Series: City Scenes
Cities: Caracas, Buenos Aires and Medellín.
How far are those days when youth used to be a symbol of liberty, pride and willingness. Today it seems to have become a symbol of plastic glamour and artificial seduction. But the values, the common sense and the commitment to these days of dark sunsets in a nation going nowhere, just disappeared. And all this wave of ridiculous materialism and clichés, to our amazement, is highly supported by the wealthy families of Colombia.
As any other material trend, the phenomenon of gomelos, conchetos and sifrinas was imported by those so-called “misfit” students of Los Andes University in Bogotá. Where did it begin? In the luxurious and sophisticated sector of Las Mercedes in Caracas (Venezuela) as well as in the high-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires (Argentina). It all started as a kind of imitation of the lifestyles presented in famous American TV series of the 90s such as “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills 90210”, which are being produced again in 2010 with a brand new cast. It was funny to see those beautiful Venezuelan girls dressed exactly equal to any Beverly Hills movie star. They would drive around and around Las Mercedes in their sports cars and would wait for the exact moment when the businessmen of Chacao arrived in the discos, to get in there walking as if they were top-models. Their entire talk was focused on their trips to Miami and the French Riviera and the big amounts of expensive clothes their daddies would buy for them in the most expensive boutiques of Caracas. They were called “sifrinas” and the poor people of Venezuela started associating them with Irene Sáez, the ex-Miss Universe who was elected as the mayoress of Chacao, one of the municipalities of the Metropolitan area of Caracas. Later, this kind of cult to Mister Vain touched the boys too. No longer than a month later, they were imitated by the yuppies of Buenos Aires and Bogotá, where they were called “conchetos” and “gomelos”. At the beginning, you could only see them in the bars of Zona Rosa and the hallways of prestigious universities like Los Andes, Javeriana or El Rosario. Today, they are everywhere in the North of Bogotá, El Poblado, Unicentro and La Mota in Medellín, Jardín Plaza and Chipichape in Cali, El Paraíso in Barranquilla, Cabecera del Llano in Bucaramanga and El Laguito in Cartagena.
How can you identify them? Well, it’s very easy. They always talk as if they were chewing gum, they always wear clothes with famous brands, sometimes they ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles, sometimes they wear just blue jeans and a white T-shirt. They always carry a Blackberry cellular phone or drive a fancy car. They will always act as if the world turned around them. They will always go to the best pubs and discos in Medellín, no matter if they only have money to drink a couple of beers. They always study or dream of studying in universities like Eafit, Ces or Bolivariana and their opinions on different topics will highly depend on what their “daddies” think about those topics.
It is like a carnival you can’t miss any Friday night at places like Melodie B (near Parque Lleras), Babylon (Las Palmas Road) or Blue Rock (10th Street in El Poblado), where you will see the most beautiful sifrinas of Medellín acting as if they were the sisters or cousins of Paris Hilton, Valeria Mazza or Naomi Campbell. And it’s just then when you start thinking: is this our youth, so empty, so shallow? Or is it just a new society?
© 2010, Malcolm Peñaranda.