Dating Abroad, Travel Destinations »

Dating & Romance

Beware becoming a gringa trophy.

Ecuadorian Men

Men take pride in their masculinity in this country. Ironically, this involves a lot of emotional heart-on-the-sleeve behaviour. Part of being a Latino man is being emotionally volatile as well as being viewed as a firecracker with the ladies.

Latino men like to believe that their obsession with sex is innately linked to their emotional maturity, but let’s call a spade a spade – they are overtly sexually aware and sex plays a big part of how they create their masculine identity. It’s a lot of talk, though, and there is sincerity and honesty behind the bravado.

There’s a variety of men on offer here: lean, muscular, boorish and gentle. A major problem is the glory and social status of hooking up with a “gringa” or foreigner. Incidences of sweet-talking for social climbing are apparent, and even if you’re both sincere – expect to be accused of trophy hunting (or being trophy hunted) by some sour old women.

The advantages are that Latino men are very in touch with their feelings and passions. The sentimentality can be endearing and your physical relationships will be quite different from the generic western clichĂ©. With sexuality playing an important role in Latin culture, you won’t find it too difficult to meet men at bars, clubs – well, anywhere actually.

As with any country where you are a foreigner, be aware that local forces are at play. Local girls don’t appreciate foreigners hi-jacking their turf, so if you get involved in the dating scene here be as sensitive as possible.

Ecuadorian Women

These girls are a glorious mix of Spanish, Indigenous and African, and take pride in their appearance. Well-groomed and well-dressed, they tend to be a little aloof and sometimes take some convincing. Once you’re there, though, they will happily demand exactly what they want, be it attention, sex or commitment. In return you will get a loyal and affectionate partner who will throw herself whole-heartedly into making you happy. This is an unusual mix of self-assertiveness and submission which some men find irresistible or mind-bendingly annoying. You choose.

Generally, dating in Ecuador will result in an extension of your friendship base – you will be introduced to all and sundry, and his/her closer friends will make your well-being their special project – it’s all part of the group mentality. The notorious Latino temper is fictional in Ecuador (apart from the standard drunken idiots), but be aware that some men like to think they can get away with a bit of sex on the side.

Robyn Leslie

I am a South African, which means I like sunshine and sticky-tape coins together so no-one knows I have money in my pocket. An environmental scientist by qualification, I studied at the University of Cape Town. My years there taught me about the grand narratives of communism, neo-liberalism and post-modernism, and how shitty people can be when they can't find a spot to park their car. After that I needed a break and went off to South America, where I lived and worked for a year. Now I am freelancing as a writer and holding out for a job that combines a morally specific mission with valuable, practical development goals. With a salary. Hmmm. By the way, I was just being snarky before. South Africa is totally safe. Really. Come and visit.