Dating Colombian Men: The Dos & Don’ts

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Editor’s note 1: This post was updated by Grace on March 8, 2019. The original post was published on September 18, 2014.

Editor’s Note 2: This post contains generalizations that don’t apply to all Colombians and Gringos (but most of them).

Medellín – the city of eternal spring, bandeja paisa and beautiful women. It’s no secret that men from around the world flock here in the hopes of wooing a Sofía Vergara/Shakira and living happily ever after. But what about Colombian men? How do the male locals shape up in comparison to the other half of the population? And moreover, what’s it like to date a paisa guy?

While Colombian women undoubtedly have more of a reputation for their looks – long sleek hair, tanned complexion, curvaceous figures – Colombian men lucked out in the gene pool too. A typical Latino has large dark eyes, facial hair, tattoos and lots of confidence.

Make no mistake, Colombian men are not shy, gringas are likely to experience staring and calls from them just walking down the street. There are also a handful of local men in Medellín who say they are exclusively looking for an extranjera girlfriend (note: the word “girlfriend” is used somewhat loosely). Oh, and come night-time, the charm is severely turned up. In a country where machismo rules and Aguardiente flows, Colombian men have flirting down to an art. From an innocent question at the bar to a gentle brush of your hair, you may find yourself later firmly pressed between a man’s thighs on the dancefloor.

By Frank Romeo

So, if you’re looking to take the plunge and date a paisa, there are a few things to be savvy about. The culture and rules are certainly different here, and to make the most of a fling or lay the groundwork for something long-term, here’s the lowdown:

Do

Embrace looking different

If you’re not from Colombia and want to sample the dating scene, make the most of being a foreigner! Men and women alike tend to be attracted to what’s exotic, so accentuate your different body shape, let down your hair (props if you’re blond), share stories about home and don’t be shy about having an accent. Generally, Colombian men are intrigued by women from overseas, so celebrate where you’re from!

Play hard to get

The chase is probably the most important thing when dating a Colombian man – it’s all about the build-up. Paisa men are particularly determined when it comes to getting a woman and it’s wise to know that your new man is likely to be well-rehearsed in the seductive back-and-forth, so why not enjoy being in charge? Be independent and elusive, don’t immediately show your interest, it’ll make them work harder and the tension is bound to benefit you in other areas…

Say “yes” to new experiences

Chances are, your Colombian guy will want to impress you, and there’s no better way to see the city (or country) than with a local. Make the most of your newfound “friend” and take them up on any meeting places, activities or trips they suggest. You may find yourself in one of Medellín’s hidden gems or even on a plane to a new city.

By illpaxphotomatic

Let them show you off

It’s no secret that Colombian men have gringa-fever, and if you’re lucky enough to be on the arm of particularly handsome guy, expect to be shown off. Colombians are extremely open people and even if your relationship is casual, you may end up meeting most of his friends and family. It’s a compliment that Colombian men want to showcase you, just expect lots of flattery and questions from his male relatives in return.

Know there’s an expiry date

There are way more relationships and marriages between extranjeros and Colombian women than the other way around. Colombian men definitely don’t seem to have the same commitment plans as the females but that doesn’t have to be a negative. A tourist visa in Colombia lasts a maximum of 6 months and very few Colombian men are willing to attempt long-distance. Being aware that your Colombian romance may come to an abrupt close means you can be extra fun, adventurous and direct in the relationship.

Don’t

Don’t Expect them to be on time

There are some things Colombians are: friendly, funny, generous, but being on time is not one of them. If a local says they’ll meet you at 6pm, expect it to be more around 7/8pm or maybe not at all. Unfortunately, dating also falls into this bracket. Just because a guy is interested, doesn’t mean he’s going to start showing up early. Always make flexible plans and bring a book for when you’re kept waiting.

By Daniel M Ernst

Compete with their mom

The reason why Latino men know how to treat a woman? They’ve been raised well. Colombian culture is rooted in family and caring for relatives, especially mothers. While most women are thrilled to learn this, it does come with some difficulties. Men typically live with their parents throughout college and only move out once they’ve found a potential wife, meaning they’re used to being doted on, and you’ll probably have to book a love hotel come the evening. Additionally, there are family norms which may disrupt your man’s calendar. Sundays are usually reserved as a family day, as are puentes and religious holidays. Plus, if you do meet the real number 1 woman in you guy’s life, be prepared to be grilled about your intentions with her prince.

