Get Used To Guys Hitting On Your Girlfriend.
Some random discoteca in San Salavdor, El Salvador.
“Oye, yo pensé que era tu chica?”. (Hey, I thought she was your girl) Mi amigo turned to me and asked.
“Yeah, I thought so too.” I replied just as I downed another warm shot of whiskey.
At the time, my “chica” was dancing with some random Salavadorian dude. He had invited her to dance bachata because I could not. She wanted to dance. Not a big deal, I thought. One dance never hurt anybody.
Quite the contrary, what started out as a classic Latin dance of bachata morphed into a booty grinding session of reggaeton. Mr. Salavador’s hands, which started kindly up around her upper back, slowly crept downwards towards her gyrating hips. The dirtier they danced, the stronger my drinks became. I went from nursing the occasional national beer to pounding straight shots of room temperature whiskey.
After the near fornication on the dance floor, my date re-joined me at the bar. She sensed my disgruntled demeanor and asked, “Ebans, mi amor que te pasa???“. (Evan, what’s wrong baby). Witnessing my chica booty grinding with Mr. Salavdor had made me a bit jealous. The Whisky shots had made me a bit dramatic. So, I told her, “Ohhh don’t even start with that “mi amor” crap.” as I was getting ready to leave.
That night in San Salavdor I was 22 years old. I had been traveling through Latin America for 2 months on a 12 month trip. It was first time that I had noticed that Latino guys always seemed to hit on my girlfriend. It didn’t matter if it was a semi-serious relationship or chatting up a new girl, some random dude would inevitably hit on her.
At first, I found guys continuously hitting on my girlfriends baffling. To me, it was a clear violation of Guy Code. Guy Code (I thought) states that if you demonstrate the girl is with you it was sufficient to ward off other guys (i.e; arriving at an event together, excessive flirting, etc). I quickly discovered that in most parts of Latin America this was not the case. Guy Code had a much looser interpretation.
To illustrate my point, here are a couple brief examples of guys hitting on my (or a friend’s) lady of interest during my year traveling in Latin America and my subsequent time living in Panama:
Surfing lessons in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. A voluptuous ex-college girlfriend had flown down to meet me while I was traveling in Nicaragua. We had decided to take surfing lessons. Let just say her lesson was much more “hands on” than mine.
Hiking in Peru. A Latina girl and I had decided to do a hiking trip together while I was backpacking in Peru. The guide had been kind enough to offer her a helping hand in the difficult terrain. Yet, the helping hand quickly became the permanent hand. He insisted that they hold hands throughout the entire hike, even the flat parts.
Barging into the bathroom. My American friend brought his Colombian girlfriend to a house party. Within minutes of leaving her side, an Argentinean guy had sat himself next to her on the couch. After a short conversation, she briefly excused herself to the bathroom. As she entered the bathroom, the Argentinean guy tried to slip himself into the bathroom with her.
Bohemian Bar in PTY. A Panamanian girlfriend and I had been partying with some friends. We had arrived at the party together and publicly demonstrated some affection. Nonetheless, a Panamanian friend of the group tried to kiss her while my back was turned.
Las Haciendas in David, Chiriqui. I had been chatting up a local girl at the bar. We mingled and danced a little typico. When I briefly excused myself to the bathroom, a random Chiricano swooped in. To salvage the situation, I had to have my local friend run interference.
A Mid-Day BBQ. I had invited a potential girlfriend to join me at a friend’s birthday party. I was introducing her to a new social group and had encouraged her to meet everyone. Big mistake. Within minutes, an Italian guy (similar aggressive male dating behaviors as Latinos) introduced himself with two sexually suggestive kisses on each check. They were practically centimeters from her lips. She was mesmerized and it was all down hill from there for me.
That fact that I am a Gringo exacerbates the feeling that guys are always hitting on my girlfriend. Being Gringo in the land of Latinos automatically classifies me an outsider. Psychologically, categorizing someone as an outsider makes it easier to justify violating social norms. In this case, Guy Code. Moreover, some Latinos don’t like to see Latinas dating Gringos. It’s like they’ve switched teams. As an American guy once explained to me on a beach in Brazil, “It’s like when that white girl in college started dating black guys. She never came back.”.
Furthermore, Latin culture is more sexual than Gringo culture. They touch more at coffee. Latinas dress more feminine. The construction workers whistle louder. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that most Latinos give it more gusto when going after girls. Sometimes, it really doesn’t matter if they are “spoken for” or not.
It is interesting to note the difference in behavior of Latinos and Gringos at the bar. Latinos protect while Gringos pout.
Latinos know damn right that most fellow Latinos at the bar are dogs. They’ve developed protective shielding practices against random guys hitting on their women. By their positions, they tend to box-in girls. They situate the girl against the wall or closed off in a group of friends at bars and clubs. Any place that limits the girl’s ability to engage in conversation with strangers.
Another form of protection is being demonstratively physical. Physically, Latinos are quick to put an arm around a girl’s shoulder or slip their hand lower on their girl’s back whenever other guys are around. Some form of touching that clearly demonstrates that the girl is taken, so back off!
Latinos have learned that they have to play defense to protect their women from more than just Gringos.
Gringos have a different approach. Instead of protecting, we pout. My San Salavador story is a perfect illustration of a Gringo pouting. I, like most Gringos, was not accustomed to Latin America’s more aggressive dating behavior. I did not properly “protect” my chica. As a result, Mr. Salavdor swooped and stole her. So, I pouted by getting drunk and dramatic.
You’ll also notice that Gringos become quiet when pouting. We get jealous. In order to leave, we make up excuses by saying, “this party sucks”. This is how Gringos pout.
My time in Latin America has conditioned me to expect that anytime, anywhere, some guy or guys are going to try hitting on my girlfriend. Now that I know the rules of the game, I get less upset when they try. It’s almost a compliment like saying, “yeah, she is a cuttie, cierto (right)”.