Argentine Men Feed

Living in Argentina: Not Dead Yet

Social media is amazing.  I recently learned that I moved back to the USA and that I am dead. I wonder what I died of?  I find it humorous that people still find me newsworthy.  I had my 15 minutes of fame, and now I have crawled back into my hole...more or less. I can tell you unequivocally, the rumors of my demise are false (the dog and cat are not writing this post) and I have not moved back to the USA.  I only go back once a year to get my Old Navy wardrobe, Costco vitamins, and my contact lenses.  Otherwise, I would most likely never go back, although never is a strong word.

Argentines never fail to mention my American intonation when I speak (intonation is not the same as pronunciation), however, I feel more Argentine than American. Most bicultural people will tell you that it is like having a split personality.  You are but you aren't.  You don't really fit in anywhere. You love your adopted country, but it is not always easy.

Fifteen  years is a long time to live somewhere, anywhere.  You adapt. I now think eating dinner at 9:00 or 10:00 pm is normal.  I cannot eat dinner at 6:00 pm or 7pm.  That is merienda here. (Some kind of snack)  Things not being straightforward are now normal to me.  I now am an ace at figuring out the subtext. My favorite are the men who are bigger than me, look at me menacingly, and try to convince me I am wrong.  People like building administrators.  They don't scare me.  I just stretch and look up at them and give them shit right back.  Which shocks them.  I have the 3 strikes; woman, foreigner, blond.  

I learned how to get what I need or want.  You need "friends," and you need the Internet... and Facebook. (ugh)  I could never live without the Internet.  The Internet is my friend.  As a former business analyst it is easy to figure out what is fact and what is fiction.  Facebook needs no explanation.

So what exactly am I doing with my life?  I am teaching China..on a virtual platform.  I love it. I have learned so much about Chinese culture.  I work for a great company.  What I don't like is getting up at 5:00 AM to start teaching at 6:00 AM.  I have never been a morning person so it has been a cultural revolution to be peppy and bright eyed so early in the morning.

I am traveling.  Last year this time I was in India.  That was a wonderful experience.  I had no culture shock.  After living here, nothing really bothers me.  I can imagine coming from the 1st world it could shocking.  I went to the USA, Iguazu Falls, and of course Chile.  Next year 2019, I will be traveling quite a bit.  It's either now or never.  Never is not an option.

Do I still dance?  Yes, but not so much.  Maybe once a week.  Sometimes twice.  Tango is not the same as it was when I first came here 18 years ago.  Most of the milongueros and milongueras have died.  The level of dance has suffered.  People either shuffle around the dance floor, or they do steps.  I try to go to places where there are few or no tourists.  Sorry guys.  I know this is your grown up Disneyland dance vacation, but I can't bear to listen to:

  1. You are the best dancer in  your community and there is no one  else for you to dance with (I would hate to see how they dance in your community ...if you are the best)
  2. How you bought 400 new pair of shoes 
  3. Who you know, like I care, I live here.
  4. How you are being way overcharged to take lessons from name brands who don't know how to teach
  5. What countries you go to to dance (You know, I stopped taking my shoes when I travel, that is yet another blog post)
  6. My absolute favorite - how you know more about what it is like to live here and dance here, than people who actually live here and dance here.
  7. There is no good food here...wrong wrong wrong

Now that I have nothing to sell, I can be my normal snarky self.  Maybe you don't like it. That's OK.  You can call me names,  I don't care.  Gigi (AKA Louise) understands.  She is my partner in snark. I am back, and not from the dead. From the bowels of Caballito where I reside with JerryBrown and Maxi. Hasta la próxima...



Living In Argentina: Catcalls and Piropos

In light of the sexual harassment scandals, I am weighing in with my dos centavos.  I don't think that there is a woman who has not suffered sexual harassment.  It comes in many forms; from the co-worker or boss propositioning you, the date who makes it easier to say yes than no, and sexual innuendos that are not welcome.

The first time someone catcalled me I was 17 years old and walking home from school.  I had to walk by a construction site to get home.  It had been raining and the area was muddy.  I remember one of the men calling out to me "Hey, do you want to come play in the mud with me?"  I was speechless.  I put my head down and continued walking.  I felt embarrassed and maybe a little scared.

7 years later on a trip to New York with a boyfriend it happened again.  Another construction worker.  I was walking to get to the Guggenheim.  In those days I was a super fashionista.  I remember I was wearing my red Fiorucci jeans and cowboy boots.  Funny the things we remember. When I walked by the construction site a guy yelled "Hey!  You got a great ass."  I remembered looking around.  He could not be possibly talking to me.  I have had body dysmorphia since I was born.  "Yeah, you!" he called.  I remember smiling and waving.  Obviously it made such an impact that I still remember it 40 years later.

Flash forward.  The first time I went to Argentina, I was overwhelmed.  Men had no problems telling me that I was "hermosa" or that I had beautiful eyes, coming from politically correct California, I was tongue tied.  This did not happen.  Men did not dare do this.  

Then on my third trip, I experienced my first of many "piropos."  I was walking out of the apartment building where I was staying.  A man stopped in front of me and clutched his chest. "I'm dying." he said. I was alarmed. I asked him if he was OK.  "I'm dying, I know that I am dying because an angel with golden hair just dropped out of the sky." he chanted, then laughed, and continued walking, leaving me perplexed.  

The piropo has its beginning in Spain, 17th, 18th century Spain. (Some say Italy too, but I am not going to write the eternal history in this blog post.) It started with the aristocracy.  In those days a man could not go up to a woman and say "Hey, you're hot, let's go get a drink."  People needed to be introduced. When a man wanted to show his interest in a woman, he would give her a piropo which was a piece of poetry, with the intention of capturing her interest.  Along with that came the laying down of the cloak for a lady to cross the street so as not to muddy her dainty little feet, and the serenading with music.  After all this gallantry, he might be able to find out her name, in order to speak with her father.  These customs carried themselves to Latin America where the Spanish were settling (and trying to conquer).  The custom eventually spread to all the classes.

When I first moved to Argentina, I was unnerved by men constantly telling me that I was beautiful.   It is kind of a lift to your day to hear "rubia hermosa" (beautiful blond ) "lindos ojos", (pretty eyes) and even the ones by the older gents who spun poetry.  Seriously at my age, it feels good. Most of the time I don't even notice, I have gotten so used to it.

