Looking to Paul Simon for some inspiration tonight. I must say I’ve come back to my idyllic casa in a bit of a huff. I don’t want the four people who read my blog (thanks Mom, Dad, Binendra & Aunty Wendy) to think I am trying to puff myself up by bragging about what a big deal I am in the Latin world, but I’m going to write about it anyways – because I need to vent and also since you four seem to find these posts quite amusing.
My Spanish teacher is a cool guy. We meet each day for 3 hours and he suggested at the beginning that we cook and see local sights as ways to use the language practically. This sounded wonderful so I committed to a daunting 20 hours over seven days and as a product so far I’ve learned about Colombian culture, jungle life, the drug trade, military service and traditional remedies for bug bites (marijuana soaked in alcohol). Today was day 5. I knew going in it could be a challenging day, and and not just for those tricky pronombres y adjectives indefinidos.
Last night my married, father of two, profesor espanol put the moves on. Sadly this time I couldn’t just say “no entiendo” – he speaks English too! The full court press was on, I couldn’t get the guy to shut up or get him to move those Spanish lips of his a few feet farther away. Add pouring rain to the scene and imagine my difficulty in convincing him to leave my house and walk to his bus. It was a sticky situation. Somehow I eventually got him out the door and just barely had the energy to stay awake till 8:30 when I just couldn’t think of how to get out of my remaining lessons.
If yesterday was a full court press today was fucking warfare.
I opted to meet my amorous profesor in Santa Marta in the Juan Valdez coffee shop instead of at my house. Because of the distractions yesterday we had not covered enough Spanish to have me prepared for today’s lesson, so it was a very dense, frustrating few hours. In the last 30 minutes he suggested we walk to see the sunset. Immediately I knew I was in trouble.
There are so many – so so so many – reasons not to take a local lover when traveling. My friends joke about it all the time, and usually I laugh and say I “have one in every port”, but in reality it is such a bad, bad idea. I learned early how much it sucks to hurt someone who gets romantic ideas about a trans-continental relationship (about the least romantic thing there is).
Plus, you could add an element of danger to it… I remember being in Turkey when my girlfriend zoomed off in a battered car with our Turkish paragliding instructor and with beer-soaked eyes I peered out the window, scrambling to record the license plate with the only writing implement I could find – her eyeliner. (She was fine by the way. I could just be paranoid).
Anyways, as the sun glowed red in the sky behind purple clouds, amongst vendors trying to sell me sunglasses and naked kids swimming in the ocean, my dear profesor expressed his love, saying I just didn’t understand the depth of his emotion – I can’t know how attractive he finds me. I mean, I’m perfect, I’m exactly his type: “You’re exactly what I want. You’re tall and you’re white.” No lie. Seriously, it was that romantic. (Are you hearing this ex-boyfriends?!)
In the last couple years there has been action on social media from women who feel we (women) need to exercise our honesty muscles and not use boyfriends (real or fictitious) as an excuse for why we aren’t interested in a man (see a blog post on this here). This author postulates this behaviour feeds the idea of women belonging to men. The general gist is something like this:
“Male privilege is “I have a boyfriend” being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another male-bodied person more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest.”
For me, it’s not so much about male privilege as it is about being a grown up with the right to do/think/say/feel whatever I want and recognizing responsibility comes with it – a girl should be truthful as it provides tools to modify behaviour. Social feedback lets people know what is and is not acceptable. Nothing changes if we all stay silent, right? Those ideals expressed, I have to say practicing it is exceptionally difficult – especially in this country. I’m just not strong enough to live it, and now desparately wish I’d talked about a novio on my first meeting with my dear profesor. How much easier would life be now! Saying “Lo siento, No me interesa” here just seems to be reason to improve one’s persuasion skills.
Tomorrow we’re meant to walk the town and go to the beach, but I’m anxious about how to get him back on that bus once the lesson is over. Add to that he knows where I’m living (he said he’d like to drop in for a visit tonight, despite my protestations. Thankful for my 10ft wall now I must say). Regardless, I can’t hide forever – I have to see the dear profesor to pay him for the second half of my lessons.
Paul, what do you have to say? (Or, my dear audience of 4, do you have any useful tips?)