A couple of nights ago, a group of different-aged women and I were chatting in the kitchen. We had just met, really, introduced by my landlady and we hit it off really well. There were four of us, one single (me), one a widow (my mother), the other divorced (my landlady), and the last one also divorced and dating (my landlady’s sister).
Over coffee and cigarettes, we began to discuss men (what else can four single women do?) and I quickly realized that we Latinas follow a pattern. Whenever I get into the “men” discussion with friends and acquaintances I see that Latinas usually like older men.
The reasons range from the physical to the emotional and end up in the intellectual realm. You see, Latin American men in general (please note that I say “in general”) are different from their counterparts whose personality was shaped in the Northern Hemisphere.
There are positive traits of course, like a Latin man’s warmth of character and their very physical nature, which involves public demonstrations of affection (and private ones as well). Nothing makes a woman feel better than to know she is wanted and that her mate is not afraid to show it. Latin men are usually tender, romantic, and very sweet.
But sadly, these traits don’t seem that amazing when we begin to think about all the other things that turn us off.
First of all, the “kangaroo syndrome” thrives in Latin America (men and women who live with their parents well into their early thirties). This is mainly due to the fact that in Latin America, colleges and universities are located inside the cities, so very few people have to move out when they’re 18. So much for maturing away from home.
Secondly, it is very difficult to work and study at the same time. Salaries in Latin America are low and the working hours long. So actually holding an 8-to-7 job and on top of that studying nights becomes quite a feat. And the possibility of a part-time job is scarce.
I live in Chile, the country with the best economy in all of South America, and over here, very few people can handle working and studying. And the salaries in this “country on the road to development” are, well, you guessed it, low. Just imagine what the rest of Latin America is like. So the above entails getting your first job at 24 and until that time, living off your parents.
There goes maturity gained through hard work and financial independence.
So, topping the list at number one :
1. We like older men because they are more mature, their lives having been shaped by their previous experience of living on their own and holding a steady job.
2. We like the wrinkles around their eyes and the gray hair at the temples. It gives them character.
3. We love the fact that they can actually invite us out because now they can afford to.
4. We like their cultural baggage, that they have more knowledge gained through a longer life span (more books read, more movies watched, etc).
5. We like how they protect us, instead of us mothering them.
6. We like their anecdotes. When you’re 40+ years old you must have a lot of anecdotes.
7. We dig their car. And are thankful they actually own a car.
8. We like the fact that they are gentle, and usually know how to properly treat a woman.
9. We like that they are quieter, less of the party animals they used to be when younger.
10. We like that they have lived long enough to realize that appreciating women for who they really are is of the utmost importance.
Of course, finding an eligible older man who isn’t married or divorced is a whole other story. But we can always dream. And keep our fingers crossed.