Romance in Argentina: Dating Tips and Advice

Sorrel Moseley-Williams

Sorrel Moseley-Williams

This is not a Facebook relationship status but trust me, it’s complicated. Embarking on the minefield which is Latin dating can be riddled with uneven paths and furious explosions as well as tears, suffering and angst. Over the top? No way, José – I was married to an Argentine for nine years and could be the person to get you clambering over the initial hurdles with some first dating tips.

My lessons in Argentine love kick off with a psychology degree. If you’re already qualified, then you’re streets ahead of the rest of us. Your journey and my story end here. Three extra years of studies aside, a peek at the national psyche won’t hurt: around two-thirds of Argentines’ roots belong in the birthplace of the pizza (classic date fodder, by the way) and if anyone likes a drama, it’s the Italians. The eruptions, the bubbling passion, the fire – Vesuvius might as well be mixed into the Argentine gene pool.

“You have to work much harder, that’s for sure” – British man

Blowing hot and cold is all part of the game so take an Argentine-size pinch of salt when embarking on a new adventure. One blogger simply calls it a “rollercoaster”. In fact, you’ll have to work even harder since being single is apparently in fashion, even when Tinder and Happn are the most popular dating apps these days (with 20 and 10 million users each other). Or what it’s even worse: “We are the generation who doesn’t want a relationship but the problem is is that, at the end of the day, we actually do” – The Huffington Post.

Follow me

A media naranja (other half) is kept on their toes from the early stages, needy and anxious like a sick puppy on a drip feed. Will he ring? The answer’s no, not for three days, WhatsApp messages will be key in the beginning. Will she reply to my text to go for a drink? Unlikely and what if your castellano isn’t up to scratch? Knock back two pints of Dutch courage to call, indulging her in an ego massage and putting your own vulnerable pride and linguistic skills on the line. Warning one: texts invariably “don’t” arrive when it’s convenient for them not to. Warning two: many Argentine women give booze a wide berth so perhaps coffee and a cupcake is a better first-date option… they’re sweet of the tooth, you know.

Beso en la playa
Romantic stroll on the sand – Ph by Yolanda

“Argentine men are unfaithful and annoying” – Salvadoran woman

Although it would take a giant-size broom to clean up that sweeping statement, the general consensus is that Argentines are histericos (hysterical) – but even they agree with that. Like a river, every twist and turn brings about a new drama or excuse so brace yourself for a rocky ride, and don‘t be surprised if the object of your obsession already has a media naranja. Always have a plan B to accommodate for forgotten birthday parties and cousins’ graduations when the inevitable last-minute bailout message arrives. Come up with your own “must-go-to” house warming bash mid-date and see how they like the tables being turned. They’ll probably love it – and be back for more.

Conversely, the ones you wouldn’t touch with that giant broom are persistent. An American sommelier met a bus driver in a bar. Over dinner, the guy called her four times, with nothing relevant to say. By the time we paid, even I was over him.

Game of Two Halves

Asking foreigners about dating Argentines offered up a huge amount of feedback but there are principally two lines: dates from hell and those with happy endings. One girl tried to stab a French-Canadian friend with scissors; another story involved a gay Satan worshipper picked up at San Telmo’s Sunday fair, who was later found to have a net hanging above his bed. Who knows how many unsuspecting gringos have been caught up in his web? Conversely, plenty of foreign friends are in a state of marital bliss with Argentines, babies and all, so try not to assume all Argentines carry sharp implements about their person.

On the upside, chivalry has a strong pulse in Argentine’s culture so ladies should expect – and embrace – a return to old-school manners. I went for coffee with a former colleague in London. He marched into the café and bang! I was left with a Starbucks-shaped logo on my forehead. In Buenos Aires I rarely pay for coffee, a cocktail or dinner – unless I’m out with a foreign guy – and my forehead remains logo-free.

Smile because I love you
“Smile because I love you” – Ph by Daniel Lobo

Flexibilty is crucial in making dating work in Argentina, according to Annie Ory, a dating and relationship coach from the US, so maybe I should let that debt go. Working in Buenos Aires for three years with “blended” couples, she says: “Be flexible and adaptive when it comes to local dating and relationship etiquette, keep a firm hold on your own values, and don’t judge. Belief systems, standards of behaviour and assumptions will be different. It’s very common to experience extreme disconnects in communication, expectations and behaviours. When this happens it is fair to tell your partner that certain behaviours are unacceptable to you, but avoid saying things that might make your partner feel you are judging them personally. Remember you are in their world and it is likely that your behaviour is unusual or unexpected. This doesn’t mean you should let go of your own standards of behaviour, just that it is helpful to remember theirs are just as valid.”

