As my brother was staying with me at the beginning of my stay, I couldn’t really do any serious searching for a little Latin lover. We went out a few times, but any potential candidates most certainly would have thought he was my boyfriend, so I did my best to slip in “es mi hermano” whenever I spoke to any cute waiters, hotel staff or friendly chatters in a crowd. I soon realized, any efforts would be in vain… until he left, or at least I could get the ball rolling when he went down to Patagonia.
The very night of his flight down south, I set to work with two missions: finding friends and setting up an online dating profile (the former will come in another blog). It was time to revive Nicolette, my dating profile alter-ego. Okay, I’ve only ever mustered up enough effort to set up an online dating profile this one time as an experiment with Clém, one which survived less than 24 hours, but I thought that she would be perfect for this new little trial. Pseudonym decided, now, which site should she appear on?
After a quick google search on dating in Buenos Aires, I found a website which said that a certain “fishy” site was more greatly used here than others. I did have a handful of friends who’d used it with success so I thought porque no? I wanted to keep things simple and POF seemed rather easy to use. I plugged in some simple facts, lazily wrote an intro text in English and clicked save. I thought I would then on the road to cruising for a cute local hombre, then all this personality and romantic philosophy kept popping up! I’m only going to be here for another month! I was looking for a fun few week romance not Señor Perfecto, well, unless he fell out of the cielo into my lap… I did sort of harbor a secret fantasy of potentially being whisked off my feet by a hunky gaucho, off we’d ride to his estancia ranch which I’d convert into a winery and organic farm and we’d live happily ever after. La Tigresse fantasies always come partially true… but not exactly as dreamt up! It was time to go fishing!
While setting up my POF profile, I was also cruising the Internet for just “friends.” One way I thought would work is through the expat site Internations.org. I’d been a member in Paris for ages, but hadn’t really done anything with them in years, I could surely find a few expats or locals to be my friend via their site so I posted a friendly shout out on their forum seeing if anyone would like to hang out with me… Friendly messages began pouring in! And some more than friendly ones…
Amongst the little landslide of invitations for coffee, tango dancing, walks in the park that I received was a message from a photographer giving his number suggesting I whatsapp him to meet for a coffee. Hmmm, a photographer… that could be more interesting than a little coffee date! Poking around on his profile, I noticed he was from Texas and Argentina. Could a little cross-cultural background be the right mix? From his photo he did seem attractive, though it was hard to really tell because of the cap he was wearing. It didn’t really matter if he was completely adorable or not if we were just going to be getting a coffee, right? I’d be avoiding using whatsapp since it always brings up unpleasant memories, but it wasn’t fair for me to discriminate against this useful means of communication because some people use it inappropriately. I braved up and sent him a friendly hello with my number.
Meanwhile… back on POF I was getting a few tugs at my fishing pole. However, the “best relationship prospects” the system dug up were hardly appetizing, luckily I had a few better fish in the “views” and little hi messages in English which I’d also received, that said, with these dismal results, I was about to move my pole into a different pond!
Then I received a message from yet another photographer. Were all these “photographers” on these sites just looking for “models” for sketchy snapshots? There was something which drew me to this particular profile over the others so I hit reply. After exchanging a few messages on the website, he suggested moving over to email, it would be easier than logging into POF all the time. That made sense. I was starting a draft email from my regular account when I stopped dead in my typing tracks. Crap. He thought I was “Nicolette”… I couldn’t write from my real email! A quick trip to the gmail homepage solved that. Nicolette’s life was taking shape!
Back on whatsapp, the Texan had replied to my message rather quickly, yet, instead of just a amicable hello and suggestion for a day to meet for coffee, he starts a “get-to-know-you” dialogue. This wasn’t what I’d been expecting, however, he hooked me in with some flattery and what I took to be Texan charm. “Ohhh a Texan!” replied Sassy when she heard I’d met this virtual cowboy, “that could be sexy!” Pretty soon I was learning about his divorce, what he was looking for in a woman and his favorite sports teams (like I knew anything about any of those subjects!!). This wasn’t harmless chit chat, it felt like he was the one I’d met on the dating site! It looked like I might be lining up my petite romance one way or another! The Texan was starting to creep ahead of Mr POF.
It sucks here! I want to come back! Texted my brother, miserable and all alone down in Patagonia. The poor thing was having a rough go and a queasy stomach to make matters worse. But I was just getting my BA life started! He wasn’t supposed to come back until the weekend and it was Tuesday… I’d be losing out on three possible date nights. Nevertheless, I couldn’t really make him suffer so I helped him come back putting my hypothetical romance on hold… though time was ticking, if I was going to have a little aventura it would need to get going, so the day my brother flew home the following week I was back on track… skipping out on an expat meetup to have a long awaited date with the Texan.
