Dressing Up for the Soccer Game

In Paraguay you dress up to go to the community soccer game. It doesn’t matter that it’s hot, that there may or may not be shade, and that the players themselves will be covered in dirt and dripping with sweat.

You dress up because everyone is going to be there. Because, there will be people you want to impress—whether that means you’re looking for a significant other or know you’re going to run into a community leader.

Young women and young men gather in gendered groups and strut around.

You will see a lot of pink, on men and women, and other saturated tropical colors. You will see girls with bright pink and blue eye shadow, dark eyeliner, and lashes heavy with mascara. You’ll see rhinestone-encrusted hairpieces, scrubbed-clean-like-new sneakers, and lacy shirts. Everyone wears his or her best pair of jeans. Men wear crisply ironed t-shirts and polos. Women wear cleanly pressed tank tops. Everyone has Jesus, angel, or virgin necklaces. Even little girls break out their rings.

Just because it’s a social scene doesn’t mean soccer is secondary. The parading happens before and after the game and during halftime. When the players are playing all eyes are on the field. People scream, swear, squeal, sing, pound drums, set off fireworks, and jump to express their opinion of the game’s progress.