Manero

How to Date a Latina

By: Leo_72

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: an American friend asks you to introduce them to your Latina friends. But then, when you do, they fail miserably at trying to get through the initial barriers—never mind the physical ones.

So here are my six tips on romancing a Latina.

GEOGRAPHY. I wish I didn’t need to point this one out, but this is where most Americans start on the wrong foot. There is no need to know all the capitals of Latin America, but you should get on the Web, find where your date (or her family) is from and learn a couple essential facts about it.

COMPLIMENTS. If there’s one stereotype about Latino culture that rings true it is the one about expressing our feelings—especially when it comes to telling a woman what you like about her. Not that American females in general wouldn’t like the same—but double your efforts in this department. (Some of my female friends have confessed missing the way men check them out back home.) And yes, opening the door, carrying the heavy stuff and hailing the cab will also score you points.

POP CULTURE. Latinas have two sets of pop culture in them, the mainstream American one and that of their own country—from local rhythms and bands to subcontinental references like Mafalda, García Márquez, El Chavo del Ocho and Soda Stereo. You don’t need to know these things beforehand: just be interested in learning about her favorite stuff.

THE FAMILY. You’re probably going to face some Catholicism here—even if she may only be “culturally” Catholic. And this means strong family values and a probable inclination to guilt (which we Latino men exhibit, too). The point here: Latinas hate disappointing or offending those who raised her. Don’t try to change it. Just don’t. (And avoid complaining about your own mother, too.)

DANCING. You can perfectly skip the cliché of taking salsa lessons to date a Latina, but you won’t get very far in the courtship if you don’t make the effort of hitting the dance floor. If you fail at this, somebody else will dance with her, and she’ll soon be gone for good.

PRIVACY. Many Latinos come from cities where people feel like they all know each other, and trade gossip. So she may be hesitant to do anything out of the ordinary when people are watching. Respect that, and know when to offer a way out of the spotlight of a large group. She’ll thank you for that.

Leo_72 is a DJ and lives in Brooklyn. He can be found in dating sites under a slightly different nickname.