Think you’re exclusive

As well as things could be going, many Colombian men aren’t exactly the monogamous type. Sure, you could be showered with praise and attention but it’s also probable that another girl is hearing the same thing. Paisa men are passionate and known for being promiscuous, so it’s best to not have expectations of loyalty and to take the opportunity to also date other people.

The bottom line is that dating a Colombian man is great fun and one of the best ways to integrate with the local society. While the above do’s and don’ts are generalizations, there’s some truth to the distinct gender roles in South America and being aware of these will ensure you’re smart and happy while dating.

 

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58 COMMENTS

  1. I object to your constant use of the word ‘gringo’. It is unacceptable. If someone comes from Mexico we call them Mexican, from Colombia, Colombian. If we don’t know, we say Asian, American, European etc. There are some pretty gross words for latinos out there but no-one would dream of using them in these kind of articles, so keep the g word out too. I have a name, a country, a language and a culture, just like anyone else, and I object to being referred to in any other way. Please don’t give me that old thing about it being a harmless term either; it’s just a cop out.

    • By “constant” are you referring to just this article, because she only used it twice, or all of the content on Medellín Living? It’s not something I’ve felt the need to filter out as being offensive, but that’s not to say I’m not open to considering it going forward.

      When I first arrived in Colombia and heard “gringo” used in reference to me, my first reaction was to take offense, until I learned that Colombians use it without intention to offend (context matters of course, but in my company it’s never been used in a derogatory fashion).

      I began to see it as simple slang for foreigners in general, and even adopted the use of it myself.

      Another contributor touched on this topic in this post (under the “What Did You Say” section).

      “Simply put, many people here have no idea what they’re dealing with when it comes to foreigners because Medellín has only recently started to open up to the world.

      The individual that you’ve been talking to might literally have never interacted with a foreigner before. Indeed, anyone with blue eyes is labeled a gringo…”

      Even the term “American” is offensive to some people, yet it’s used the same way, as shorthand to refer to people from the United States.

      • You picked up on my use of the word constant; perhaps this was a reference to the whole blog, and I have raised the issue with you before. When recently in Medellin, I asked a local friend if he would call me a “gringo” if I was black, to which the reply was a definite “no”, so it does denote race. You say white, blue eyed people. What about white, brown eyed people or myself with green eyes? (a clue in itself to mixed racial origins) Whilst in common use in the Latin American world, this does not mean it is acceptable. In the days of Mark Twain, the ‘n’ word was accepted in much of North America. Now it is not. It is a matter of educating people, but this cannot be successful if people refer to themselves with racial stereotypes. As long as foreigners in Latin America refer to themselves in this way, it is a losing battle. That is the most offensive thing for me.

          • Actually Des, I have a lovely time in Medellin every time I visit, and by way of a relationship i am involved in real life there, not that of the typical expat. I have been living amongst Latin Americans both here in London and in Colombia for many years now, and I get on very well with them. I avoid the ex pat community in Medellin because of bigoted people like yourself. Oh, and by the way, I have been working in multicultural education for over 20 years, specialising in Ethnic Minority achievement. In that time I have seen racism in many forms. It comes from ignorance mostly…

          • Des. The word is ‘whingeing’ and it is spelt with an ‘e’, but I suppose I can’t expect correct spelling from an ex pat such as yourself!

        • I understand where you’re coming from, though I’m still not convinced “gringo” is a racial slur. I’ll give some more thought to whether we should be using it on the blog.

          In regard to the “white, blue eyed people” comment, those weren’t my words. I was quoting another writer. If you read the section of the article I linked to you’ll see the point that writer was trying to make was that Colombian society doesn’t tend to see the difference, green eyes vs white, US citizen vs Canadian. Gringo is a catchall phrase for foreigners.

          This is a similar discussion to Jay Z and most rappers’ use of the n-word. According to Jay Z, as artists they co-opted it, changing it from an ugly word to a “term of endearment” (his words, not mine). According to him, this took the power out of the word.

