Does the above expression refer to
a) a person who paints monkeys
b) a person who paints sloppily and with both hands and feet
c) a person who insists on being the center of attention
d) a person who likes to paint, and uses monkeys as the subject
C, my friends, C.
Today's bit of wonderment is brought to you by the uniquely Chilean expression "pintamonos."
These days there's not too much Chilean slang that comes my way that surprises me or leaves me scratching my head. I've been here for long enough and talked to enough people and paid close enough attention and am pretty good getting the idea from context, that well, I start to feel pretty cocky about the thing. In fact, every time I hear an expression that someone expects me not to understand that I get, I feel a secret tiny gram or two (much less than an ounce, certainly) of pride that by jove, I've got it.
The pintamonos in question is a personaje (character) in the cast of characters that are people that go to my gym. He's a bit excessive, from his shortie shorts (which no one wears) to his weight-flinging and high jumping and lopey body language. The guinda en la torta (gravy, if you will) was his use of a weighted vest during a combat aerobics class the other day. Chileans in general aren't too fond of stand-outers, which is why this monkey-painting expression exists to begin with. You could also say he's a florerito, or centro de mesa or that "se cree la muerte" (he thinks he's the sh!t).
The interesting thing about this guy, in addition to the fact that he's all muscles and spring in a place where we tend to slightly less superherolike, is that it shows once and again how much Chileans enjoy el chaqueteo, or the devaluing of someone who has achieved success or the prevention of said success. It's the whole "crabs in a bucket" thing you may know from English, about how people will try to impede another's escape from the mundane.
Though I can think of few things less mundane than trying to paint a monkey, and I do wonder if you paint them before or after you fry them (vete a freir monos (go fry up some monkeys) means basically, go to hell). Which is probably what the pintamonos would tell us all to do if badmouthing people in Chile wasn't mostly done in whispers and behind people's weight-vested backs.
We talk about slang all the time here. Blogueras, and others, link to your favorite slang post and we'll go group posty on this one, or write a new one and I'll link you up.