On the Portuguese forum at WordReference, user Kynnjo recently made the following statement (the bulk of which I posted just below) in regards to using the verb arrepiar (to get goosebumps or to be frightened) and how machismo might interfere.
“It’s getting to be carnaval time, and I’ve been listening to a lot of the new official 2010 enredos in YouTube… I’ve been struck by how often the comments from appreciative Brazilians include variations of “arrepiar” (=get goosebumps). It’s not that the notion is hyperbolic, not at all (I too get goosebumps sometimes listening to this music, especially when one of those armies of sambistas goes off a cappella). Rather, what surprises me is that, as far as I can tell, “arrepiar” is used not only by women, but often by men too. Is this impression accurate?
In US English, expressions like “it gave me goosebumps” is heard mostly from females. One may hear it from very young boys (say, 5 or younger), or from flamboyant gay men. But a “regular US guy” won’t readily admit to getting goosebumps outside of his therapist’s office, and least of all from listening to music; the US male culture regards it as unmanly.”
I would generally agree with the statement above.
The conversation continues and the subject changes to the use of diminutives in Portuguese and how it isn’t considered “manly” in Brazil to use them (outside of saying ‘cafezinho’ and the like). I found this to be quite true during my time in Brazil although in my experience it was mostly women who would tell me “men don’t say that” or “if you say that, other men will think you are gay”. Personally, I could care less if someone is gay or not as I believe in “to each his/her own”, do what makes you happy as long as you aren’t hurting others in the process. Anyways, I rather enjoy hearing women use diminutives although not all the time as that reminds me of ‘baby-talk’ (infantilization). As far as men using them, I just don’t have the ear for it, in order to notice that anything is wrong with using it, so it is very much ‘over my head’.
While on the subject of diminutives, a few years ago, just before wanting to tell a random beautiful woman she was “bonitinha”, I considered the fact that I hadn’t quite got my mind around the use of such a diminutive so I didn’t say anything at all. Later, I asked my Brazilian female friend and she told me never to say that because that particular way of saying someone is pretty is considered to render the opposite effect…meaning it would be like calling her “ugly” or in the least, “a little bit pretty”.
Might you have any other examples?