Slang Word of the Day: Pitipoanca

Oh mercy, to understand Romanian mentality you’ve got to understand the custom of the pițipoancă (peetsy-poe-ankah) and the role she plays in society here.

The normally verbose DEX has a very short definition of the word as a tanara usuratica, which translates literally to a “young, frivolous woman” however the most accurate translation in English would be something along the lines of a “bimbo”.

Without getting too serious and academic here, there are largely two groups of young women (teens to young adult) in this country – ones who are raised to have a sober, conservative and long-term progression mapped out to achieve a career, financial independence and autonomy and ones who adopt an older economic model, using their feminine beauty and “wiles” to be given the finer things in life.

This latter group is the pitipoance (plural), also spelled in various ways across the internet including “pitzipoanca” and sometimes just “pitzi”. Your typical “pitzipoanca” is going to be wearing a lot of make-up, jewelry and other fashionable accessories, dressed as scantily/sexily as possible and portray herself in a way that gets her a lot of attention, especially from males.

In her personal life she will brag about the gifts she has received from men, especially admirers that she has no intention of reciprocating the attention. She will spend a great deal of time buying clothes and shopping and scoff at any mention of saving money and working hard to be able to provide these things for herself.

Because of this fundamental difference in philosophy, the women in each camp fundamentally loathe one another, although the hate is far sharper from those who are not pitipoance than from those who are. And if you search around on Romanian websites, you’ll see a tremendous amount of fixation on pitipoance.

Essentially the women who are not pitzipoance are the feminists in Romanian society, believing in egalitarian relationships and, in general, that women share equal status, ability and capability with men.

The pitzipoancele on the other hand, are more akin to a “throwback” to an older era, when “landing a man” to provide all the good things in life was the ultimate economic prize for any woman.

A true story from my own life:

Years ago I was in the main post office in Timisoara in a very long line (queue) that was moving very slowly. A very made-up, blonde, attractive young woman in a revealing dress (the pitzipoanca) came in, saw the line and decided to skip all the bothersome waiting and proceeded straight to the clerk’s window, essentially cutting ahead of all of the rest of us.

At first, the man who she cut in front of was accommodating but then some of the people in the very back of the line started yelling and becoming upset at the pitzi’s line jumping and then various members of the group started arguing back and forth, either “for” the pitzi’s actions or against them.

On this day, I guess the line was too long and the air too hot and stuffy and so the “anti” crowd ended up winning. The pitzi saw she had lost her case and so chose not to wait at all and left the post office without conducting her business. In another situation though, she would have been able to jump the line without even so much as a peep.

The truth, sad as it is and as difficult to accept for some of us, is that being a pitzipoanca, being a helpless bimbo who looks good and “struts her stuff” actually does pay off a lot of the time. And thus lies the source of all the resentment against her.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sirg says:

    You forgot to mention that the pitzi are always lacking taste in picking their clothes, and also have bad manners (like you depicted). Usually they are trying to be something they are not, like classy, rich, intelligent, funny, original etc, and the primary reason for failing at those is their lack of education (most come from poor families, slums or forgotten towns).


  2. Megan says:

    ahaaaaa very interesting! Is it an offensive term or not really? Like would people use it as a joke at times? Like calling someone a “blond”?


    1. Sam R. says:

      It’s usually meant to be a slur, exactly like calling someone you work with a “bimbo”.


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