Oh those Porteños: on the one hand they’re spontaneous, clever, sarcastic, expressive, social, never boring, and sexy as hell with an accent straight from the heavens. On the other hand you have chamuyo, histeriqueo, machismo, flakiness, lying, cheating, and drama. What you need to know about dating in Buenos Aires.
“Chamuyo” is what to expect from a “Chamuyero”: a smooth-talker or bull-shitter who has his sights on you. Some attribute this behavior to the theory that local women tend to give men a run for their money and play hard to get. It’s all about the chase.
“Histericos” (the men) and “Histericas” (the women) are basically locals that play mind games and exhibit bizarre behavior. For example, being interested one minute and ghosting you the next, turning from hot to cold as quick as a Swedish sauna, constantly changing their minds, or behaving in a way that is contradictory to how they actually feel. Basically, any behavior that confuses the hell out of you.
Flakiness and unreliability
In Buenos Aires if you have plans, they can often be more of a suggestion than a sure thing. In my experience, canceling at the last minute and showing up late, or not at all, is more common and acceptable here than in other cultures.
It can be hard to be a woman in Buenos Aires.
Local men tend to take on the role of protector and aggressor, and women are expected to adapt and play counter-part to this role.
If you’re a woman in Buenos Aires, expect to be objectified, as men here (not all of course, but more than in other countries in my experience) feel entitled to say whatever they want to you (read more about cat-calling in Buenos Aires), and Argentine society places a great deal of importance on a woman’s physical appearance (as do many other societies). It’s no surprise that Argentina has high rates of anorexia and bulimia (read more here) or that plastic surgery is commonplace (read more here). Manicured nails, long feminine hair and sexy clothing are the norm here, and preferences openly expressed by local men.
Lying and cheating
Many people in relationships unapologetically flirt and cheat, and very often the cheating goes way beyond sex and these “affairs” can actually be relationships in themselves. Is it more prevalent here than in other countries? I doubt it. More out in the open? Maybe.
In Buenos Aires, with all the lying and cheating going on, it’s no surprise that “celos” (jealousy) is quite common. It is not uncommon to see couples with “shared” Facebook accounts or “rules” about having friends of the opposite sex. Soap opera drama ensues.
Locals “don’t like to plan things” and prefer to see how things develop naturally. That said, dating can go at the speed of light, saying things like “mi cielo, mi vida, mi razón de ser” (“my darling, my love, my reason for existing”) within weeks of meeting someone, or months or even years can go by without things progressing much.
There is also a very strange phenomenon here where things never really “end” and can bizarrely drag on forever. Porteños will contact you months and even years later, for no apparent reason at all. Unless you change your phone number or block them, you might hear from them again.
Gotta love ’em
Chamuyo, histeriqueo and celos aside, Porteños and Argentines are the bomb: they place a high value on friendship, relationships and family; they are expressive and talk about their feelings; they love life and make time for the people and activities that are important to them; they’re affectionate, talkative, interesting, social, extroverted, generous, hilarious, sarcastic, clever, spontaneous, sexy, talented, fun and never boring. Their witty and dry sense of humor, natural charm and sex appeal are off the charts.
In my experience, they express themselves verbally and physically more than other cultures, telling loved ones how much they mean to them, and showing them through hugging, kissing and touching. In fact, expect physical contact with just about everyone here…your friends and family…whoever you’re dating…your Doctor…complete strangers. Ha.
Read about communication barriers, cultural differences and more in Dating & Relationships When You Live Abroad: Part 1