          Oprah questioned him directly on this (video here) and they agreed to disagree. This sums up how I feel about the use of gringo. The intent behind the use of a word is what matters more than the word itself.

          • Thank you for being at so reasonable and considerate about this David. I worked for years in London schools, often having to deliver policies and actions to combat racism in communities that have more diversity than anywhere in the Americas, including New York. Understanding and respecting differences seemed to be the only way forward, but also assumptions, no matter how harmless they may seem, should always be challenged.

          • there is already the word “extranjero” to mean foreigner..what’s wrong with that word exactly? I think people claim words are harmless but use them one way amongst an all-Latin group (referring TO ‘gringos” and differently to people’s faces..like how Spaniards use “guiri” funny how there is a double standard..can I say “Beaner” or “Greaser” if I mean no harm by it?

        • I myself come from Colombian parents and visit Medellin every year. I have brown eyes and brown skin and I’m also still called “gringa”. It’s not meant to be offensive it’s what makes you unique in the crowd of paisas. It’s literally how you want to take it and if you’re that sensitive about it get ready to be called “gringo creido”.

          • You are so right pero que saben ellos que an llamado tantas hentes afuera de su nombre por el color. Yo creo que una hente como ellos con la historia de mi paez U.S. y de lo que yo se, a leido y a visto esas hente no son nada de buena. Yo lo puedo si decir porque yo soy mitad gringa y Latina. So I know both worlds. Por favor me perdonas los errores, no encuento los lentes de lear Y mi espanol para escriber no es como yo quisera. Gracias por tus palabras y alomehol nos encontramos otra ves on line. Con respeto….Nin

        • The word “Green go” came from the Vietnam War. When the North American troops were attacking the Vietnamese troops, the Vietnamese heard the “Green go” as a military term; therefore, the word “Greengo” was implemented to make reference to the North American army or their allies. Not really an offensive term against anybody. Colombians in general use the term to refer to people with a an Anglo appearance and background regardless of their country, again not intending to offend them.

      • David I have to agree with you, I have found Gringo many Colombians use is like Flacko, Gordo etc a nickname in friendly terms

    • I find zero offence in the word gringo. In fact, I introduce myself as a gringo. Dont bring your victim culture down here.

    • We don’t use it in a pejorative way at all! I have been living in the states for 13 years and I am now a gringa for some of my friends. Gringo is only a way to call someone from the 🇺🇸. Hugs Catalina.

    • Aw man dont play into the whole race baiting crap. I get where your going with this but dont play into it man. Everyone needs to stop focusing on this garbage. Were going backwards here

    • I’m media Colombiana, born and raised in the United States. Please don’t impose Anglo-Saxon culture onto other countries. The term “gringo” is not offensive in Colombia. As someone else mentioned, we also call people “gordito” o “flaquito”, too, and Matt call any brunette “negrita” (even if she’s white). We sometimes use physical attributes as terms of endearment. It’s not meant to be offensive in any way.
      However, saying that there is reverse racism and that the experience of a caucasian man is at all similar to the racism and opression experienced by people of color is incredibly ignorant. I don’t know where you teach multicultural education, but you should be ashamed of yourself. Color blind is not acceptable in this day and age, we must have an awareness of the oppressive experience of others and, sorry, white men do NOT suffer the same prejudices as people of color (including in Colombia). Fyi, I’m a Doctor of Social Welfare and I teach about oppression at an ivy league graduate school.

  2. ‘So if you’re looking for a date in Medellín, first thing’s first; forget dating an expat. They are only here for the paisa women, and anyone who tells you they aren’t, is probably lying.’

    This is a ridiculous statement.

    • Is it? In my experience, it holds true for most of the single male friends I’ve had in Medellín since 2009, as well as the guys I’ve met in passing.

      If they arrive here without a girlfriend, and choose to stay for any length of time, it’s highly likely they’ll begin trying to meet and date Colombian women, not fellow foreigners.

      • I don’t think it makes sense to write-off an expat just because he is in a foreign country. Meeting paisas might be the intent of one’s trip, but two people could hit it off anytime anywhere in the world. I would imagine two foreigners meeting each other in a different culture could be a unique experience they could share.

