Stereotyping is a great way to belittle other people and make yourself sound superior. It also benefits individuals who want to belong to an ethnic community or subculture, because it categorizes people into distinct boxes. Once you have picked your favourite box you can start offending others, which gives a false feeling of safety and proudness. Stereotyping also assists in judging others quicker, because you can measure certain people by the same standard. This reduces the amount of thinking that needs to be done when you meet new people. Stereotyping can also give you something to laugh about when you are desperate to be liked by others, or when you generally lack any sophisticated sense of humour. It also easily pushes someone’s buttons and encourages bullying. All in all, stereotyping is pretty awesome.  

Stereotypes are deep rooted in humans, and most people don’t think twice to accept them as facts. Women can’t navigate, men can’t multi-task, blond women are dumb, fat men are lazy, and hockey players are slutty. That science has disproven most stereotypes seems to have little effect on what people believe. Scientists also discovered that people subconsciously, and unwillingly, live up to their stereotype. For instance, black people score equally good in IQ tests unless racial stereotypes are thrown in the mix. They particularly perform less good when they know they’re competing with white people. Similarly, women perform worse at mathematic tests when the emphasis is put on their gender, and old people perform worse at memory tests when they are reminded of their age. This so-called ‘stereotype threat’ could explain why hockey players are indeed a bit slutty. 

Stereotypes are used in every aspect of our being, but mainly serve to ridicule other nationalities. Europeans especially love shitting on their neighbours. The French are arrogant snobs, Spanish are lazy machos, Germans are humourless workaholics, Brits are trashy tea-slurpers, Polish are vodka-fuelled plumbers, Belgians are dumb beer-brewers, and the Dutch are overly direct penny-pinchers. And they have an opinion about other countries no less: Russians are emotionless communists, Americans are obese patriots, Australians are sheep-shagging surfers, Mexicans are dope-smuggling immigrants, and the Chinese are rhino-horn snorting Kong-Fu fighting online gamers. But what about the Portuguese? They don’t háve a stereotype, and that must change immediately. 

I’m just gonna throw some ideas on the table. What is rather striking about the Portuguese is that they are slightly short. Most people stare me right in the belly button. But making fun about someone’s appearance is not our style, so height won’t make a good stereotype. Another noticeable trait of Portuguese people is that they’re somewhat impolite. A bit frightening actually. In fact, despite their small bodies they scare the living shit out of me, particularly the old people. They shove people aside in supermarkets, always try to skip cues, and will never, under no circumstance, move aside for you. And they will shout too, so don’t even consider standing in their way. 

Most foreigners who have lived in Portugal for years agree that the Portuguese aren’t the most friendliest of people. They often don’t have a single Portuguese friend, and spend their time with other expats only. I’ve also been told that no foreigner in the right mind would want to date a Portuguese woman. They are beautiful and look innocent, but it’s nothing but a deceptive trick to lure you into their conservative, tight-knitted family. Before you know it you will never have Sundays to yourself again. And leaving aside the many other family obligations, she will want to know where you are at all times. When in the early days all you wanted was to see her smile, now all you ask is for her to not be upset. These aren’t my words, but when I was listening to the story even Portuguese men nodded with a bittersweet smile. 

So now that we’ve established a stereotype for the Portuguese, mean as a bean, we should come up with situations where we could refer back to it. A “must be Portuguese” moment. Such an occasion could for instance present itself in the subway, when you are calmly waiting to exit at the next stop and someone elbows you aside to get there first. Or when somebody totally loses his marbles in the bakery because you are blocking the view of the pastries. Or when a waitress lets you know it’s time to pay the bill by throwing a pen at you. Or when you ask a stranger on the street for directions and end up back at home crying your eyes out. “Must be Portuguese.” 

And then, finally, we need a good joke about the Portuguese, which is custom for stereotypes. For instance: Why can’t you talk to Italian bus drivers? They need their hands. Why do Danish people never play hide and seek? Nobody wants to look for them. Why wasn’t Jesus born in Belgium? God couldn’t find three wise men. Why do Dutch people love Belgium-jokes so much? They are cheap. So now the Portuguese… let’s give it a shot: Why are Portuguese people good at converting Christians? They will scare the bejesus out of you. Why do Portuguese men always suffer from diarrhoea? Their wives scare the crap out of them. How do you call two Portuguese people walking on the street? A roadblock. 

I think we are definitely getting somewhere, but some refining still needs to be done. I’ve only been in Portugal for a short period of time after all. I'm sure that other people have scarier encounters and crueller jokes to bring to the table, so I'm open to discussion. Only if we join forces can we really establish a Portuguese stereotype, and only together can we spread the word. After we succeed, it will be up to Portuguese people to live up to the stereotype to the best of their ability. If they do a good job, they can finally join the European party of personally offensive mockery and demeaning cultural bullying. It truly is fun isn’t it.