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15 Things Portuguese Do When We're in Love

Portugal Student Work Couples
by Sandra Guedes Sep 16, 2015

1. We send you about 300 texts per day.

Once interest is shown and phone numbers are exchanged, you can start blaming Vodafone, Nós, or Meo for the amount of incoming messages received daily. It’s definitely not our fault if sending messages is virtually free.

2. We’ll give you a dating commitment ring (aliança de namoro).

Don’t freak out. It’s not an engagement. Back in the day, when traditional families didn’t accept the shame of their children’s relationships, lovers decided to come up with this symbolic ring. This way, parents could justify to society the freedom their children had, and it stuck. We’re still a long way from proposing, it might take a year, or two or even ten. Right now, we’re just serious and we’re not texting anyone else.

3. We’ll take you to Sintra.

Unless of course you are on the other side of the country — then we have to choose somewhere in between Terra Nostra in Azores to Serra do Gerês in the north. But ultimately, the village of Sintra, with its colourful palaces and castle perched on a green Serra is the Queen of romance. And it doesn’t take long to figure out why “Os Maias” came to life in the mind of Eça de Queiroz here. Even if you get the time wrong, and the crowds of tourists fill the streets, there is always that small road sided by the chalets writers forgot to include in their guidebooks.

4. We won’t shower you with gifts, we’ll kidnap you instead.

We could give you gifts, but it’s much funnier to figure out where else we should take you. We could give you a huge teddy bear, but we’d rather take you to see the landscape of Alentejo. We Portuguese might be shy with gifts sometimes, but we’re not shy with our attitude.

5. We’ll bring green candles to romantic dinners.

Or any other colour. It is not a Portuguese tradition but it happens sometimes. It’s the famous art of the desenrasca (find a practical solution). Most likely we forgot to buy the red candles, and the only other candles in the drawer had numbers on them, but anyway, in Portugal green is a synonym for hope.

6. We dramatically increase our use of tu, te, and ti (you!).

Especially in tu és… (you are…), quero-te (I want you), abraçar-te, (hold you), ver-te (see you), gosto de ti (I like you), and beijar-te (kiss you) among many others. Thinking of ti (you) is something that happens a lot.

7.And we’ll “die” a lot….

Maybe this was inherited from the trovadores (troubadours) and their cantigas de amigo (love poetry) in the Middle Ages. But even nowadays a Portuguese “morre por abraçar-te” (dies to hold you), “morre por beijar-te” (dies to kiss you), “morre por ver-te” (dies to see you), and adds “que eu morra aqui se isto não é verdade” (may I die here if this is not true.) But despite the lyrical apparent suicidal tendencies a Portuguese also “vive para te amar” (lives to love you).

8. We will publicly show our affection for you, no matter who is around.

In parks, streets, beaches, shopping malls, etc. We are the ones the older generations look at, say “pouca vergonha” (little shame) and wish we would get a room.

9. We’ll say eu gosto de ti, porra (damn it, I like you).

Which might put you off once you get home, look into your dictionary, and find out literally porra is the single male spermatozoon cell, or the whole product of one of several ejaculations. But if you do not leave after this, it might develop into an “amo-te porra” (damn it, I love you) or if you do leave, it’ll turn into a “eu tenho saudades tuas porra” (damn it, I miss you).

10. We’ll give you the vase instead of the flowers.

If roses are the most popular international symbol for love, then the most Portuguese is manjerico (basil). It usually comes inside a clay pot with a quadra popular (popular verse) written in a colourful piece of paper stuck to it with a paper carnation on top.

15. And for us, you can’t just be a ‘regular’ sized love.

You’re either an amorzinho (little love) or amorzão (big love).

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