    • I understand what you’re saying Dani. I think absolutes can be a touchy way to describe things and maybe “most expats” or something to that effect would have been better? To say “all” would require someone to be omniscient and ubiquitous and I know of no such person. But I think Lisa intended that portion of the story as a tongue-in-cheek thing, not anything meant to stereotype all male expats…

  3. Dani & Ryan, yes that statement is meant as tongue in cheek and not to stereotype all expats. There’s a disclaimer at the top to say that this is not a generalisation. The article is meant as a bit of fun and like with any country, everyone is not the same but I have just taken the general consensus for the article. I have changed the wording to ‘most’ to make this clearer.

    • I think the whole blog needs to pay more attention to diversity in general. Not only are there narrow assumptions of nationality/ethnicity but also sexual orientation implicit in much of its content.

      • Paul, this is Ryan, the managing editor. If you could please list a half dozen stories that fail to meet your approval when it comes to diversity, I will give it my fullest attention. Our goal is to have diverse content on this site and I am open to any constructive criticism that can help us achieve that.

        Thank you 🙂

        • Ryan, I can only talk about impressions on those rare occasions I have looked at the blog. To trawl through it and find examples would be very time consuming. Your recent article about LGBT Pride is very welcome and provides a much needed balance against all the dating articles.

          • Thanks for the compliment about the LGBT story. I encourage you to follow us and you will see more stories like that. I am of mixed race — in my family there are whites, Japanese, Colombians and Brazilians, so my goal is to properly represent diversity, not just with race or sexual orientation, but with everything. It’s the reason we even cover so many parts of Colombia, despite the fact that our name is Medellin Living and we are based here. But we appreciate your feedback and will try to continue to improve 🙂

        • Kevin, I can see that you understand and agree with my point, but it is not a good idea to sink to their level by using other offensive terms.

      • Why is it that the people who disagree with me are so offensive rather than just disagreeing in a reasonable way? It speaks volumes about you!

      • Oh dear Mike. You choose to live in Colombia to avoid the PC brigade. but you know that old saying “Wherever you go you take yourself with you”, which in your case might cause some problems. BTW what was your surname? You didn’t include it.

      • Paul, Naturally you may think what you wish. And many thanks to Ryan for being so kind. I live in the US and do not consider the term gringa/gringo derogatory. Tapped into this site today to gain insight about Columbian men. One had very recently tried to entertain me. We work together at the same school. I would say our values do not combine well. He is 60ish, invited himself to my house to watch a movie (first date). I played along. He admitted he has been separated 8 years. We watched a very sweet movie, Born Romantic. I felt he was disappointed that I did not want to have intercourse and let him spend the night. Yikes. I am 50ish and not interested in sexual encounters until I get to know someone. Cest la vie.. I do recommend the movie though.

        Studies seem to indicate there have always been struggles to some degree with regards to diverse people and thinking. Yet it remains that we cannot control what people think, say, et cetera ..

        Understanding different perspectives and working toward this understanding seems a worthwhile endeavor..

        Reno, Nevada

  4. So far, no one has actually commented on the subject matter – dating a Colombian man!! I have dated Colombian men in both Medellin and London so I was interested to read your thoughts. I think you are pretty spot on with everything you’ve said. Colombian men are indeed chivalrous, they make a real effort to look and smell nice, are very complimentary and they’re damn good fun quite frankly. I agree with your comments about their negative traits too. I can live with most of them apart from the general acceptance that it’s perfectly OK for them to have several girls at once. At first when dating, anything goes but once it gets into relationship territory, how can this be so acceptable? They get away with it because everyone just accepts/expects it and so they don’t worry about there being any consequences. Instead, as you say, the result has been that now many women are at it too!!!!

  5. Hey guys, thanks for finally writing this article, it’s been a long time coming!! I loved it!! Please give us more stuff on the female perspective in Medellin!!! 🙂

  6. I must have been needing an adrenaline rush cuz when Paul lost it and succumbed to sarcasm ie. Trawling and a reference to the rarity with which he finds himself following Medellin Living I injured myself laughing!

    Sounds remarkably like someone can’t get the closet door open.

  7. David, I meant to thank you for your Playa del Carmen article. Heading back down in November to escape the deep freeze that is Toronto and sooo looking forward to that beach!

