Why I will never date a Latino man
Psychologists say that women often wind up going for men just like their fathers. I stand as proof that it's not always true. In fact, in the spirit of wild overcompensation, I am a one-woman discrimination machine. It wasn't always this way.
The child of Argentine immigrants, I grew up in a traditional house. It was understood that you waited to have sex until marriage. (The nuns who ranted about promiscuity over the intercom at my tiny all-girls Catholic school did a good job of reinforcing this view). You hung on to the first guy you nabbed. You looked askance at other girls who didn't play by these rules. You married someone like dear old Papi, because the gringo guys wanted only one thing. It wasn't hard to date Latino in my predominantly Cuban neighborhood.
My first boyfriend was a dreamy Honduran/Cuban mix with shiny, straight black hair who thought that women should stay home and have babies. For him, I almost did. Later, I went for a pretty obvious Papi replacement in a Latino man 18 years my senior. He liked me fine while I was putting myself through a state college, but when I started my own business at the age of 25, he liked me significantly less.
In my late twenties, my baby alarm started ringing. Loudly. The poor guy who was standing near me at the time was a perfectly lovely Greek man, not Latino, but (as he liked to point out) sufficiently close in sensibility to my Mediterranean ancestors. We bought a house, had babies, got married (in that order) and I knew, above everything, that he would be a solid, traditional, and steady rock. I'd done good.
The trouble started almost immediately. He wouldn't let me use paper plates when he invited his Greek friends over for a barbecue, insisting that I use china when entertaining in the yard. He constantly harangued me about my lack of culinary and domestic prowess. When his mother came to stay with us for three months, I finally understood. She washed every inch of our floors on hands and knees. Every. Single. Morning. Starting at 5:00 a.m. We were doomed from the start.
We shared 12 years of marriage, about 27 minutes of happiness and two amazing children. But, in the end, I knew I had to let go. I am now what I never imagined I'd be: a divorced woman navigating the world of second-time-around dating.
Back to my ruthless discrimination. As I signed up for the dating sites and had to choose my preferences, for race, I found myself checking only "Caucasian." Putting aside the silliness of those labels for a moment (I am, for example, both Caucasian and Latina…why do I have to choose?), it was a pretty deliberate effort to weed out the more traditional guys.
Read more ¿Qué más? Online dating: Is it worth it?
Latino men are facing a glass ceiling with me tougher to crack than the one on Pennsylvania Avenue. In my effort to avoid re-living my stiflingly traditional marriage, I am disqualifying 12% of the population outright. Someone should seriously alert the ACLU. When an email comes in from anyone vaguely Latino-looking or sounding, it gets only a cursory glance and a quick delete. The twenty-somethings looking to learn from my "mature experiences" (read: cougar-ish sexual knowledge) get a response. So does the bus boy who says he cares about more than money (can't discriminate based on that, can you?). But the very nice sales professional who signs his email "Jorge?" Get on the other side of the dating fence, buddy, I won't be serving your family on china in my backyard any time soon.
Of course, I understand this is an overreaction to a difficult time, and that I need to learn to judge people on their individual merits, not their surnames. But, for a while, let me decompress while entertaining advances from a 22-year-old dental student. It feels so much less complicated.
What about you? What are you looking for in a guy? Tell me all about it below, in the Comments section!
Image via Jsome1/Flickr