Photo: Cristian Labarca
1. You’ll become immune to, and willingly participate in, PDAs.
You used to roll your eyes when you came across a couple canoodling in public. Since you started dating your Chilean boyfriend, your gringa fría (cold foreigner) ways have melted, and you’ve conformed to the ways of the Latin lover. You’ve even warmed up to the previously appalling nose-to-nose nuzzle, and now you’re certain there’s no going back.
2. You’ll learn how to dance like a chicken in heat.
Chile’s national dance is the cueca, which essentially represents a rooster courting a chicken. There are different types of cueca — the most aggressive form consists of the man dance-chasing his female partner in a circle with hops, twirls, and fancy footwork thrown in for good measure. If you attend any party or festival with your pololo (boyfriend) on any national holiday (or any pisco-filled asado year-round) chances are high you’ll be dancing the cueca.
3. You’ll think you’re an amazing chef.
Chileans often live at home until they’re well into their twenties and potentially until they’re married. This means they never have to go through the trials and errors of dorm-room cooking or the struggles of learning to feed themselves more than ramen post-college. As women still typically do the family cooking, Chilean men in particular might never learn how to cook, so even if all you can whip up is a cheese omelet, your Chilean boyfriend will be amazed.
4. You’ll become a victim of many, many earthquakes.
The terremoto (earthquake) is a popular Chilean cocktail combining white wine or pipeño, grenadine, and pineapple ice cream. While the appropriate serving size for terremotos is probably one drink, your pololo is a terremoto-making machine, and at house parties he’ll dutifully make sure you never see the bottom of your glass. Just like in a real earthquake, the sensation will hit you suddenly, you’ll be grasping for the walls, and you’ll probably wake up on the floor with a killer caña (hangover) and a lampshade on your head.
5. You’ll learn the art of the cheap date.
Most jobs in Chile don’t pay that well. Neither you nor your pololo will have much money to spend on each other, so you’ll have to get creative when it comes to pololeando (dating). Dinner and a movie or a night out on the town might not always be on the agenda, so you two will design dates that are a bit more piola (chill): going for long walks, hanging out at home, or even trolling a mall — a favorite Chilean pastime.
6. You’ll know enough Chilean music to start your own tribute band.
With many long nights spent at your pololo‘s side singing karaoke to Los Prisioneros, Los Tres, and Los Jaivas, you’ll easily know enough Chilean music to start your own tribute band.
7. You’ll realize you’re a slob.
Perhaps it stems from a deep-seated fear of the araña del rincón (deadly spiders native to Chile that dwell in the untouched corners of one’s house), but Chileans are generally very tidy. Everything in your pololo‘s room is always in its proper place, his clothes are hung and folded neatly, and he makes a mean bed. You, on the other hand, haven’t seen the surface of your desk in weeks, half of your bed doubles as your closet, and the last time you cleaned your floor was really just the last time you spilled juice on it.
8. You’ll build up your party stamina.
Being nightlife intolerant just doesn’t fly in Chile. The Chileans like to carretear (party) until the sun comes up, and your pololo‘s natural stamina far exceeds your own. To avoid looking like a party pooper, or muy fome (very lame), you’ll need to boost your endurance for a night of carreteando.
9. You’ll fail as a cultural ambassador.
Chileans are proud yet sensitive people and are curious about and competitive with other cultures. Your Chilean boyfriend and his friends will count on you for information about your home country, and you’re an unreliable source of information. “What’s the national dance of the United States?” You’ll teach them the Cotton-Eyed Joe and the Electric Slide. “What’s the typical cuisine like?” We eat lots of Italian takeout. “How is American football played?” You’ve never understood it yourself. You’ll tell tales of a magical place called Target, bake chocolate-chip cookies, play YouTube videos of The Lonely Island, and probably exert a great deal of effort to distance yourself from comparisons to Miley Cyrus.
10. You’ll learn to set your watch to Chilean time.
When your pololo says he’s on his way, you’ll learn it means he’ll leave in an hour.
11. You’ll learn a million different ways to say one simple thing.
Chileans speak their own language made up of slang, profanities, and animal-related idioms. Even if you speak Spanish with near fluency, you’ll often be left staring at your Chilean boyfriend and wishing subtitles would magically appear under his face. “I’m tired” is no longer simply, “Tengo sueño” or, “Estoy cansado” but also, “Tengo tuto” and, “Se me echó la yegua” (which means “the horse kicked me”). If your pololo has to use the bathroom, he’ll probably tell you he’s going to write his memoirs or study nuclear physics. This means he’ll be a while.
12. You’ll become a spoiled regalona.
Chileans don’t just cuddle, they regalonear, which is like super cuddling that pervades your everyday activities. Chilean guys will ruin you for non-Chilean guys as they’ll spoil you with unwavering affection, random acts of sweetness, and constant cariños.