By taking on board an expert’s pearls of wisdom as well as my emergency love kit comprising a salt cellar, a titanium-encased heart and a life jacket, perhaps your Facebook status might have to change in the near future.

*This post has been re-edited on February, 2017.

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Sorrel Moseley-Williams
A freelance journalist and sommelier, Brit transplant Sorrel Moseley-Williams lived in Argentina in 1998 for a year before making a permanent move in 2006. She has contributed to CNN Travel, Condé Nast Traveler and Traveller, The Guardian, Saveur, The Independent, Departures, Wallpaper*, Fodor’s and Rough Guide books among others, and has written for La Nación, U-Like It and Forbes Argentina in Spanish.


18 responses to “Romance in Argentina: Dating Tips and Advice

  1. wow, these definitely are some of the most romantic tips available on the internet, thanks for this cool post 🙂

  2. I think these are a good idea. I have done a good bit of online dating and there are a lot of guys on there who say they don't smoke and really do. I will not date a smoker, and the lying is frustrating. I think they know if they tell the truth then they won't get that many hits. Either that or they are in rejection about their smoking habits.

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  4. Adam___M says:

    Am totally agreed with you.Actually am don't have much experience about the online dating but don't want top date a partner which do smoking and drinking.I want that my partner should be a like me our thinking match and so on.Smoking habit is really bad.
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  10. Saminsampa says:

    From a guy’s perspective, dating in Argentina wasn’t that hard. I have spent almost a year there off and on, and I rarely find myself single. I was however, in northwestern Argentina which may differ from Buenos Aires and other regions.

    I found that it was always best to meet people through friends. This doesn’t mean that they set you up, but I always met people at clubs, parties, bars, etc. with whom I shared a mutual friend. Generally, their friend would either outright tell me that they were interested, or I would catch them shooting glances in my direction. From there it was as easy as grabbing their hand and pulling them out on the dance floor. After 10-15 minutes of talking and dancing, asking if you can kiss them (different from the U.S. where you just kind of go for it) usually worked out. At this point you kind of break off from the group and continue to socialize and make out for the next couple hours before exchanging numbers and going your seperate ways.

    Now that I think about it, waiting longer to iniciate contact generally had a positive effect. That is to say, it’s better to call 3-7 days after getting her number than the next day. Although, if she’s genuinely interested, it shouldn’t matter too much. Once you start having dates (which were generally pretty simple: a stroll through the park, grabbing ice cream, visiting a local hangout, etc.) things get more complicated.

    Guys, your Argentine girlfriend is going to be possessive. If you let her, she will most likely monopolize your life. However, she will probably be very jealous of any time you spend with your friends apart from her. Look at her jealousy as more of her expressing how much she cares about you more than her not trusting you. Assure her that she’s the center of your universe (even if she isn’t), and expect to put up with the occasional bout of screaming or flying object. Women in Argentina are certainly passionate, but you have to take the good passion with the bad.

    A final note, people are very touchy-feely in Argentina. Just because a girl has her hands all over you doesn’t mean she is making a move. You need to find a way to get some alone time with her and move to kiss her quickly to show your interest. If you are with a group of people, try to break away from the group and get that one on one time.

    This is long, but I have had more than a handful of flings in Argentina. I wanted to give a guy’s perspective as well as an idea of how things are outside of Buenos Aires. I also felt that the guide focuses more on what to do once you’re in a relationship more than how to initiate one.

    I hope this helps someone. Good luck!

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  12. Nikki Trivette says:

    I’ve had an online romance with a man from Argentina for 7 years now. While he hasn’t been able to leave the country yet, he’s consistently been “there” (online) for me every single day since the day we met, and I can’t imagine life with out talking to him daily. He is not only incredibly sexy, but sweet, mature and supportive in every way. I am head over heels in love and I just pray that one day we can be together, because HE is “the one” for me. 🙂

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