There are rules to dating in Panama. A different language and cultural norms is often to the novelty of inter-cultural dating, but can also be the source of constant frustration. If you master these rules, you will create lovely and long lasting relationships. If you do not, you’ll be doomed to dating disappointments here in Panama.
1. Do learn Spanish. Learning Spanish is a sign of respect. Even if the girl speaks English, learn a couple words and phrases in Spanish. She will love it, and so will her friends and family.
2. Do learn how to dance Latin music. You don’t have to be a Latin dance professional like Marc Anthony, but you need to learn the basic dance steps of Salsa and Merenge. Your Panamanian girlfriend will ALWAYS want to dance when she hears Latin music. You have two options; either you can dance with her, or watch another, rico-suave dude spin her around the floor.
3. Do call her the next day. Unlike Western dating culture, calling a girl the day after a hookup is mandatory. If you do not, you will be considered “frio” (cold) which is no bueno.
4. Do say sweet nothings. Spanish sweet nothing pet names and phrases like; mi amor, mi reinita, mi corazon, should all be incorporated into your daily vocabulary. Try to interject Spanish sweet nothing phrases frequently and use them jokingly. If you feel corny, get over it.
5. Do find bilingual friends. Bilingual friends are assets! Their ability to speak both languages allows them to communicate with everyone in Panama. If you go on group outings be sure to bring one or more of your bilingual friends.
6. Do pay. There is no concept of going dutch in Panama. For the most part, guys always pay, even the female’s taxi cab fare. ***** This does also depend on the females economic situation. But, typically guys pay for dating activities.
7. Do manage expectations. Panamanian relationships can get real serious real fast. If you are not looking for a serious relationship, you must be proactive and honest. Tell her your intentions early in the relationship to avoid future headaches.
8. Do hang out with gay guys. Latin gay guys are a straight man’s best friend. They are typically surrounded by packs of beautiful women. If they think you are cool, then they will introduce you to their surplus of hotties. Subtly state that you’re of the heterosexual persuasion by commenting on a nearby pretty girl, or referring to an ex-girlfriend story. This will tastefully clarify your sexual orientation, and will allow to you start mingling with their ladies.
Panama Dating Rules — Don’ts
1. Don’t wear shorts. Always dress-to-impress when going out with a Panamanian female. See article.
2. Don’t be cultural-centric. Statements like “Services in the US are so much better”, or “I like to food in France a lot more”, and “Panamanians are stupid” will never go over well. This is referred to as “The Grumpy Gringo“. Don’t expect to rag on Panama in front of a Panamanian and have a positive response. (For the record, we do not believe any of the aforementioned statements)
3. Don’t go on the first date with her friends. You will be a wallflower. Once again, see article.
4. Don’t be surprised by cell phone interruptions. Answering your cell phone and having a long conversation while in a business meeting or on a date is not considered rude in Panamanian culture. I, on the other hand, find it extremely disrespectful. My advise is to politely ask them to let the call go to voice mail and continue on with the date. Destroying her cell phone with the heel of your boot mid-call should only be a last-ditch option.
5. Don’t cheat on her. Infidelity is rampant in Panama. Males cheating on their partners is so deeply ingrained into the culture that some of my Panamanian girlfriends actually expect to be cheated on! Hold yourself to a higher standard — be monogamous with your Latin lover.
6. Don’t piss off the mother. Family relationship are extreme strong in Latin cultures. So, strive to make not just a good, but a GREAT impression with the family and especially the mother.
7. Don’t be a pussy. You cannot beat around the bush. Indicate your sexual interest right away. Panamanian females are accustomed to very sexually direct Latin men. Thus, you must grow a pair of balls and go for it.
8. Don’t have sex on a first date. Be forward but not too forward. Meaning, if you like someone and are interested in getting to know them better (and possibly having a relationship), sex on a first date will likely ruin everything. It’s much too soon, it’s not romantic, and it communicates to the other person that you’re more interested in their physical characteristics than in finding out who they are.