Being single isn't easy no matter where you live. Everyone complains. Being single here is a trip. Especially after being single for so long in California. San Francisco - The Bay Area has the highest rate of singles in the US. There are more single people there than anywhere else. The single life style is more accepted, and has a unique place. You don't really realize it until you leave there.
No matter where you live you complain. I meet women from all over the world and we all complain about the same thing - men. It doesn't matter where they are from. France, Italy, Canada, Sweden, they complain. Women come here and they think the men are so wonderful. They probably are - for two weeks. Then you get to know them. It is the same with men everywhere.
One thing though, living here, really taught me to appreciate the men in the U.S. (I hear American women gagging everywhere reading this blog post.) In the U.S. or the Bay Area, I know that I was valued for more than how I looked. Here women for the most part are still considered property and are still valued for their looks and how they appear.
They don't get the positive reinforcement that North American and European women get. The women's movement is just being born here. Women here are now just becoming financially independent. Hopefully they will soon have positive female role models. Women place all their self-esteem on their looks. Have you ever seen a place with so many beauty salons, places to get waxed, nails done, and many other beauty treatments?
Yes men are visual creatures. But I do know that most men in the US want a woman who is independent financially, emotionally, and mentally. They want someone who is an intellectual equal. Here? Ayyee.... If needy was a nightmare in California, it is a plus here. I still don't get it and really it's OK. It is another culture.
So how does that play out in the dating game? Different. When I lived in California you could pretty much meet men where ever you wanted. You could meet them online, you could meet them on the street. Hey, the Marina Safeway is famous for singles meeting on Friday nights. There are single's dating services, video dating services, and single's parties.
Here all of that is new and most of the time it is weird or it makes good blog posts. That is because here, it is still considered best to meet someone by being introduced to them. There is still a stigma to meeting people in less traditional ways unless you are a vedette or rich and famous and then it doesn't matter.
Once when I lived in Oakland I was looking at olive oils in Safeway. A really good looking guy started looking at the olive oils with me. He started a conversation with me about which brand did I use and why, which eventually led to a conversation about cooking, which in the end led to an invitation for dinner and a possible joint cooking date. He gave me his card and told me to call. I did, and we dated for several months. He was a totally nice guy.
And the same thing happening here.... One day I was in Jumbo looking at olive oils when this guy appeared in my aisle. "Que linda ojos tenis." he says to me. I sort of politely ignore him because I don't want to encourage him. "Te gusta aceite de olivos?" he asks me. (Now this is sort of a stupid question because why would I be looking at olive oil if I didn't like it?) I shake my head. I have learned that encouraging men in these situations is usually not a good idea. He however in his typical Argentine male fashion is not fazed at all and continues "Que marca te gusta mas?" Finally I tell him I like the cheapest brand they have hoping it will disgust him.
"Sos extranjera, pense que sos de aca, de donde sos?" Ah yes, I get this about 5 times a day too. I tell him I live here, but I am from the U.S. This of course opens the doors for 500 questions he can ask me and leaves no room for me to ask him questions. I do notice he is busily looking around. Then he moves in and asks me for my phone number. I laugh and tell him no. "Porque no?" he demands. "Quiero cocinar para vos." he tells me. I slowly move up the aisle. "TIenes MSN?" he asks, again I decline. "Sos divina, quiero conocerte." He smiles. I am finally able to make my get away to another aisle.
About 10 minutes later I see him pushing the cart with...oh my, another woman. What a surprise. He winks at me. Slime bag. I move right by him and ignore him. Later he finds me in another aisle and again asks me for my MSN. I tell him to go away. "It is my sister." he insists. Yeah right.
Another time when I lived in California I was early for an appointment I decided to hang in Starbucks. I ended up talking to this guy who was working on his computer. We had nice conversation. He was really cute. We exchanged cards, emailed each other, and ended up dating for 6 months. He was a producer for a video game company and loads of fun.