  8. This article sounds too stereotypical and generalizations are usually just wrong. Not all paisa women care about the material things they can get out of relationships or at least not more than women from the United states do. Gringo is not a derogatory term is just a way to refer to people of USA as American would mean everyone from the American continent… western world? So what is Colombia? There is no magic formula to get a Colombian man or any other, be yourself, and if there is chemistry then something may work out … i don’t know about bucket list worthy.

    • Very well said sir. You are right not all Paisa women care about material things from men. We have a gringa writing about us, how American is that? I am also American but I can see how we will make money and publicity even on other’s miseries by writing books and documentaries and what not. We even have them writing about how we treat relationships, not on an individual basis but in a whole, she refers to Paisa men Paisa women.

  9. folks, go to etymology >…. etymonline.com or wiktionary,org and look up the roots of the word GRINGO! stop bugging over stuff, that’s like saying the word nigger is wrong… the word nigger came from negro which came from NEgro…. and negro is a latin word which simpoly means black in colour. Gringo doesn’t come from the folk myth from MExico for the word existed in the Spanish dictionary way before the mexican american war! it comes from GRIEGO… greek! and in Colombia it means white westerner, basically to its most basic point. and afterwards vaguely oultander, but yes more of race. as white westerner. I live in Colombia and am Colombian and understand the way we use it here. In mexico maybe is it only used for USA for USA is their closest white western country, so that goes without saying wherefore they use it only for them. while for Colombia since we don’t have a border with any white western nation, do we not only think of americans. in Brasil go look in the dictionary what gringo means in Portuguese from Brazil… it means any foreigner … even a Colombian in Brazil could be called a gringo… the word began in the Iberian peninsula a long time ago…! the word white westerner is a great definiton for an ethnicity and therefore is gringo too! or green-go! it’s all good! if you don’t know how to understand things will… well, you’ll definitely not understand the secret of Colombian happiness!

    Jesus loves us!

  10. i would never advise my friend to date a colombian man, not even for fun. by far the worst of all latinos i was unfortunate enough to date. lying, cheating and manipulation are their normal language and they will not even think twice if there is anything wrong with doing it to you, knowing very well that you actually trust them, because apparently they gave their best to convince you they’re trustworthy. and always use protection with them, you don’t know where else he’s sticking it. in general i’d never suggest any of my girlfriends to date a latino, but i insist that colombians are by far the worst. apparently a society which cherishes superficial relationships, selfishness and sociopathy as their norm. save yourselves time, effort and pain. be single, date other people, go to the fucking monastery, buy a dildo…everything but dating THEM.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I recently met a Colombian in the US who invited me to visit him in Colombia after my trip to Costa Rica, where I am from. I was really tempted to go because he is very charming. While in Costa Rica I shared my plans with my friends and they all warned me about the reputation of Colombian men. Your article has just reinforced what they said. I am not going to Colombia!

  11. Don’t date Colombian men you will regret it, they are selfish and egotistical and lying comes easy to them. Try anyone else but them, they are not worth the trouble. One of my biggest mistakes was dating a Colombian man. Just a warning to all the other ladies thinking of making the same mistake I made.

  12. Hi mi name is David Betancur, I appeared in the first picture, I never accepted to publish one of my pictures, I’m worry about it because is my image to the world, I dont want this picture related to this topic, I ask for delete this content. Thank you so much

  13. Why would you wanna date somebody is broke with no money, no decent job, lives with his momma and has 3 novias?
    I don’t just get it. Anyways, no wonder all Paisitas wants us-Gringos. I don’t mind being used as Cajero but atleast I am getting some.
    To the eternal spring,
    Long Live Medellin and it’s Paisitas!!!

  14. A couple more “Don’ts” for the ladies: Stop dressing so casual and looking like hippies. Take cues from the paisitas and start dressing beautifully and wearing makeup. Lose some weight, too.

    Oh, and drop the gringa attitude. Try being sweet for a change.

  15. My name is Terry and I married a Colombian Male FROM Pereira Colombia and we live in the US.
    We are a gay couple.
    It’s tough, language barriers at times, but he is stubborn, thinks he knows everything, and we fight all the time, the only time we are not fighting is when we are having sex.
    Been married 5 years already….

    Thanks
    Terry