By this time, over the course of our back and forths, I knew that he couldn’t be really 100% Texan. His grammar and spelling were often shaky, he did say something about his parents being from Argentina but that he was raised in the US and was a proud Texan. There were other things that were a bit off such as him starting to “miss me” already even though we hadn’t even met, him being a bit demanding when I hadn’t replied fast enough to one of his messages and the fact that we wanted a lot of children (that wouldn’t be happening with me!). His age was also a bit of a mystery. All things considered, I still wanted to meet him and was truly hoping the date would go well.
Tuesday the 13th. In Argentina it wasn’t Friday the 13th which brought bad luck, it was Tuesday. Had this cultural superstition put a bad omen on our evening? As you can see, The Texan thought it was still safe, at the end of the evening, I knew otherwise. We’d arranged on meeting in trendy Palermo, I said he could choose where we could go… to surprise me as long as there would be something vegetarian.
Things almost immediately got off to the wrong foot, less because I was 20 minutes late (opps! It always took longer to get places in Buenos Aires that I thought) and more because when I arrived he started with a “am I different from what you thought?” line … then when I said where are we going… he said “oh anywhere” he didn’t even have a nice place in mind! I could also tell he’d lied about his age… apparently 38 but once again he dropped the odd comment of “do you think I’m older than that?” He then went on to say that all woman abandon him, not exactly first date conversation either! Lastly throughout our dinner at just an average bar/café he asked me if I was chatting with anyone else (to which I responded no as I wasn’t chatting with the POF guy, not a lie)… and then his phone was buzzing with whatsapp notifications all night! (Looking back over his messages to pick a few out for the post, I came across one where he’d already asked this.)
Our conversation was fine but any sparkle that had been kindled over our whatsapping was quickly fading. Once we’d been sitting around for a while after finishing our salades, he suggested going for ice cream, then two minutes later said “oh maybe you don’t want an ice cream if you don’t want to get fat.” I didn’t even want an ice cream to begin with… I really didn’t want one then! The cherry on this ice cream sundae of a date? The restaurant didn’t take credit cards (not so uncommon here)… so I had to pay! He was a little embarrassed and I could tell he hadn’t done that on purpose, promising to pay next time. For me there would not be a next time. As we walked past the closing up ice cream shop, I knew this was the end of the Texan too. For me anyway, he’s not a bad guy and I hope he finds someone who right for him (and those five kids he wants to have).
Relieved to be in a taxi alone back to my place, as soon as I got home I replied to the POF boy seeing if he was still free the next night as we’d tentatively made plans, hopefully take two would be an improvement! We set a rendezvous and off I went. This time I was arrived exactly on time. It was a big intersection, across one direction there was a guy waiting looking at his phone. Was that him? It was sort of hard to tell what he looked like from his profile. Oh dear. I’d never met up with someone like this, was this such a good idea?? I pulled out my phone to text him, secretly hoping that the guy across the street wouldn’t show signs of receiving a new message. Whew. Nothing. Except a little be there in five sms from my date.
Now this was more like it. Not only was he quite cute, he took me to this fabulous hipster bar located in a private mansion. He got the drinks (my credit cards and cash stayed firmly in my wallet) and we sat outside, talking like normal people, not like we were auditioning for each other’s potential life partners. He was funny, interesting and our mansion bar drinks went well. He had to go off to shoot a band (he shoots music gigs in his free time, very cool). So we made a date for the following weekend, a pisco sour and fernet night, the national drinks of Peru and Argentina. The right mix for a fun night, which got repeated a few other times.
Mr POF, who later got nicknamed Pepe, was actually Peruvian, not Argentine. I’d been dreaming of Peru since I was a teenager, it was top of my list of fantasy travel destinations. Unfortunately, it had lost some of its sparkle for me connected to my ex, but Pepe was about to give it back its shine, and I suppose mine too. After months of being romantically jaded, it was time I shed the past and look to the future. Or even just live in the present. Time was ticking though, so it was precisely that which we had to do. My Argentinian romance was not to be with an Argentine at all, but my Tigresse South American romantic fairy tale would have a happy ending after all. No, not ending at that wine-ranch, but a happy ending which will linger and make me want to travel back to Argentina, one day onwards to Peru and now ready to take on some new romantic adventures in Paris or beyond!