When I moved to Argentina from Michigan nine years ago, one of the biggest cultures shocks I had was with interactions with Argentine men. I went from an ultra-conservative suburban town filled with uptight people slathering on hand sanitizer after shaking hands to a land where full-on hugs and warm kisses on the cheek are the norm upon meeting someone. I went from a place where I would pay my own share of a date to a place where doors would be held open and chairs would be pulled out for me – and as a fiercely independent, boundary-setting woman who also has an apparent weakness for suave Latin men, I wasn’t quite sure how to navigate these new waters.
It took me a while to figure out what social interaction was part of a cultural norm and what was inappropriate or over-the-top for me. To figure out which customs I would choose to accept or wholeheartedly adopt, and which I would question or outright reject.