One time here I was early for a doctor's appointment in Martinez. I went to sit in Cafe Martinez. The cute guy across from me smiled. I smiled back. I know this is not a good thing to do, but whatever. Finally he came over with a lame excuse about the newspaper and ended up sitting down. "Sos extranjera!" he says to me. "Pense que sos de aca, de donde sos?" he asks me. I tell him the whole story, American, I live here, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes I feel like I should just have it all printed out on a piece of paper and give it to them.
Of course he wants to know if I am a) married or b) have a boyfriend. He wants my phone number, my email and/or my msn. He of course does not have a home phone, is not married, and does not have a girlfriend, and works in a "company" doing "something" as he is a "businessman". I have to go now.
We won't talk about the cute guy I met walking Roxie (when she was alive) who seemed like a nice guy. We met for coffee in the plaza. Not more than two minutes into the "date" he grabbed me and tried to stick his tongue down my throat and then wanted to know what the hell was wrong with me. My friends told me what did I expect since I met him on the street....oh, he was a lawyer. So much for sexual harassment.
Meeting guys the same way as I did in California doesn't seem to work here. So where do you meet them? You have to be creative. All my girlfriends complain. The ones that dance tango still hold out hope that they are going to find that magic man in the milonga. You know, the one with the great job, good looking, and dances well. Good luck. The others just dream. I keep telling them they need to be proactive.
They have mixers here. All kinds. You just have to find the ones that work for you. I try them all. Well maybe not all, but at least I go. I just cannot get the amigas to go. They say they will, but in the end they always cancel. They are too afraid of being rejected. They have visions of these parties being full of half dressed gorgeous 25 year old girls with perfect faces and bodies with all the men lusting after them. They see themselves as being old and not being desirable. Nothing could be further than the truth.
I only went to one event where I was probably the oldest person there. Well maybe not, but I felt that way. I know I didn't look it, but I felt it. I stayed for maybe an hour and then went to a milonga. When my friends asked me how it was, they gave me that knowing look. You see, they always think those parties are going to be full of gorgeous 25 year old girls with perfect bodies and faces. It's not true. But they won't even take a chance.
I guess compared to most of my friends I date a lot. Not to me. I guess I date interesting guys. Since they only go to milongas, or hang out in living rooms, they really are not going to meet many very interesting men. "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince". I tell them. Only they don't want to kiss anyone. Well I am not exactly kissing all those frogs, but at least I am having coffee with them. I like to say I have my first and last date at the same time. I joke around and say "it more efficient."
I always tell them about these parties. "Next week is Internations" I tell them. "You remember that is where I met my great friend David and also Dany the guy I dated for 3 weeks." Three weeks is better than nothing and he is still my friend, sort of, and I had fun. The day of the Internations party each one of the them texts me that they cannot come with some lame excuse. I go myself.
I have a great time. I meet lots of people. No new men. I see some old friends. I want to stay later but I cannot. I have too much to do the next day. When I see my friends I get the solemn face and "Como estuvo la fiesta?" Once again they are shocked when I tell them it was great. Once again they were expecting it to be ravishing 25 year olds with perfect bodies and faces with all the men lusting after them. It is so sad that they feel this way. I tell them that there were people there of all ages with all kinds of bodies and faces.
Last week I tried another new party. I had heard this one was all young people. The host told me no, that it was great people and that I should please come. Every month I have had an excuse, and finally this month I decided to go. I had a blast. A party where I could dance everything BUT tango. I danced salsa, hip hop, swing, and who knows what. One guy called me a "demonia." If he only knew how old I was. Oh my God, I had so much fun. I can't remember the last time I danced so much.
I ended up talking all night to a guy that owns a real estate company. He was very interesting. He has traveled all over the world, he is a champion wind surfer. At the end of the night he invited me for Chinese food next week. "Really?" I said. "Sure" he says to me. "I like you, you are different." Yeah, we will see, because you know, my being different is usually the problem.
My friend David tells me to just be myself and not worry about what it is like to date here. He should talk. It is just as difficult for him as it is for me. It is too bad he is so young. This has been the challenge for me. Dating. Single I don't mind. Dating..that is another thing all together. I just wish I could get the amigas to go out there with me.