The thing about “dating like a Mexican” is that I don’t actually know what it means.
When I go visit my family in Guadalajara, dating rituals are what I understand the least about people (besides women’s need to wear heels all day every day, and men’s hair product habits). From the looks of it, everyone in Guadalajara is always dating everyone else in Guadalajara.
It seems that way to me because people mostly go out in groups. Unless they’ve crossed the threshold into Relationship, people will rarely go out one-on-one with the opposite sex. And in those groups of friends, everyone is always flirting with everyone, or at least that’s what my Puritanical-I-was-raised-in-Chicago eyes see. And on those group outings, the men always pay for the women, no matter what.
So since everyone is always dating everyone, and flirting with everyone, and the women never ever pay when they go out, I have a hard time reading the transition from Dating to Relationship. I have no idea how it happens. Or how people can even tell that someone is into them a little more than someone else.
The one thing that’s very clear, though, is that nothing is Serious — and no one takes any dating scenario seriously — until it is.
I’ve tried dating like a Monica. It’s time to date like a Mexican.
[The one exception is my cousin who, bless his heart, has inherited one of our Family Curses. Not the wonky liver one and not the restless nomad one. He got the "if I think you are nice and you are nice to me, I am now obsessed with you" one. Poor kid. That shit don't play in Guads. ...Or in New York...or in San Francisco, come to think of it. Hm.]
In Guads, while everyone is flirting with everyone, everyone always keeps their cool — until they don’t. And — this part is really important — everyone knows and assumes that the man will *have* to be the one to decide to break his cool and Officially Present to the woman — or, to the woman’s family. I love that this still happens.
The Breaking of the Cool sometimes happens by way of serenading her with a mariachi, sometimes with a really elaborate night out, sometimes just a heartfelt confession under stars somewhere, where he can wax poetical about suns, and moons, and dreams. But there’s an event — which to me seems like it comes out of nowhere — and then everyone knows what the deal is. There are no more questions (if she even entertained any to begin with). The two are TOGETHER and SERIOUS and the families start to get introduced to one another at baptisms, birthdays, and weddings. The relationship is Whole Hog from that point on. Until it isn’t. Or until they get married. No gray.
And that’s precisely what’s always been so confusing to me.
I used to think it was completely unhelpful that there’s only one word for any level of dating in Guadalajara: andando. You’d ask of an extra flirty pair on a Saturday night: “andan?” If someone asks you if you’re with the dude who keeps buying you drinks, and you aren’t but you hang out sometimes, you say, “andamos, pero no somos novios.” Where I would distinguish between being Friends, Friends with Benefits, Dating, Dating Seriously, Lovers, I’m Obsessed with You But I’m Trying to Play It Real Cool (and Failing)…all come under the simple rubric of “andando” in Guadalajara.
All the gray area I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to suss out, understand, find new language and behavior for, just don’t exist in Guadalajara. You’re either doin’ what everyone else is doin’ (andando) and it’s no biggie dealie, or — and, again, the man is responsible for making his case for why you should want to do this — you’re Novios and you just came back from shopping with your boyfriend’s mom.
Now that my twenties are nearing their triumphant end, I’ve grown tired of sussing, and guessing, and dissecting. I don’t wanna do it no’ mo’. Plus I have other things to do. So. I’m gonna online date like a Mexican.
Inspired by Mexicans’ attitude of “it’s no biggie dealie until it is” (and because I can’t do anything unless it’s an extreme version of itself), my version of dating like a Mexican also means I’ m going to try the following experiment: not talking about any man I meet or date from now on. I will only blog about them and hope that my friends have a second, once in a while, to read and offer their critique/support.
I do this on the hunch that one of my worst habits is over-talking dating episodes and either making mountains out of mole hills or, in the words of my acupuncturist, “wasting the energy.” It’s my way of really trying to embody the principle “it’s no biggie dealie until it is.” If you know me, you know THIS IS GOING TO BE REALLY HARD FOR ME TO DO; I love telling stories, with lots of enthusiasm and lots of details.
But. Enough is enough.
Nothing’s important enough to make it into dinner conversation, until the man makes a case for why he’s the awesomest of them all. And he has to bring the big guns with him when he does. I don’t need a mariachi, but it’d be nice.
Oh, and the other thing about dating like a Mexican: no sex.
So, here they are – the rules for dating like a Mexican:
1. No kissing on the first date.
2. I will write a post instead of having a thousand conversations with girlfriends about you (man x who took me on date x).
3. No tongue until the third.
4. I will not think about you (man x) when I’m not seeing you.
5. No heavy making out until the fifth.
6. No version of dry humping maybe ever.
7. I will never be the person to reach out to make plans.
8. Absolutely no clothes taken off until the seventh date.
9. Sex is never an option.
10. I will not have a feeling about you until you open the feeling door. At which point I will decide if I can have a feeling for you (man x).
11. No holding hands.
***Want to read more – and get regular updates on monanona’s romantic exploits? Wondering how these rules will actually play out in the post-dating world? Check out Dating Like a Mexican!
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
Follow Dating & Hookup on Instagram
Follow Jess on Instagram
Follow Becky on Instagram
Follow me on Twitter