My Foreign Flings: A Tale of Two Latin Men
What comes to mind when you imagine Latin men, sweeping you off your feet? A charming thick Spanish accent? Some passionate flirting?
Well I am here to confirm your delectable suspicions but to add a few caveats as well. I’ve returned from an almost six-month journey through Latin America and I have some stories to share and some advice to give my fellow adventure-minded travelers.
Traveling alone may have a few downsides, but I have come to love the independence and confidence that it offers. It forces you to go out and meet people and spend more time in the local culture since you have no partner to turn to for conversation or to accompany you on a tour. Sometimes this leads to making strong connections with those of the male variety. Hey, maybe you’ll have a fling or a full-fledged relationship, but as a solo female in a foreign country, it is so important to remember that safety comes first.
Yes, my cynical side must come out, because for every well-intentioned man you will meet, there will be at least two who could care less about your sparkling personality (though they may pretend to). Especially in Latin America, men seem to be more brazen about their, ahem, shall we say “desires.” This is certainly not a blanket statement applicable to all, but I faced it constantly in my own travels. So, how does one guard against those guys who are bad news? Well, I will now offer two of my own flings to illustrate a time when I was smart and another when I was foolish. (Let’s see if you can guess which is which!)
While living in Peru, I befriended the young Peruvian owner of a local cafe. He was a charmer and after a week of friendly chats, he invited me to come back to the cafe for dinner because he wanted to cook for me (after my teasing him that he could not cook). It was a good evening and he walked me back to where I was staying. My local friends knew him as very charismatic yet someone with a “sweet heart” as they put it. We saw more and more of each other and met up in the cafe and around town over the coming days.
In Ecuador, I was out at a club with friends when I was asked to dance by an Ecuadorean. He was quite forward but his salsa abilities made me overlook such tendencies. He asked for my number and I complied. He texted me a few days later and invited me to a club owned by his friend, but because it was on a Sunday, it was technically closed, so it would only be him and his friend. I went to said club, bringing some friends along, and once again he was almost aggressively forward.
So this was obvious, right? I had a month-long fling with the Peruvian guy and loved every minute of it. After a less-than-two-week fling with the Ecuadorean guy, who became more and more forward, especially on social media, I blocked him and never returned a call or saw him again. The big difference in how I acted in the fling with the Ecuadorean man versus the Peruvian man was this: I did not trust my instincts.
Wrapped up in that foreign excitement, I knowingly met up with the Ecuadorean guy even though I felt uncomfortable with him. There is no reason to go to a deserted, closed club with someone you just met. The fact that I only felt comfortable going if some of my friends would come (please don’t go to an isolated, unfamiliar spot alone after dark!) should have revealed a neon “bad intentions” sign.
On the other hand, I got to know the Peruvian man before we had our fling. He had a good reputation, we would meet up in public spots when we first met, and I felt good about it all.
If they feel right, I think foreign flings can really add to an adventure. With the Peruvian man, I was able to experience so much more of the culture: he showed me little villages I would never have gone to myself, and I learned far more about local customs by spending so much time with him and his family and friends.
I have no doubt that you have heard this advice before, but I want to emphasize it again here: trust your gut! The more I have traveled, the more I have come to appreciate the invaluable advice of using your female intuition. If feel at all uncomfortable by a man’s actions or a situation, then walk away. It’s always the right decision! But if you find that one foreign guy, maybe with a dashing Spanish accent, and pursue a fling with him while using that highly intelligent head that I know you possess, you may just find that there is a reason foreign flings are on so many bucket lists!