This is the second post in my series about dating Latinos and how it differs from dating North Americans.
To catch up, you can also read the complete articles here:
Dating Latinos It’s Different: PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (PDA)
I never thought of my upbringing as particularly prudish. I went to church occasionally of my own volition and my mother trusted me enough not to scrutinize my every move or limit my social interaction. However, I guess growing up as a Midwestern North American, I was bound to be a little prude in comparison to Latinos.
I moved to Argentina when I was 22 years old, so I had done more than hold hands with boys in public, but honestly, not much more. I always considered kissing and obsessive touching to be inappropriate in public. I would not let boyfriends kiss me for more than a few seconds and I would blush if their hand slipped into my back pocket while we walked. If they kissed my neck, I’d shove them off and scold them. Like I said, I never thought of myself as a prude. I just thought – who wants to look at that?
With Latinos, it’s different. They just aren’t as uptight about showing affection in public. It’s completely common and acceptable to kiss or even full on make out in public. The first time I visited Argentina, I was shocked to see teenagers lying under trees in public parks, just sucking face like there was no tomorrow. My host sister even allowed her boyfriend to place his hand on her butt in front of her mother. It blew my mind. Of course, just like in North America, teenagers take it further than adults do. But the point is, PDA just isn’t a big concern for most Latinos.
When I started dating in Argentina, the clashing mindset was a problem. The first time a guy kissed me on the street, I immediately looked around for any passers-by, as if mothers would just swoop down from the windows and reprimand me for being a harlot or something. After he repeatedly stopped our stroll to kiss me, I had to pull away and explain to him that I am American, and the fact that people could see us totally freaked me out.
That is when I learn the term “mojigato” which means “a prude.”
At first I was offended by the label, but I realized that in Latino standards, I most certainly was a prude. After dating Latinos a bit more, I became more and more comfortable with it. I allow kissing to last longer and arms to remain around my hips. However, I do draw the line at park benches being used for hot and heavy make-out sessions. That’s just for teenagers who don’t have their own apartments.
Maybe Latinos have the right idea, perhaps North Americans just need to loosen up and have some more fun. I know dating Latinos has helped me to care a bit less about who is looking at me. What are your thoughts?
Check out these other articles on Spanish.