Then in 2010 I went back to the Bay Area for a visit.  That was when I realized I had been Argentinizied.  For many reasons.  I had been so used to the men in our milongas here commenting on my hair, or my dress or my perfume, that it seemed weird not to have someone say anything to me.  Very boring and safe small talk. I mentioned it to a few of my women friends, and the reaction was very strong. "Why do you need to be validated by a man?" was the most common response.  Validation had absolutely nothing to do with it.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very independent and do not need anyone or anything to validate me.  It is nice to hear that you look good, smell good, and are attractive.  Funny thing, those are the same women who literally throw themselves at the Argentine men in our milongas when they are here in Buenos Aires.

However, not all piropos are nice.  There are the ones where they talk about your body parts and what they want to do them.  Those are gross.  Disgusting. Sick.  Those are catcalls. One day when I was walking to the subte, I passed a group of construction workers.  They began to say disgusting things .  I had a Relato Salvaje moment.  I stomped over to them and got in their faces, "Do you have a sister?  Do you have a mother?  Do you have a daughter?"  I demanded.  "How would you like some guy to talk to them, like you just talked to me?"  Not a word.  They said nothing.  The next day when I walked by, none of them said anything.  I scared the hell out of them, I suppose.

 An Argentine woman who received one of the disgusting catcalls about her body, went to the police station and made a complaint.  There is now a law about sexual harassment by catcalls.  (Acoso Callejero)  This, is a good thing.   No one should be subjected to the disgusting comments by men  who have no concept of what is offensive.  Machismo is alive and well in Argentina.

I often see in the expat forums in Facebook how many of the foreign women are chagrined by the piropos on the street.  They hate them.  It doesn't matter if they are the spun poetry, or the random compliment, they hate them.  

There is a difference between an ugly cat call, and the poetry of a piropo.  The sad thing is the poetica piropo is disappearing.  The milonga is the exception, where men still practice this art, but on the street, it is unusual to hear this form of poetry in motion.


Dating With Deby: Strike3, You Are Out

It has been a week since I had my last date with the architect.  I know that I am supposed to call him, if I want to go out again.  I am not sure what to do.  I don't like all the conversation about the ex and the kids.  Argentines have this propensity to talk about the past.  Men always want to know about my exes.  I prefer not to talk about the past when you are trying to move forward.

My friends tell me that I should give him another chance.  Nice looking, educated, career oriented, etc.  OK, I send him a Whats App.  He asks if he can call.  Sure.   "I thought that I would never hear from you again." he says.  Well you almost didn't, I think to myself.  After some light bantering, he invites me to dinner.  He mentions Thursday.  I ask him "You aren't allowed out on Saturdays?"  "You want to go out with me on Saturday?" he asks.  I tell him "Yes, and you pick the place."  He tells me that he will call on Thursday to confirm.

Thursday comes and he confirms that he will pick me up at 8:30 and that we are going to a Russian restaurant.  He gives me the name so I can check it out.  I notice on their website that their menu is not  really good for celiacs.  I send him a message.  He tells me that he called the restaurant and they said they have food for celiacs.  Vamos a ver.

Saturday.  Of course comes the  call at 7:45 that he will be late. Obvio.  At almost 9 he comes to get me.  Small talk on the way to the restaurant.  It is a cute place.  Small but cute.  The waiter is anything but small and cute.  I notice nothing is marked for celiacs on the menu.  He offers me 1 dish that is made with meat.  I don't eat meat. The waiter then bellows that I am difficult.  I am a celiac and I don't eat meat.  He doesn't shut up. In my best Grandma Brown voice I tell him to lower his voice. That shuts him up.  Nobody messes with Grandma Brown.

The architect stays out of it.  Of course.  Finally I choose borscht and some pickled fish.  Food from my childhood.  I am OK with it.  The important thing is the company.  This place is also known for its many flavors and brands of vodka.  I don't really drink, but agree to have 1 shot.  

During dinner there is more conversation about his work.  It is up to me to change the conversation.  I ask him about growing up here.  He tells me several stories, all with him ending up as the victim. I see this as an emerging pattern. His cousins, his ex wife, his sons.  Uff.

When dinner is over he asks about dessert. (Again apologizing for the lack of food for me.)  I tell him I would prefer we go somewhere else.  I recommend ice cream.  I tell him Cremolatti, Daniel's, Terzo all have ice cream for celiacs.  He asks about Volta.  "They do,"  I tell him, but not that many flavors.  Besides the ice cream is much better at the other places.  He insists on Volta, because it is "pretty."  Whatever.

We arrive at Volta, which is an hour from closing.  I say nothing, because I  know the other places stay open later.  When we look at the menu, just as I said, they hardly have any flavors for celiacs, and they are out of most of the ones they do have.  This leaves me with 3 choices.  I don't want to be difficult so I select a flavor. We go to sit down.

 Half way through the ice cream, he starts to talk about his grandson.  He tells me that he hardly ever gets to see him.  His daughter-in-law lets him come by when his son is not there. Hmm.  He then whips out his cell phone to show me a message his son sent him.  I am horrified.  This message is terrible even if it was from a friend, let alone a son.  This kind of anger doesn't happen overnight.  I know.  I come from a family where I speak with almost no one.  Children who don't speak to their parents usually have reasons built up from more than just an incident or two.   I cannot believe that he shared this message with me.  This is not something you show someone on a third date.  My immediate thought, was what did he do to deserve this kind of wrath?  He saw it as a way to prove to me that he is the victim.  I am sure.

Then starts another diatribe about the ex wife, and how it is her fault.  I stop him.  "How long have you been divorced?"  I ask.  "5 years," he tells me, but we were together 30 years.  "5 years," I think to myself, "and you are still complaining about her?"  His kids were not children when they divorced.  They were adults.  He goes on his diatribe for 5 minutes.  Finally I stop him. "I don't want to talk about your ex wife or your sons anymore.  I am tired of hearing about them.  They have nothing to do with me."

He stops, and then he says "But it is my life.  Don't you want to know about me?"  "I want to have a relationship with a man, not a man and his ex wife."  I tell him.  "I want to be with someone who wants something new. "  He doesn't get it.  "Well what about your exes?" He asks. "Not important."  I tell him.  "At least not now.  Besides I am friends with most of them."  He still doesn't get it.  I am  not interested in playing therapist. I don't want to be trapped in his nightmare. I am exhausted.  "Let's go," I say to him.

When we get to my apartment, he once again apologizes for both the restaurant and the ice cream.  At this point I don't care.  Seriously, if had not brought up his ex and family, the food would not have been an issue.  I am used to having to make do.  Sorry guy, 3 strikes, you are out.


