Saturday, July 5, 2008


War is hell, and so is dating in Buenos Aires. So many of the guys here are totally hot (see Bruno, left, my favorite mistake from Christmas Day 2005), totally persistent and totally interested only in fast love. Sometimes they make me feel like a piece of meat with eyes. (The ¿Cuánto mide tu pene? thing doesn't help.) Just about everyone who meets me is shocked to find out that I am single. "¡Pero sos tan hermoso!" they say. Translation: But you're such a great catch. Maybe, maybe not. And then they try to lure me under the covers. Another day, another indecent proposal.

I was at a club recently, talking to a guy whom I found incredibly attractive. He practically begged me to go home with him. Exercising great caution (you can never be too careful), I politely declined and offered to go out on a date with him, and we'd see how things go. He became very upset and stormed out of the club. Needless to say, I didn't hear from him again. The episode left me pretty unruffled because I've heard and seen it all before. You're damned if you do (sleep with them because you'll never see them again) and damned if you don't (sleep with them because you'll never see them again). I know what you're thinking: What do you expect from someone whom you meet in a club? But trust me, you find guys like this everywhere.

When I first moved to Buenos Aires, I didn't mind the porteño one-track mind. The last thing I wanted to do was go on a date. Being that my Spanish at the time was non-existent, what would we talk about anyway? I was like a kid in a candy store, and I had a great time sampling all the goodies. But after a while, I started to sour on all the sweets, and playing the field got kind of old. Like prancing around a stage in an exposed midriff singing "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!," that sort of behavior doesn't age well. At 39, I'm looking for something a little bit deeper--and until I get it, I'll be going home solo. Because, as a wise woman once said (wait, a minute, it was Cher), "Sooner or later, we all sleep alone."

As frustrating as I was with sex and The City (New York, that is), people there live to go on dates. Guys in New York thrive on the thrill of the chase. They delight in the dance and the anticipation that leads up to jumping into the sack. Here they appreciate a good chase, too, but patience is not their strong suit. There is a word that they use to describe each other: "hysterico," as in hysterical. No, that doesn't mean they jump up and down and start shouting obscenities when they don't get their way (although they sometimes do). It refers to the manner in which they ardently pursue you, and once they get you or once you show a flicker of interest, drop you like a steaming hot potato. And it's not like the way guys in the U.S. sleep with you and never call you back. Here, post-coitus, they will see you in public and pretend they don't even know you. There is actually a certain element of hostility in the way they ignore you. I don't believe it's anything personal. I think it's a combination of extreme insecurity, poor social skills and over-the-top arrogance. The interesting twist: Unlike so many flawed people, Argentines know exactly how they are. Most of my friends from here who date men won't even bother with guys from their own country because they know that it would be an uphill climb likely leading to nowhere.

But not me. For all their faults, I love Argentine guys. I guess you could say that I love a good challenge--and a beautiful face. Or perhaps I'm just plain old nuts. My first foray into coupling with a porteño was a disaster. He was far from histerico, but he had his problems. We dated for about four months, and it ended when I found out that he had been lying to me about something huge the entire time. I can't remember exactly when I last saw him, but I do remember that we stood mere meters apart and treated each other like perfect strangers. It reminded me of the Fiona Apple song "Love Ridden" where she sings to an ex, "Only kisses on the cheek from now on, and in a little while, we'll only have to wave." We didn't even do that. A month or so later, I sent him an email and left him a voice mail apologizing for my role in how badly things had ended. I didn't expect him to respond, and he didn't disappoint. Owning their mistakes is not a strength of Argentines, who can be spectacularly self-involved. I guess that in the end, this guy wasn't that different from all the others.

Don't get me wrong. There are exceptions to the rule. Not all guys in BA are like this. Sometimes their aim is true. But as luck (or rather, bad luck) would have it, all of the good ones usually are already taken. Or you're just not that into them. On the plus side, datelessness leaves you with time for so many other things: working, reading, sleeping, exercising, writing in your blog. If I ever do go on another date (and I'm beginning to have my doubts), at least I'll be well-read and well-rested with the hardest body in BA.
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