Monday, April 4, 2011

You only tell me you love me when you're drunk

I stole the title of this post from Pet Shop Boys. I've never been too crazy about the song (which appears on the duo's 1999 album Nightlife), but don't those words just work?

Sometimes, dear readers, liquor and language don't mix, particularly when that other L word is involved. Forget drunk dialing (that's so pre-2006). These days, you've got to be careful what you type -- into your iPhone, onto someone's Facebook wall -- or tweet when you've had one too many.

I should know. I've said it all. I've written it all. I've heard it all. I've read it all. In Argentina, guys will say pretty much anything when booze blurs their thoughts. I've heard "I love you" come out of their mouths between the first "hola" and the one-night stand. The first time I was shocked out of my trousers. By the time I left Buenos Aires, I was regularly dismissing it as a really lame form of foreplay.

Thankfully, Australians are more reserved. There's no "hermoso," "bonito" and "mi amor" in place of your name. They're all "mate" and "buddy" and "man." Around here, it seems, nobody says, "I love you." They're too busy playing it too cool. Though it's totally forced (they call it being "laid back," but I can smell a game a mile away), it's kind of nice not to have to kiss everyone you meet on the cheek.

Of course, you can take a guy out of Argentina, but you can't take the Argentine out of the guy. At least not in one month. The other night, after a few too many shots of tequila with Pure Blonde beer chasers, I started feeling a little sentimental. It's not a good look on me when I'm sober, and it's an even worse fit when tequila is clouding my judgement.

I pulled out my phone and started to write a message to the guy I've been seeing since I arrived in Melbourne a month ago. (We met when I was in town last October and immediately clicked). My friend Ashley (that's a guy, by the way -- the names around here are so cool) was cheering me on. Do it. DO IT!

 "Te quiero," I typed, caught up in the rapture of the moment and figuring I had nothing to lose. He wouldn't understand what I was talking about (Aussies make fun of Americans for a lot of things, but they're even less likely to know a second language), and does a word in Spanish even count in Australia? Back in BA, I didn't exactly take saying "te quiero" lightly, but I could have. I'm not actually in love until I say it in my native tongue, and in four and a half years, that only happened twice.

Sure enough, when he responded, he didn't know what I was talking about, and I wasn't about to tell him. "Look it up," I replied, certain in my tipsy haze that he'd do no such thing, though I probably should have dropped the subject. Knowing him, he went straight to the Spanish-to-English translator. Even if he did, I rationalized, did it even matter? The roles had been reversed exactly one week earlier, and he'd done it in English!

He came over later, and I'm sure things were said that would make me blush in the light of day. The next morning, I promptly deleted all of my sent messages without reading them because who knows what I texted when my buzz got out of hand, and ignorance is bliss. Thank God, he was too much of a gentleman to bring up any of it, which, of course, sort of made me mean what I'd written even more.

But, naturally, only in Spanish.

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