Dating With Deby: Three Strikes And You Are Out, Strike 1

I don't want you to think that I spend my days working, going to the gym, and trying to make some order in my apartment.  In addition to all that, I am still finding time to swipe. Swipe means Tinder. It is easier than all the others. Left, left, left, and then once in awhile, right.  (Left means reject and right means OK)

I mostly swipe left.  Sometimes it is truly amazing what men have on their profiles.  Pictures of their dogs, pictures of a car, pictures of a sunset.  Those are usually married guys. Left. Blank pictures. Left.  Pictures of children. Left. Fake profiles with pictures of obscure politicians or movie stars. Left.  Pictures that are obviously 10, 15, 20, years old. Left.  Then are the no way for me guys, super overweight, and just plain ugh. Left.

Every once in awhile a profile pops up that is actually interesting. Someone that doesn't look like an axe murderer or an alien from another planet, and they can actually write better in Spanish than I can. Seriously.  Swipe right.  Then, by the grace of God, they are a match.  That means they saw my picture and swiped right.

Here is the crazy thing, 80% of the men who match with me, never respond.  I send them a message or sometimes I wait a bit to see if they send me one. Nothing.  Next.  Then there is the 20%.  Some are just too weird.  I can tell from a short chat. Unmatched.  Bye.  

Every once in awhile, there is someone who is attractive, employed, and seems normal. Really.  When I saw R's profile, he was very nice looking for late 50s. An architect.   He didn't look like he would be my grandfather.  He had nice pictures and a short but nice profile, which ended with "These are my real pictures, I hope yours are too." (Famous last words)

After a couple of back and forth messages, he sent me his phone number.  "I don't like extended chats," he wrote.  "I would rather just talk."  So I sent him a Whats App and he called me.  He sounded nice.  We made a date for Sunday close to where I live.

Sunday came.  As I was walking out my door towards the cafe, he sent me a text.  He was running late.  45 minutes late. Great.  I didn't want to go back home, so I decided to continue walking, and window shop. 45 minutes later I went to the cafe to wait.

He wasn't 45 minutes late, he was an hour late.  Nice looking.  Dressed more modern than most men his age. (I hate those pants that go up to the chin, what's with that?) However, the actual photos were maybe 10 pounds or about 4 kilos ago.  He wasn't fat, he just was heavier than his pictures.  I tell myself to not be so hypocritical.

I know, most men, do not think my age and my pictures go together.  I have to tell them 80 times they are all recent pictures with no Photoshop.  The more suspicious the worst they look when we finally meet. The architect made a point several times to tell me that "age doesn't matter" and that "I look really great for my age."  I want to tell him, "at least my pictures were actual pictures, so shut up." I don't.  I am trying really hard to be nice.  Snarky does not work in Argentina.

During the coffee, I asked him if he likes spicy foods.  Yes, he likes Korean. 5 points.  Does he like to travel? Yes, and he has. 5 points.  Does he like movies? Yes, 5 points.  So far, so good, until I ask if he has kids.  He looks sad. He tells me yes, but he doesn't get to see them.  He continues with the sad look.  He says that his ex-wife came between him and his kids.  At this point, I am assuming that his kids were young when they divorced.  I tell him that is sad.  I change the subject.  I don't want to talk about sad stuff on a first date.

I tell him how I am remodeling my apartment...without an architect.  He looks concerned.  "You poor thing." he says.  I am anything but a poor thing.    "I can help you, don't worry.  Whatever you need."  he says.  Men here love the damsel in distress.  "I don't need any help,"  I tell him, "but thanks."  He keeps pushing.  I guess he thinks I am embarrassed to admit my place is a mess, which it isn't.  I really hate this.  There are two things I do not like, when people think I am stupid or when they think I am helpless.  I am  neither.

I whip out my phone.  I show him the before pictures of my place, and then the after pictures.  He is shocked.  "You designed this?"  he asked.  "Yes, all of it." I tell him and then add, "without an architect."  I show him the kitchen, the bathroom, how I changed the circulation of the upstairs.  I know, in the dating world here, I am supposed to be more meek, but it is not my nature.  I am proud of my skills.  He looks at me, "Congratulations,"  he says, "Most people have nightmares with an architect, you are amazing."  I don't want to tell him that the biggest problems are the architects.  They do whatever they want and they don't care what the client wants.  Plus they charge a fortune to make a mess of your project.  

I decide this guy is not so bad.  I am going to make history and have accept a second meeting with him.  That almost never happens with me.  But you have to live dangerously once in awhile.  


Dancing Argentine Tango: Save the Last Dance for Me

It's Wednesday. The day during the week when I go to dance. Sometimes if I have an easy week I can go on Friday as well. Between work, my apartment (the never ending remodeling job) and the gym, I don't have much free time.

Today I am going to meet my friend Alicia. We met almost 10 years ago at Canning. She lives in another province, but she has kids who live in the Capital Federal, so she is here quite a bit. I am always happy to see her. Tango is the least of what we have to share as friends.

 I told the organizer that I was coming with a friend and to save me my favorite table. I like to sit in the back towards the end, across from “Los Viejos Locos.” They are two guys that if I told you one was almost 90 and the other was almost 80, you would never believe it. They both look like they are in their early 70s. If you ask them how come they look so young, they will tell you it is because they are happy people, and because they dance tango. I cannot imagine this milonga without them.

There are few people when I enter. It is the end of month. Most people whether it is their retirement, or their salary do not get paid until the 8th, mas o menos. Between the entrance, something to drink, and for many, a taxi home, you are beyond 200 pesos. (Yes I know, 200 pesos is only $12, but we live in pesos, and this an expense that is not a necessity.) There is also a football game so this is another reason why there are few people.

 I never worry about how many people there are. I only need a few guys who can dance and if there isn't, no big deal. I can enjoy hanging out and listening to the music. Tango is a social dance and the milonga is a social event. I come to have a good time, not to compete, or count or whatever it is some people do.

I am sitting at my usual table. Alicia comes and sits with me. I am so happy to see her. It has been a couple of months or 3 since she was last here. We catch up on the news, her family, my apartment. Then it was time to turn our attention to the floor.

I know all the people in this milonga. We are more like a family than a bunch of people who decide to go dance. 17 years dancing in Buenos Aires, does that to you. You know almost everyone, and they know you.

 I go to dance. My friend Luis, the famous remise driver, comes to get me. “Che,” he says to me. No me miraste. (You didn't look at me.) It's a tanda of Pugliese. I don't like to dance to Pugliese, which is why I wasn't looking at him, or anyone. I tell him “I don't like to dance to Pugliese.” He looks surprised. “I know, I am probably the only foreign woman who doesn't die to dance to Pugliese. I prefer to listen to him.” Luis nods, he understands. He is the same. He is a dear sweet man. I realize that I have known him for probably 15 years. Long time.

