10 Pitfalls of Dating a Chilean (as a Gringa)
HE recites Neruda verses as he pops morsels of empanada de pino into your mouth. He sports an uncouth Che Guevara-like beard and waxes poetic on the ills of Western-enforced capitalism. He can peel an entire avocado in one go. Your Chilean is a god.
However, as these things go, certain cultural gaps may stand in the way of true bliss:
1. Mote con huesillo.
On your first date, he introduces you to Chile’s national drink/pride and joy: mote con huesillo. You will yourself to ignore the fact that it looks like pickled monkey brain soaked in urine over a layer of pebbles and convince yourself it doesn’t taste the same. But it does. You smile politely and feed it to roaming pigeons when he isn’t looking.
2. He calls you “fatty.”
For inexplicable reasons, gorda and gordita are favorites in the otherwise pretty great pantheon of Chilean terms of endearment. He could have gone with mi amor, mi princesa or even preciosa despite its Gollum-like connotations, but no, he insists on calling you his very own little fat one. This is particularly troublesome at mealtimes.
3. He doesn’t think you can play soccer.
Or do anything physical for that matter – you’re a girl, after all. Those running shoes in your drawer? Made to walk to the nearest mote cart, obviously.
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4. His range of emotions is quadruple yours.
He bids you farewell before embarking on a trip and to your shock and delight, you spot a tear crystallize on his cheek. Repressing the “Holy shit, I made him cry” thoughts triumphantly whirling around your head, you will yourself to shed a tear or two as well — to no avail. Instead, you slap him on the shoulder and tell him to ‘buck up, kiddo’. You heartless northerner.
5. Your country fucked his over.
We’re not talking Gaza levels of enmity, but the fact that your country essentially installed a blood-thirsty dictator in his is a valid point of contention.
6. He might very well still live with his parents.
You see all those parallel rectangles of squished grass on every public lawn in Santiago? They’ve been left by canoodling couples with nowhere else to go. Since many Chileans continue living with their parents well into their 30s — expensive housing and low salaries are to blame — he’ll be coming around to yours quite a bit. Or there are always parks.
7. Cumbia overload.
Contrary to the Latino stereotype, Chileans are not known for their skills on the dance floor. Get ready for a whole lot of cumbia, which essentially consists of wagging your arms, runner style, in slow motion while marching in place. You wanted salsa? Should have gone to Colombia.
This story was produced through the travel journalism programs at MatadorU.
8. His drinks are poison.
You may hail from the land of keg-stands and out-of-control college drinking, but nothing will prepare you for your first night of terremotos.
9. He gets real serious real quick.
You’ve been dating 2 minutes? High time you met his friends, parents, neighbors, and long-lost Taiwanese nephew. (Side note: This in no way guarantees the relationship will last beyond two weeks.)
10. You don’t actually dig poetry.
But you can certainly pretend.