Are you dating a Latino? You probably find the accent sexy, their sense of style appealing and the whole situation wildly exotic. It’s fun to try different foods, listen to new music and stumble across the dancefloor to a salsa beat. Learning about their political beliefs, family values and how they view your country is an eye-opener as well. Until they start attacking it.
I don’t want to burst your love bubble but if you’re dating a Latino, here’s at least 13 things you need to know:
1. You Will Hate The Things You Loved
OK, so this is true of most relationships. You might find it cute that he gets all insecure in front of your friends or speaks to his Mother every day. But trust me. These are the little things that will drive you to the edge of insanity later on. What kind of a mother still buys underwear for their 30-year-old son anyway?
2. You Will Dread Your Mother-in-Law
On that note. What kind of a mother has to be involved in every single decision about absolutely everything? From the color of your couch to the cut of your suit? And since when was being independent a bad thing? In what kind of a world was your ability to make empanadas more important than your ability to make dollars? And what do you mean she’s coming over again? Gaww!
3. You Will Celebrate Christmas at Night
If you’ve spent your life getting excited about waking up to presents under the tree on Christmas morning, forget it. Dating a Latino means having a Christmas feast around the table the night before. You will celebrate Christmas at night. You will hand out presents and chink glasses at midnight. And you will have to do it all over again on Christmas Day. Eating the leftovers with a hangover and feigning enthusiasm for Christmas when your relatives call.
4. You’ll Eat Dinner Really Late
When your parents come to visit, expect mutterings under their breath about how famished they are. When you’re dating a Latino, your whole sense of time is adjusted. It will feel normal to you to have dinner at 10 pm and to go out to a bar at midnight. But it won’t feel normal to anyone else.
5. You’ll Arrive Everywhere Late
I remember asking a tour guide in Guatemala once what time the bus arrived. And she spurted out a schedule based on GMT – “Guatemala Maybe Time”. Latinos have no sense of urgency and zero sense of punctuality, so forget trying to instil this in them. You’d have more luck dancing in clogs in a bog.
6. You’ll Take Your Kids to The Bar
You will. Believe me. And after a while it will seem normal. Latinos take their offspring absolutely everywhere. My parents left my sister and me in a hotel room in Thailand in the 80s while they went to watch a show. I’m not condoning that either, but just occasionally it would be nice to go out without sleepy children draped over the table or a baby crying in the corner.
7. You Will Understand the Meaning of Jealousy
No naming and shaming here. But once I was driving in a car with my Latin boyfriend. I looked out the window a couple of times to see if the traffic light had turned green yet. On the third look the car exploded with insults. I had no idea what was going on.
It turns out my boyfriend had been watching me “checking out” the 60+ year-old street sweeper on the sidewalk outside. Nothing against street sweepers or mature men, but it’s just not really my style. Irrational jealousy is the one of the things Latinos do best, so if you haven’t had your first fight for looking at someone else yet – then prepare yourself. You will.
8. You’ll Dress More Conservatively
See point 7. You’ll end up covering yourself up to avoid these outbursts. Or to keep your MIL happy. We’re not talking burkini here, but don’t even think of going topless on a beach in Europe… it’s just not worth the hassle.
9. You’ll Argue Over Misunderstandings
Whether you’re the one who has to speak in Spanish, or they talk in English, there will come a time when communication breaks down due to the language barrier. You’ll be tired and unable to find the right word when you need it. Or unwittingly say something with completely the wrong meaning. Don’t even think about using the language card. It won’t be accepted and you won’t take it as an excuse either. You’ll wish you were dating a translator instead.
10. You’ll Argue Over Cultural Differences
There will come a point where taking your kids to a bar, dining at midnight and celebrating Christmas on the 24th will get on your nerves. It will also profoundly irritate you that you arrive late everywhere at all times. That they forget your anniversary or Valentine’s Day, or you have to be present at every single family member’s birthday party. Even distant cousins and friends of distant cousins.
11. You Will Become Louder
Once you’ve got a few family gatherings under your belt and struggled to get your opinion across, one of two things will happen. You’ll either give up and sit muted in the corner (but that won’t go down well with the MIL) or you’ll get louder. So if your own family and friends ask you to pipe down when you’re having a conversation don’t be surprised. When you have to fight to be heard, you’ll naturally crank up the volume.
12. You’ll See The World Differently
Travel broadens the mind. Learning a language broadens the mind and finding out about new cultures broadens the mind. But nothing has the power to split your mind wide open and turn your universe upside down like dating a Latino. If you used to have right-wing views get ready to become a democrat. If you thought life was all about work, it’s time to think again. You’ll see the world through different eyes.
13. You Will Secretly Love Being Different
You’ll spend many a long hour teasing each other for watching the novela or being addicted to Jeopardy. And you’ll suffer moments when all you want to do is go back to being normal. Have a normal conversation with a normal person who understands why children should have a curfew. But, in spite of it all. You’ll secretly love being the one in the family with the El Salvadorian boyfriend. Being different is interesting. And dating a Latino is certainly that.