I meet Alicia back at the table. She has also been dancing. Before we can start talking my friend Paco comes to get me. He is one of my favorite people to dance to Biagi. He has this great sense of rhythm for the staccato beat. “I am so happy to see you.” He says. “I thought that you had left us.” “Noo, never.” I tell him. “I am working a lot. I just don't have time.”

 After this tanda I go to sit. I need to pace myself so my dear foot doesn't get exhausted. Alicia is also at the table. We look at the floor. We both see the same guy at the same time. Alicia says “ That guy with the big mole thinks he is the best.” I laugh. I know exactly what she means. He has the “look.” Not only men get this “look,” women get it too. It is a look of smug satisfaction. A look that says “I am good,” when you aren't. It might be good for you, but you have no idea how the other person feels...kind of like sex.

Alicia goes to dance. I go to the bathroom. I say hello to Brian the DJ. I say hello to “Los Viejos Locos.” and then sit down. I don't feel like dancing. I do not like this tanda. I look up and Mr. “I am so good” mole and all is beckoning me to dance. I look at him “I don't dance with men who come to table.” He is angry. “You weren't looking at me.” “Because I don't want to dance.” I tell him, without adding “with you.” He is a little surprised that I speak Spanish. I look away.

 I am not in luck. He sits down next to me,where Alicia is sitting. “You danced with other men who came to the table.” What a menance. “My friends.” I tell him, and leave it at that. He can't. “You are a foreigner.” he says. So I see he going to pull this trick out of his pathetic bag of tricks. “Yes, I am.” I acknowlege. “So what?” I add. This guy just doesn't get IT.” He won't leave. “I am democratic,” he says, “just like your President Trump.” I look at his ugly face. “Trump is a Republican and he is not my president.” His eyes open wide as I add, “My president is Mauricio Macri.

I don't wait for this sleaze bag to respond. I go sit next to one of the Viejo Locos, the 89 year old. “Que pasa?” he asks. I fill him in on what this guy has been doing. My Viejo Loco puts his arm around me and calls out to the Sleaze Bag, “This is my wife. “ The Sleaze looks at him wide eyed. “What you don't believe me?” Sleaze hangs out a bit and then realizes he is not going to win this one and finally vacates Alicia's chair.

When Alicia comes back to her chair, Viejo Loco #2 is also returning. Viejo Loco #1 looks at me, “He's my husband.” I laugh. When Viejo Loco #2 returns, he looks at #1, “I leave you alone for a tanda, and look at what you do!!” he says. Viejo Loco #1 tells him “Don't worry, she's just an “amante pasajera” Alicia and I are cracking up. I think about how much I love my milonga family.

I go back to my seat. Alicia and I are cracking up over the Viejos Locos. They are such dear guys. Good dancers, and good people, and also very, very, funny. We decide to dance one more tanda and go. Alicia is invited by one of my favorite dancers. “Lucky girl, “ I tell her. I turn to see that Chiche is inviting me to dance. He is an amazing dancer, and it is a tanda of vals. Life could not be much better.

 We dance the first song of the tanda. I am smiling to myself as he leads me into a double giro, actually 3 of them in a row. It has been years since I danced with someone who knew how to lead and do this. I smile to myself as he goes “Eso.” Vals is my favorite of the 3 rhythms. To dance it with someone who can, is heaven.

In between songs I say to Chiche “Do you remember me?” He smiles “Of course, you were always at Lo de Celia's. We never danced much.” “Don't you remember?” I ask him, “You hated dancing with me. You once (I make the cutthroat motion across my neck, which is the kiss of death in tango cabaceos)did this. “ He looks panicked. I continue “You have were right. I was not a good dancer. I thought that I was, but I was not. I didn't realize that even if I liked dancing with a person, my partner might not feel the same.” He smiles. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, and then you learned.” We finished the tanda. One of the best I have had in years. He walked me back to my table. “Thank you,” he said. I smiled, “Thank you.”

Hear my 2 minute version of what happened on my YouTube Channel:


Dancing Argentine Tango: Friday Night at the Milonga

I have started to dance again.  My foot feels much better, and with Leo's shoes (the best hand made tango shoes in the world) I can dance most of the night.  I need to get out.  My apartment construction is driving me a little nuts.  It isn't fun to live in a construction zone.

My preference is for traditional milongas, especially those that have no tourists.  If you are reading this, and you have been to Buenos Aires to dance tango, I am sure you do not like that I write things like this. Let me ask you, in your city or town, do you like to go to places where there are lots of tourists?  No, I do not think so, you call them tourist traps.

Milongas full of tourists change the environment. Yes, Argentines go to them.  The whole vibe is different.  There is a competition that I don't find in the more traditional milongas here.  For example, in conversations with many tourists, I hear the same variation of a phrase "I am the best dancer in my community."  "I have to come to Buenos Aires because there is no one for me to dance with."  "In Buenos Aires, all the best dancers dance with me."  I watch these people dance (men and women) and I can tell that they have no idea what it would be like to dance with them.  You may find a dance pleasureable, but does your partner?

I remember 20 years ago when I was first starting to dance in California, I asked a man to dance. I liked dancing with him.  He was maybe in our community one of the better dancers.  I had danced with him several times.  That night when I asked him to dance he blurted out "No, you are too heavy." In my naivete, I had no idea what he was talking about.  I had always been "light on my feet."  I now know what he meant.  I was hanging on him, because at the time, I had no balance or my own axis.  I was heavy, and although dancing with him was heaven, dancing with me was not.

Aside from that, in the 17 years I have been dancing in Buenos Aires, I have never heard an Argentine say anything remotely close to their being the best dancer.  The closest is when one says "I know my dance," which is completely different.  It just means you know how you dance, and who you can and like to dance with.

I love my Friday night milonga.  It is one of the few where the men still wear suits, and the women dress up.  It has that feeling of the milongas when I first came to Buenos Aires.  The big difference is now I prefer to be selective in my dances. As Mimi once said to me "There are two types of people who do not dance - those that can, and those that cannot."  I prefer to wait for the tanda of music I like, and for someone I want to dance with.

As I sit at my table, I survey the floor.  My favorite dancers are there.  This is not a big surprise, they usually are.  I came early, to make sure that I can have the table I like to sit at.  The tables, and even the chairs at the table are a big deal.  People have their favorite places, and they do not like anyone else to sit there.

The man at the next table keeps asking me to dance.  I keep turning him down.  I want to see him dance first, and to be honest I don't like to be asked. I go to dance with a friend. He tells me that it is nice to see me dancing again. Between the songs is the only time you should be talking.

