In Portuguese the word ‘ficar’ has two meanings. In some contexts ‘ficar’ can mean the verb ‘to stay,’ e.g.“Quanto tempo você vai ficar na Bahia?” Translation: “For how long are you going to stay in Bahia?” However, in some more complex situations (wink wink), ‘ficar’ can also be the verb ‘to hook up,’ or mean an extra friendly type of casual relationship.
The concept of ficar is interesting because it opens up the conversation of Brazilian romantic relationships in general (which I have discovered can be delightfully complicated!) Truthfully, I find the Canadian dating system to be a bit dull and limiting in terms of options. Typically, if you are a Canadian of my generation you will fall in one of two categories:
1) Chronically single or…
2) In a very serious long term relationship.
In Brazil there are six levels of romantic relationships:
1) Ficar - A one-time transaction that can vary between a dance floor make-out to a one night stand. The key phrase for this level is: ‘ONE Time!’ This distinction is very important and thus requires an example. Please repeat after me: “Uma vez eu fique com Gustavo.” Translation: ”One time I hooked up with Gustavo.”
2) Ficante - From ficar we move on to ficante, which is when you take your so-called ‘one time’ ficar and go back for seconds. (In this city, between the heat, the samba, the tight clothes, and the beach… something has got to give! Okay? So ne judge pas s’il vous plait, because acceptance is the road to understanding.)
3) Paquera - A frequent ficante who you realize (after the first few booty calls) is actually pretty cool and someone you gel with quite well. That is to say that this level is ‘booty with potential’… potential for what exactly has yet to be determined.
4) Namorado – This is your classic boyfriend/girlfriend label. The stage where holding hands, riding shot gun, watching movies with your family, and making things ‘official’ on facebook is the norm. (Awwwww!!)
5) Noivado - Now we start moving into serious territory with ‘noviazgo’, which is engagement. In Brazil they wear the engagement ring on their right hand and then switch the rings to their left hand when married.
6) Marido - If you see a ring on your left hand it means you have successfully climbed the hierarchy of Brazilian relationships! Parabéns! Now let’s cut the cake!
This post was written by Diana for Life Out of a Suitcase. You can read more about Diana’s experience in Salvador on her blog. Read more stories by 20 something woman expats and travelers at Life Out of a Suitcase.