  causes commotion among some people in Huaraz who believe they need to defend the behaviour of these so called bricheras. One of the people refering to the article earlier this year was tourism entrepreneur Zarela Zamora, owner of La Casa de Zarela. Her comment is readable in Spanish, so was the reply of The Huaraz Telegraph.

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