A silver haired, dapper man invites me to dance.  After the first song he says to me, "You don't remember me, do you?" I smile my coy little milonguera smile.  "I taught you some of your first steps at Lo de Celia."  There were so many of these milongueros who bravely bore my learning curve.  The vals with him is lovely.

Later I spy a man I haven't seen for ages.  He is decked out in a nice suit.  I remember him.  Maybe 10 or so years ago, he was one of those attorantes in training.  His dancing was just OK.  He worked hard to get the look.  When he took me to dance, that was where it ended.  He couldn't dance that well. Tonight I watch him. He has vastly improved.  He looks good.

This time when he invites me to dance, I accept.  He is light. It is a pleasure to dance with him.  "So how long are you here for?" he asks.  "I live here."  I tell him.  I know that many foreign women tell the men that they live here.   They think it makes them less of a target.  People are not stupid.  "14 years now." He looks at me.  I get the feeling the tactics will change. He tells me I dance well, that I am a pleasure to dance with.  OK nice, yes, it is always nice to hear that.  I thank him for the tanda and head back to my table.

I dance with a few more of my favorites.  It is nice this milonga.  It is one of the few milongas where I like to watch people dance.  There are not many that are like this.  Sometimes, when I see YouTube videos of people who are "teaching" posted on Facebook, I am appalled.  I am amazed that people actually pay these people for lessons.  Bad teachers, who make bad dancers, who make more bad teachers. The cycle that has almost killed tango.  But won't.  Because of milongas like this one.  Take your ganchos and boleos somewhere else.

Pretty boy asks me to dance.  I have been watching him.  He has chamuyo.  I see him dance painfully with several women.  Most likely he is looking for students.  He has that look.  I hear him tell them the same things he has said to me.

It is fun to dance with him.  He is light, he knows the music. He tells me that he has been touring France.  That he mostly teaches there. Uh, OK.  He throws a little French at me.  I smile.  I have been  down the street of versero, it is not that easy to BS me anymore.  He says all the right things, that it is a wonderful to dance with me, that I know the music. It is not easy for me to BS back.  If you know me, I am just not that way.  I try.  I think it comes off that I am shy.  I don't mind.

I dance a few more tandas, and then it is time for me to go.  I have been dancing for 5 hours.  My feet hurt. Tomorrow I must get up early.  The work crew is coming.  As I walk to the door, Don Suave (aka Pretty Boy) stops me.  "Where are you going to dance on Monday?" he asks.  I normally don't dance on Monday, because I work early on Tuesday. He keeps throwing out milongas I never go to. I tell him I don't dance at those milongas.  He insists he will be there to dance with me.  Somehow the conversation turns, he asks me where I am from.  I tell him San Francisco.

"Oh," he says, "I lived there for 1.5 years."  My interest is piqued.  "Really? When?" "In 2012."  He tells me where he lived - Palo Alto, Woodside, Menlo Park, all wealthy areas.  I wonder who was hosting him.  I start to ask him, mentioning a few friends.  "Did you teach there?"  "Oh no," he tells me.  "I was living with a very rich woman.  I didn't have to work.  She had more than enough for both of us."  He went on to describe his life with Lady Gottrocks.  

He sees the look on my face and stops.  I am not sure what he was thinking.  Did he think I was rich and would be dying to throw my money at him?  I am surprised at how candid he was.  "I hope to see you next week," he says. Some things about the milonga never change.

 Do you like my blog?  Check out my YouTube Channel where you can find Dancing Argentine Tango live: Deby Live! On YouTube

Living in Argentina: Viveza Criolla

One doesn't have to live long in Argentina to experience the "Viveza Criolla."  Probably more than anything else, it is the one thing that the foreigners living in Argentina complain about. Viveza Criolla (literally translated means the Creole life, but it really has nothing to do with what the translation is.)

Viveza Criolla is a lack of respect for others, for institutions, for anything that is related to the common good of a society. That is the simple explanation.  If you live here, you know that corruption, blaming others, and mistrust, are all a part of the social fabric. People think of themselves first and then the consequences...maybe.

Coming from consumer oriented California I was not prepared for this.  In fact, my first few years there were times I was horrified.  Coupled with my lack of language skills (donde está la biblioteca just doesn't cut it.) most times it was impossible to defend myself.  

I would tell my Argentine friends and they would shake it off. "Viveza Criolla." they would respond.  Some of my friends would insist on helping me. I was always amazed at how they could settle a bad situation rapidly.  Lest you think only foreigners suffer viveza criolla, no.  It doesn't matter where you are from, who you are, or where you live.

This is  the attorante in the milonga who tells you he is a lawyer when he washes dishes, or the former president Cristina Kirchner who would inaugurate the same school or public works project several times to make it look like her government was actually doing more than stealing our money. It is a game.  If you don't learn to play it, you will suffer greatly.  I believe that most foreigners leave Argentina because they cannot deal with this form of life.  You cannot live forever in the expat bubble paying more to avoid being caught in the viveza criolla.

Once you learn the rules of the game, you can play.  It is actually fun in an absurd perverted way.  I am the least likely person to whoever wants to mess with me, that will fight back.  I think all of you know me well enough by now, I love a good challenge, and I do not suffer fools easily.

I needed to buy a sink for my bathroom.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  You can go to 100 stores and they all have the same stuff.  Boring.  I found a few stores that had more interesting things, but the salespeople ignored me or yelled at me.  It is impossible sometimes to find someone to take your money.

I finally found a store where they were nice. At first.  They explained things to me.  I went back 5 times to make sure what they had was what I wanted.  The main reason is that everything here is more or less final sale.  Good luck trying to return something.

The sink and the table had to be ordered.  The first table, was damaged.  They tried to tell me that they could fix it. Nope. "I want a new one." I told them.  They were not pleased but they ordered it. It came in before the sink.  Which was hand made.  Black ceramic.  I went to pick up the table.  I made them unwrap it to make sure it was in perfect condition. I paid for it, and then had to wait for the sink.

I called. "Don't call us." they told me.  "We will call you when it is here." It was not like I was calling everyday.  I called once in 2 weeks.  Finally it arrived.  I went to pick it up.

When I entered they were busy.  They brought out the sink.  It didn't seem right.  It looked like the smaller one.  I mentioned it, "I think this is the medium sized sink not the larger one that I ordered." "No, no, this is the larger one.  Get it home and you will see."  They almost pushed me out the door.  They were so nice before they had all my money.

Of course, I got home, and put it on top of the table, and it was definitely not the larger one. Damn!  This meant not only another trip, it meant a fight. I had to go back and deal with them.  Later on in the week, I wrap what was supposed to be my sink in my jacket and put it in my shopping bag. I take the bus to Alberdi St.

