I love me a Latin anything – Mexican food, Peruvian corn, Pisco Sours, Flamenco, you name it. Never having stepped foot in South America (yet – I’m saving myself), I have successfully outsourced the culture via a number of crazy Latino friends, as well as the other national treasure that this part of the world to offer – los hombres.
Latin men have led to some of the more exciting adventures of my young life. There was the Argentinian singer I met next to the Beatrice Inn one night, who played me ballads on his guitar while whispering sweet nothings in my ear. There was the Brazilian boy who flew all the way to Paris to visit me after knowing me for merely a few days. Lastly, there was the suave Peruvian we appropriately nicknamed Juan Pablo, who, in his brief moment of courtship, treated me better than any other guy ever did.
Latin men are old school. They take care of you. They are romantic and passionate and zealous, with spark in their eyes and fire in their loins. They make you feel like a woman, and an attractive one at that. They are the closest one will get to a Jewish man without the Mamma’s Boy syndrome, or a Russian without the accompanying prejudices and closed-mindedness.
All in all, Latin men make you feel like hope still exists.
On a quest on some calienete lovin’ in the midst of a frigid, endless winter, I recently made my way to Seville, Spain,the rare place in Europe where men don’t treat you like Stan-Smith-comrades-slash-roommates. Here are some observations, from this trip and beyond. Much to my joy, each point in this article could be illustrated with a Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz photo.
(They Make You Feel Like) A Woman. My friend and I had barely stepped foot on the Seville soil when something beautiful happened – we got catcalled! A bunch of construction workers on the street happened to notice two women with breasts (me) and legs (her) and decided to express their appreciation. There we were, two New York expats, glowing in the bask of whistles and “buena” cheers from a bunch of construction workers. I may have attempted a curtsy. Yes, France has ruined me forever.
They take charge. What my so-called “1950’s housewife wannabe” alter ego loves the most about Latinos, is that they take care of you. They pick you up, they open the door, they deliver you home at the end of the night, making you feel like you can finally relax and forget about the timetable of the last Metro. The restaurant, the bill, the traffic – none of these are any longer your concern. On the flip side, you now have a new concern, as Latin men actually expect you to look like a woman. Hence, dressing for a date entails putting in somewhat of an effort, i.e. washing your hair and showing some skin. If you’re dead set on crew-neck sweaters, go for the French. They are happy with no cleavage and you can take the Metro together in your matching Stan Smiths.
They love the pursuit of the chase. In true womanizer fashion, Latin men love a challenge and will cross oceans to get with their dream niña. I’m talking love songs, serenades, cross-Atlantic flights – the whole shebang. However, don’t give in easily, otherwise their enthusiasm will wean and they will abandon the mission. The strategy that I found works best is the Kiss n’ Stop – you kiss them quickly to get their blood boiling and then bam – freeze tag – nothing! Torture them in this manner for extended periods of time for optimal results.
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They feel feelings.. And you can too. I attribute this to the telenovela culture, which teaches people from a young age that it’s perfectly fine to skip the ‘reasoning’ part of a conflict and throw a dish at your lover instead. Or stab them. Or both. The fabulous thing is that Latin men expect their women to reciprocate these Grand Emotions, enabling you to let the freak flag blow in the wind as you beat him up with a dishrag and follow up with zealous make-out sessions.
They have excellent family values. Latinos are warm people who will bring you into their home and introduce you to their families without making you feel like it’s a marriage proposal. In my brief time with Juan Pablo, I met his sister and he met my entire family at a wedding, which it would have taken a year to accomplish with a Frenchie or an American.
They cheat. This might be the downside of the whole tele-novella effect, but Latin men really do cheat on their women, which I have witnessed firsthand. The notorious Argentinian dinger was known to romance all of lower Bowery, Juan Pablo kissed me last summer while already having a girlfriend, and some of the other Latino “family men” I know are openly unfaithful to their significant others. Then again, French men cheat and have none of the aforementioned positives, so judge for yourself.
And now, here’s a brief country-to-country guide, as relayed by my Latin girlfriends…
Mexican – Most traditional and old-school of the bunch. Never let a woman pay, even if said woman is merely a friend. Attentive, cultured, well-mannered… Can I have one?
Colombian – Slow dancers and slow seducers. Take their sweet time to woo you with love songs and romantic gestures. Perhaps slightly less macho than the rest of them..
Argentinians – Don’t waste their time, see what they like and go for it. Persistent, occasionally almost bordering on pushy, similarly to Italians. Also, like Italians, they cheat.
Brazilians – Boisterous and crazy, yet so much fun. I have dated a few and am always amazed at the positivity of these guys – whatever they’re taking has to be imported to France. According to my friends, they can get slightly obsessive, so beware.
Spanish – The most Europeanized of Latinos, hence lacking some of the more old-school appeal. Great people overall. Plus, Javier is Spanish, so God Bless.