This Bogotá stereotype No4: the Hijo Bon Bril, probably makes no sense whatsoever to many of you. But, let me assure you now that the Bon Bril certainly exists and is stronger and more prevalent than ever in Colombian society! In fact many of you will know of a Bon Bril.
This phenomenon is hardly unique to Colombia, but, perhaps due to financial restrictions, upbringing and the omnipotence of strong machista Colombian mothers, the syndrome is more marked here.
But what is it? The keep it brief, the Hijo Bon Bril is technically a young professional upwards of 30 years of age and still residing at home with his parents…with no desire nor drive to move out and experience independence. At home there’s unlimited Directv, a 50 inch television, a full fridge at all times and all bills paid. What’s not to love?
How did the name come about? You can read this thoroughly detailed piece in Semana Magazine from 2007 for a deeper investigation, but it’s basically a term that has been built around a very effective publicity campaign for a type of sponge which may or may not last longer than the competition and pitched with the catchphrase below.
“Si dura mucho, es Bon Bril”
So, when you are stuck behind a sidewalk-blocking group of four or more Oficinistas (Bogotá Stereotype No1) meandering their way aimlessly back to work after a long lunch at the nearby corrientazo, remember that male or female, someone in their midst will undoubtedly be a Bon Bril offspring. You can find people even nearing forty and still living at home, taking advantage that after a hellish commute on the Transmilenio their mamita will be there to heat up or even prepare a dinner for them and turn down their bed.
Of course it’s cultural and there are economic benefits to the practice of stubbornly remaining in the comfort of Hotel Mum and Dad, but I find myself questioning the effects placed on relationships. It makes me recall the Marriage Course that Alba and I were obliged to attend to be able to get hitched in the Catholic Church and that one of the first things the philosopher giving the course said: “Remember men in the audience, your future wife is marrying you and not their mother in law.” And yet, if you are a woman and you get involved with a Bon Bril you are in effect in direct competition with the suegra. In fact, I have heard of a case so extreme that when an Hijo Bon Bril informed his mother that he was planning on moving out to get married, the mother in question spent the entire afternoon weeping on her bed, face down. It could have been out of relief and happiness, but I doubt it.
Do you know of any extreme examples of the Hijo or Hija Bon Bril?