I walk into the store and the owner is chatting with a friend.  He sees me, he sees my shopping bag.  He is not happy to see me like he was before. No greeting.  He glares at me. "What do you want?" he asks.  Nice.  In my very best California Berkeley speak I say to him, "We have a problem."  I come close to his desk and take out the sink.  "This is the medium, not the large size sink."  He stands up.  He is a tall man. about 22 cm taller than me. This is supposed to scare me or intimidate me.

He glowers at me. "You are wrong, this is the large." I try to reason with him.  I show him the receipt and that I was charged $1800 pesos for the large bowl. "The medium was $1500."  He is angry.  "This is the large one.  What is wrong with you?" He is yelling at me. In the past I would have been super intimidated by this.  "There is nothing wrong with me. I just want what I bought." I tell him.

I am trying very hard not to get nasty.  So, I start again. "Do you remember, you showed me 3 bowls, small, medium, and large?  We put them on the table, and we both decided the larger one was the best."  Now he is furious.  "You have a problem." he starts to rant at me. He tells me I don't know what I am talking about. Now I am mad.  "No me jodas." I tell him. (Don't fuck with me.)  That stops him dead.  Elegant blond me saying such a thing.

He grabs the sink and goes to the showroom floor to show me I am wrong.  I follow him. "See this bowl?"  I say to him.  "This is the large. It is $1800 pesos."  He stops in front of the medium bowl, looks at it, looks at the one in his hands, looks at me. "Go sit down." he commands.

He goes to the phone and calls the supplier.  They have a conversation. He is yelling at the guy. He finishes and comes over to where I am seated. No I am sorry. "It was the supplier's fault. He sent the wrong one." he says.  Like you couldn't tell?  I look at him.  "Anyone can make a mistake.  We are all humans.  I only wanted you to listen to me."  He shakes his head.  "The supplier said he will make a new one. It will be here in 3 days." 

It took more like 10 days.  It had a tiny chip that I didn't notice until I got home.  I can fix it.  It is not worth another trip and another argument.  This time he would kill me.  

I tell my student the story.  He shakes his head. "Viveza Criolla." he says to me. This is Argentina.

Dating with Deby: Flyboy Fly Home,Lest You Turn Into a Mouse

Lest you think that I spend all my time either working or trying to get my apartment together, do not despair.  I try to leave a little time to have some fun. I am usually exhausted, but all work and no play makes Deby a dull girl.  

Aside from dinners with friends and a movie here and there, I am still swiping away on Tinder.  Every once in awhile a picture shows up that is interesting.  You just never know.  One day while swiping I came across a picture of a guy.  Physically he was not my type, but I am trying to get over that.  He had pictures of himself in various cities in the world. That shows he likes to travel.  He was actually there. You would not believe how many guys Photoshop themselves into pictures of Paris, Spain, and Miami. Amazing, but true.

So I swiped "yes." He came up as someone who was actually interested in me.  What a coincidence!  In a few seconds he sent me a message saying hello, asking how I was.  I waited.  I don't know, maybe 10 minutes, maybe a half hour.  I am learning.  Don't respond right away. Wait.

I sent him a message.  He told me that he is a pilot.  Bad sign.  You know those flyboys, a girl in every port. (Airport?)  He made lots of jokes.  He asked for my Whats App.  (Of course.  That's how it works here.) He called me, using Whats App.

I found him entertaining.  He said he was a private pilot, not a commercial pilot. He wanted to know why I was living in Argentina.  Simple answer;"Because I like it here." I never give the long answer until I physically meet someone.  He went on to say that he needs an English teacher.  It turned out, he and the father of a friend work together for the same company.  Pilots have to be tested in English every so often.  

I don't know what is worse; someone who only wants to use you for your body, or someone who wants to use you for your English.  It sounds bizarre, yet, I cannot tell you how many times someone thinks they are going to get a built in English teacher.  

The next time he calls it is raining.  I am at home getting my lesson plans together. "Today," he tells me, "is a perfect day to have mate."  I know where this is going.  Mate is usually drunk at home or in a park.  I made that mistake 16 years ago when someone wanted to invite me for mates and medialunas.  I had no idea that when a guy invites you for mate and medialunas, it is to go to his apartment.  He has a little more in mind than drinking mate.   Empanadas are the same.  You don't go to a restaurant to eat empanadas. Cultural things one must learn in a new country.

"Do you like mate?" he asks.  Cat and mouse.  Cat and mouse.  Who is the cat? Who is the mouse? Meow.  "Yes, I like mate." (pronounced like maa-tay,) "Great, we should have mate."  I want to call him names, but I don't.   "Mate," I tell him, "You drink at home or in a park. Since it is raining we cannot go to a park."  He pretends not to get it. "Forget it.  I am not going to your place and you are not coming here." Silence. Then a laugh.  "I was just kidding." he says.  Right. Cat and mouse.  Cat and mouse.  Who is the cat, who is the mouse?

In the end, he invites me to meet him for coffee.  Anywhere I want.  I name a place and we set a time. This should be interesting.  You are probably wondering why I bother.  Unfortunately, this kind of boorish game is part of the dating game here.  I need a break from the horrors of my albaniles stirring cement on the floor and my lovable but sometimes challenging students.

I arrive at the meeting destination.  I see him sitting in the back.  More portly and with less hair than his pictures.  Why do people do this? I amble over to the table. I greet him.  He looks me up and down. "You look just like your pictures." he says.  Imagine that. As nervy as I can be, I never seem to have the nerve to tell someone that they don't look like their pictures. It really is not necessary.  They know.  Or maybe they don't.

After all the little niceties are out of the way, he starts to pressure me about speaking English. I ask him, "What are you looking for? An English teacher or what?" (I figure better to be blunt.) He ignores my question and begins to talk about some relationship he had with a woman from Ecuador. Excuse me?  What is it about people here they always want to talk about their exes?  This is one thing I definitely cannot get used to.  It isn't just the men, the women do it too. 

I interrupt him.  I tell him, "I don't really want to hear about your ex."  He is shocked. He tells me he thinks it is important we know each other's history.  "Dude," (actually Che) at this point it is more important to me if you like the movies or spicy food, than some girl in Ecuador."  He asks, "Have you had any relationships here in Argentina?" "Do I look like a nun?"  I ask him.  He knows I have been here 14 years, what is he thinking...

Then he tries to tell me what he thinks I want to hear.  I am obviously not the kind of woman who is going to melt because he tells me I am attractive, or I have beautiful eyes.  That does not work on me. He is not a stupid guy, and he realizes this.  He gets two brownie points.  He starts telling me that he only likes intelligent women. Cat and mouse.  Cat and mouse, who is the cat, who is the mouse?

