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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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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