Romance in Chile

Published: November 26th 2014
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It's challenging trying to wade through romantic advances as a foreigner. For some reason I've been meeting a lot of guys here and I can't quite put my finger on why. I really don't get this much action back at home. To not put people on blast, my friends and I decided to name them. There's Pheromone Guy, Persistent Guy, Old-man Guy? I'm not going to touch on that one! Sleeping Beauty Guy, Brazilian Guy, Horseback Guide Guy, and then one Guy who shall remain doubly nameless. Brittney has been joking and calling me the South American man magnet. Yes, Chilean men are fascinated by black women. It's rare that they see one. But at this point, I don't know if I can even blame it on that. I was black last time too! But this time there has been a noticeable increase in the number of men who have wanted my attentions. However, it is a challenge knowing how to interpret their actions. Half the time I don't know if something is common South American behavior or if a guy is actually being overly forward. Surprisingly, even after being in this culture for so long, I still don't know what
is romantically normal and what is not. Don't get me wrong. I'm not getting taken advantage of. Oh no. I simply don't know how I should perceive things at times.

I met this guy my first week here. Pheromone Guy. I call him that because I met him and I felt like I literally lost my mind. Temporary insanity at its finest. He approached me and said that I looked joyful and that he liked black women. What can I say? I am a generally cheerful, up-beat kind of person. But I never meet guys at night clubs. I don't believe in doing that. However, this guy was so attractive I had to break my OWN rule! This time...I had to make an exception. There was something about his face, his scent, his smoothness that made me lose every semblance of wisdom I thought I possessed. There was something about him that made me throw reason out the window and I agreed to see him again. And I don't regret it for a second.

When I was talking to him over Skype in the kitchen, my host parents and Isaac came in. We were making plans for me to meet up with him on his lunch break from work. After jotting down the meeting place and information, he bid me farewell with "Chao mi amor, mi vida" which literally means "goodbye my love, my life". I thought it was a bit overkill for someone I've known less than a month. However, I just chalked it up to normal Latin expressiveness. But apparently his farewell was anything BUT normal, as my host parents gagged on their breakfast and quickly exited the kitchen, and Isaac sat at the table starring at me incredulously. I obviously know I'm not the "love of his life" after 3 weeks. I'm not that dense. I did think that it was "culturally normal" though, that he would talk to me as such. Apparently not! Him calling me "cielito", "vida bella","amorcito", and a bunch of other sweet-nothings, so quickly is unusual by Chilean standards too.

Another example of something I began to think was culturally normal that actually is not, are the guys trying to kiss me at the discoteca. I was talking to Tía Maria, the lady from the church who helps out around the house and we compared notes. She's a fire cracker.
She's 60, she looks good, she dresses awesome, and she loves to dance. I told her about Persistent Guy, who I met when I went out with Picha. He was tall and good looking. Not as hot as Pheromone Guy, it's hard to beat that. But Persistent Guy was also a fantastic dancer, attractive, and fun to talk to. But like a few other Chilean men I've met in discotecas, he kept trying to kiss me! I played his game. I turned my head I don't know how many times and he comically kept trying. After that night, he continued to talk to me. No matter how blunt I was with him he kept coming back. Tía Maria schooled me. She said, let them take you out but don't let them kiss you. She said she doesn't know what has gotten into these men these days but even the older ones her age have gotten fresco, fresh. According to her, it's not Chilean culture. Those men know they are being inappropriate. She said, "Con los frescos hay que saber como manejarlos." Haha I love her! And do I dare mention Sleeping Beauty Guy? The guy who snuck a kiss while
I was on my way to San Pedro. Who kisses someone on a travel bus while they are sleeping? Who does that?? !Que atrevido!

Maybe all of this man mania is because my Spanish is better. Isaac told me that my Spanish has improved a ton since I was here last. According to him, besides a couple of words that I pronounce, you can't tell that I'm not a native speaker. Maybe it's that? Out of all the guys, only 2 of them speak English. Two and a half? One of them kind of speaks English. Pheromone Guy doesn't speak ANY English. But he really doesn't need to. : ) Besides inevitable moments of confusion from dating someone of a different culture, a girl could definitely get used to this.

It's my last day here in Chile, and I'm not ready to go back to the United States. I'm not ready to say goodbye to my host family again. And I'm definitely not ready to say goodbye to Pheromone Guy. He's meeting me and my friends at the bus station to see me before I leave. Why is this so hard!! I need to go pack before we
miss our plane but I really don't want to leave! *Sigh*...

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