Suddenly he asks me why I am living in Argentina.  I give him the short story.  Tango, life change, etc. "You came here for tango?" I guess I am supposed to be embarrassed. "Yes. I came for tango, I stayed because I like it here."  "You came here?" he says.  "I am trying to find a way to live there.  I love the states." I shrug my shoulders.  "Good luck."  "You wouldn't want to move back?" he asks.  "Nope. I like the US to see my friends and to go shopping.  I love Argentina." "What about Connecticut?" I really hate these kind of boring conversations.  This is when I truly miss American men.  (Or at least the ones I know.) "I already lived in the best state, California, and I never do things twice." 

Flyboy asks me again about English.  "What about it?"  He gives me this little smile.  I double my fee and tell him how much I charge.  I tell him if it is too much to get a group together and I will create seminar for them to pass their test. This shuts him up. Cat  pounces on mouse.

He asks if I would like to have dinner.  Not tonight.  I know what that means too.  Almost like being invited for mate. He insists we go out on Friday.  OK, fine.  Maybe.  Vamos a ver.

Two days later he sends me a Whats App.  He says hello.  Tells me it is a good time for a nap.  Well maybe for him.  I am working.  Then he sends me a photo.  I am totally grossed out.  It is of him naked from the waist up in bed.  There is NOTHING sexy about a 50+ out of shape man who I just met sending me this photo.  What the hell was he thinking?  That is it.  Cat dumps mouse.



Dating With Deby: Tinder or Not

Now that things have calmed down a bit, I decided it is time to throw myself back into the dating game. One of my students uses Tinder and she told me I should try it.  I did, a few years back.  I think that I was the oldest person who was using it at the time, and no one wanted to meet me.  She tells me that now that there is every kind of person on Tinder.

"OK, why not?"  I think.  My haircutter uses it.  When I go to see him, he shows me all the women who want to go out with him.  "Disasters." he tells me.  He does it, because he gets new clients that way.  Not a bad way to market yourself.

I download the app. Within seconds of loading my profile and pictures, I am receiving matches.  Interesting.  Much faster than the dating sites.  You can swipe them away in seconds. There are lots of men.  I still don't get the pictures of bare chests and man boobs, or pictures with a kid, or pictures of bridges or water or the forest with no people.  Well I get it, but it is stupid.

My first Tinder date was great.  The man was intellligent, nice looking, and interesting.  The kind of guy I like to go out with.  He never called after the date.  I guess I was not his type.  It happens.  Rejections on both sides.

A few days again I was matched with a guy named "Roberto."  I try to stay far away from men named Roberto.  It is not a name that brings me luck.  Worse, another Leo.  Two strikes against him.  I try to keep an open mind.  We trade messages back and forth.  Then we start to communicate by Whats App.  He calls me a few times and we make a plan to meet.

He invites me to the Palacio Duhau.  This is one of the most expensive places you could choose in Buenos Aires. " No, I don't think so.", I text him, "Maybe the second date."   I don't like this kind of showy stuff before you even meet someone.  I tell him that I am more low profile and would prefer a cafe or even Starbucks. (Shudder at the thought, but it is a good place to meet.) He tells me to choose.  I mention a nice cafe near the Plaza San Martin.  He has made a big deal about being at the Chancellery and requested that we meet near the plaza.  

We are supposed to meet at 5:30 pm.  On the day of the big event, when I am on the bus, he sends me a message at 5:15 that he changed our meeting place to Dandy across from the plaza. I don't like this. I know, from experience this is a control thing. One black mark to add. 

I walk into Dandy.  He is sitting there.  A big guy.  He gets up and makes a big show of meeting me. Something else I don't like.  Then starts an almost 90 minute monologue of which I find almost impossible to escape.  I sit like a child in school, learning about the world of "Roberto from Castelar."

Here is what I find so amazing, this guy brought documentation to back up his life story. He tells me that he has several businesses. His main one is to sell an alarm to keep drivers from falling asleep.  He makes a big deal about how he is the "only one" in Latin America with the rights to sell this alarm. He tells me that he was talking to the Secretary of Transportation.  He is shocked when I mention the name of Dietrich.  He pulls out a letter to show me that they approve of what he is doing. I try to read it but he snatches it away.  I noted that it was not signed by the office nor the Secretary of Transportation. 

He proceeds to tell me that the government is going to buy all these units from him and install them in the government cars.  He says that he has the chance to sell them to all the long distance bus companies and taxis.  I smell a rat.

Continuing, he proceeds to tell me that his family owns tons of real estate, including hotels.  He tells me that he loves heavy metal music.  I tell him I don't.  He is excited to go to the Metallica concert.  Not my idea of a good time.  I check this guy out while he blabs on about himself. I get one of my intuitive thrusts.  This guy is a beater.  I don't know why, but I have the sensation that apart from his non-stop talking and bragging, he is not a good guy. He has the potential to be abusive.

Now it is time to look at his Ipad.  He pulls it out and makes a big show.  Everything about this guy is carefully orchestrated.  His problem is that I am 5 steps ahead of him. He has an Iphone. He makes sure I know that.  Apple products are expensive here unless someone brings them to you or you travel. I am not impressed.  I tell him I don't like Apple products that much.  Shock crosses his face. "Hard to hack them."  I tell him.  Now he is bewildered.  This was not in the plan.  I explain to him that for fun I like to root tablets and cellphones.  "You are a hacker?"  he asks.  "Naah, just having fun with my own stuff or friend's stuff."

He quickly changes the topic and moves on to where he went to school.  On the Ipad, I get to see pictures of him growing up.  His family, his friends, and his grade school report cards and diploma. Who does this??  You would have to spend time scanning fotos and uploading them, to do what? Show Tinder women?  Very weird.  Then he whips out an envelope to show me that he is who he is as it is addressed to a Roberto.  The address is handwritten and before I can read all the information he takes it away..again.

In conversation I am finally able to get him to admit, that he has never been out of Argentina, that he could not get a visa to go to the USA.  So much for all his stories.  Talk about a big phony baloney, manicured nails and all. Most likely he is a grifter of some sort.  I tell him I have to go.  My dog needs me to take her out.  Maxi is always the best excuse.

As we walk to the corner I tell him that I am going to take the bus.  He tells me that he didn't drive his very expensive car to the city, that he took a combi.  (I don't know anyone with means who takes public transportation or combis.  They all tease me because I do.) I add to his black marks. He tells me that he is going to the Palacio Duhau for a meeting. Liar, liar, liar.

He insists on walking a different way to get to Cordoba.  This makes me a little nervous.  My overactive imagination kicks in.  I make myself aware of my surroundings.  We stop in front of a 3 star hotel.  He tells me that his grandfather owns it. Blah Blah Blah and what do I think.  "Nice," I tell him.

As we walk he tells me has his shirts custom made by the same tailor who makes Menem's shirts.  We pass a nondescript and closed store.  He tells me leaning in "Anyone who is anyone buys their clothes there." He mentions several actors, politicians.   He almost insists that I go there.  I tell him "Sorry, I am an Old Navy kind of a gal." I cannot wait to ditch this guy.

Finally we arrive at Córdoba.  He knows exactly where the bus stop is.  This is weird.  Another black mark.  He insists on standing in line with me and blabbing. Finally it is my turn to board.  I almost run onto the bus.  I survived.

I google his alarm for the hell of it. All the hits are ones where you can buy it on Mercadolibre for under 200 pesos. (about $12 USD) I am sure this guy was trying to set me up to clean out my bank account.  He picked the wrong woman.  Not all blonds are dumb.

Men named Roberto don't work for me.  Tomorrow I am going to meet someone called Vicente. Mejor! (Better) I hope that I have better luck.



Dating with Deby: Mork from ... Buenos Aires

My friends tell me that although they only wish me well and to be happy in my life, they hope in some ways that I never find Mr. Right. After all, that would mean this chapter of my blog would end. Since that does not seem to be eminent in the near future, they have nothing to worry about.  Let the dating disasters continue.

I was sick for a week or two.  What can you do stuck in an apartment with a crazy dog and a diabolical cat?  Not a whole lot.  I watched 4 seasons of House of Cards.  Then back to looking at the online profiles.  I had a ton of messages.  Wading through them is an ordeal.  You have to look at what they write, then go to their profile.

The traditional first contact from most men is to tell you how beautiful you are.  I hate that.  I know, it might sound weird, but I hate it.  8 out of 10 messages are either; "Hola" and nothing else, or  "Sos hermosa" (you are beautiful) What this means is that almost no one reads my profile, they just look at the pictures.  

One man in particular stood out.  He actually looked like Robin Williams.  Robin Williams in his late 40s, early 50s. He had several pictures.  He gave his profession as "aviation."  Now this could be anything from baggage handler to counter clerk to pilot. Usually the pilots take pictures of themselves dressed as pilots.  Those guys are another class.  The Argentine Robin Williams doesn't smoke and he says he likes to go to the movies.  Both good things.

I answer the Argentine Robin Williams whose name is actually Eduardo.  He seems funny.  I say "seems" because writing online is a whole different ballgame than actually meeting someone.  He asks if I have Whats App.  Not having Whats App is like not having Facebook.  Everyone has Whats App.  I tell Eduardo Robin Williams that I have Whats App, but I do not what a cyber relationship.  I am not interested in dating via a phone app.

Eduardo Robin Williams Mork from Buenos Aires calls me.  He is like Robin Williams.  He has bad English that he so proud of, that it makes  him sound like he is from another planet. I ask him if we can please speak in Spanish.  "Oh," you want to practice," he says.  Easier to say yes than to tell him that listening to his English is like being at work.  After a short conversation we make a time to meet.  He tells me that he has a meeting on Friday in Palermo, and he could come afterwards.

Friday.  I wait on the corner in front of the Havanna Cafe.   I wonder if it is worth getting dolled up for.  Yet, you never know. I am approached by Eduardo Robin Williams Mork from Buenos Aires, who is not the Robin Williams of his pictures.  That Robin Williams was in his earlier years, this is a craggy version of Robin Williams.  Still nice looking, but older than the photos. The first words out of his mouth are "You look just like your pictures."  Imagine that.  Instead I just smile.

He decides that we should go to a  Cafe Martinez that is a couple of blocks away. I hate their coffee, but it doesn't matter.  It is close and it has chairs.  As we walk, I try to make small talk. It is a little awkward to try to talk with someone who is more interested in looking at themselves in the store windows.  "So,"  I ask him, "how did your meeting go?" He tells me it was fine.  For whatever reason, he tells me that he left his car near where he had his meeting, and he took the subte.  I suppose this is to let me know that he has a car.  The car makes the man here.

We enter Cafe Martinez, and I ask him where does he want to sit.  I know that this must seem weird, but women do that here. In the 10,000 coffee dates I have had here, even when the man asks me where I want to sit, he always says no, and selects a different place, so rather than go through that dance, I just ask. He selects a table near the window and then selects the seat he wants.  Mork from Buenos Aires.  I have to bite my lip so I don't laugh.

We face each other. "So," he says, "How do I know you?" I am a little surprised. Before I can say anything a barrage of words come out of his mouth, "Tinder, Match, Badoo?" This is not exactly how one expects a first meeting to go. "I'm on all of them." he confides. "Zonacitas." I tell him. "Oh," he says. "Yes, that one."  I wonder if he numbers his dates.

The guy said he works in aviation, and I am curious to find out as what. "Do you work for the airlines?" I ask him. "No, I take decisions." For whatever reason he has decided to switch to English. I hate this. "You make decisions?" I ask him. "No," he says, "I take decisions."I explain to him that in English, you do not "take" decisions, you "make" them. He insists, "No, I take decisions." I just love when Argentines argue English grammar with me. "In Spanish," I explain to him "tomas una decision. You cannot make a direct translation. We make decisions, not take them, in English"

I realize that he is not looking at me. I turn around slightly. Now I understand why he wanted to sit here. He is looking at himself in the mirror that runs along the wall. He goes back to the decision issue. "Are you sure?" I want to slap him. "Besides," I tell him, someone who makes decisions is called a decision maker, and that is not a profession. It is part of their job." "Maybe." is how he acknowledges my correction. I am trying to finish my coffee fast. I would much rather go to the gym.

He then asks me, "What is it you do again?" I smile at him. "I teach English and do translations." I want to add that I also torture myself with Internet Idiots like you, but I don't. I am trying to be polite. I feel like I am in a bad Robin William's movie, only I don't think that there was ever a bad Robin Williams movie. At this point I don't even care what this guy does. He probably decides what luggage to put on the carousel.  Or maybe a gate agent.  Who cares...

He leans over "What has been your experience on the site?"  I shrug my shoulders.  How do you answer this? "OK", I tell him. "Some are nice guys, but not for me, some don't look like their picture, some there is no connection."  "Me too." he says.  "What are you looking for?"  I ask.  "I don't know, someone out of this world." "I imagine so."  I tell him.  Eduardo Robin Williams Mork from Buenos Aires.