Dating Brazilian Women
I was chatting on Skype the other day with a Canadian who now lives here in Brazil and has a Brazilian girlfriend. As I am (once again) experiencing issues with a Brazilian woman, Nick shared this blog post with me. It provides advice to American men regarding dating Brazilian women, and is written by a Brazilian woman currently living in the states who writes under the name BrasilMagic.
I think it’s pretty accurate. As I happen to be pretty much the reciprocal of BrasilMagic – an American man living in Brazil – I thought I’d offer up my own thoughts.
This, I fully realize, is a foray into dangerous territory. Giving advice about dealing with the fairer sex – in particular the fairer Brazilian sex – is inherently risky. Any “rule” one tries to set forth will inevitably prove wrong at times. And of course whatever I write, some readers will disagree. So be it. The lord hates a coward. Onward…
First, I want to echo BrasilMagic’s comment that it’s difficult to generalize too much about “Brazilian women”. Brazil is a huge country, the size of the continental U.S., with pronounced regional differences.
Brazil is also in a state of flux. Only a couple of generations ago, women were really just getting their footing in the professional workplace. The focus was still on raising a family.
Then the Brazilian equivalent of Women’s Lib hit. It hit hard, and it hit fast. Today women are dentists and doctors and lawyers and business owners. There’s still a glass ceiling in the larger corporations, but things are changing. To get an idea of just how much things have changed in the last 20 or 30 years, read this article in National Geographic.
I fully expect to take some heat for some of my comments below. So be it. Our opinions are shaped by our own personal experiences. I will just say that, while I’ve had some trying experiences here with women, and had my heart broken a couple of times, I can’t go back to gringas. When I visit the U.S., I find the women to be, as the Brasilians say, sem sal, too bland.
So, diving in, what can we say, in broad strokes anyway, about America/Brazilian relationships?
First I think an American man (and we can include Canadians and many Europeans in the group) and a Brazilian woman can often form a good couple, a couple that functions. Much less frequently do you see a functional couple formed of an American woman and a Brazilian man. Perhaps American women chafe under what they see as lingering machismo.
As for American men and Brazilian women:
- Brazilian women tend to be very feminine. They wear their hair long, they like to dress up, they have a quiet simple style about them. They seem to truly enjoy being female, if that makes any sense.
- Brazilian women sometimes have the reputation with gringos for being easy, and you just can’t say that. Social status, region, and personal chemistry, among other factors, all play a part. And don’t let the little swimsuits fool you. That’s just the style here. These do not equate to being easy.
- Even if you are sincere and trying to be charming, the object of your attentions may be leery at first. She has reason to be. She’s been lied to before. She has been hurt. Many Brazilian guys – sorry, but it’s so true – cheat on their women. Also, many estrangeiros come here specifically with sex in mind. Any nice girl in Copcabana would be foolish NOT to be cautious of an American man on vacation there. You have to persist a bit if you really like her. Show her that you are sincere.
- What I have found to be true is that a brasileira has to size you up carefully. As noted, they are often leery of foreigners, and often with good reason. But, once she feels comfortable with you, things can move quickly indeed.
- Age difference is less of an issue here, as is true throughout the Latin world. But typically these days the more educated women seem to prefer men closer to their own age. But not always. Many brasileiras like or even prefer older guys. Perhaps they see us as more financially stable, or perhaps as less likely to be dogs.
- Many men worry about encountering a gold digger here. Sure, be on the alert, especially if she is vague about her past, doesn’t want you to see where she lives, or otherwise seems sketchy. But I’ve actually found that many simple girls (“simple” here is NOT meant in a pejorative sense at all, but quite the opposite) tend to have very solid, family-oriented values. They DON’T all want to go to the U.S. Rather, they may want to know if you’ll remain here. If a woman is too willing to leave her family and go back with you, it should be a warning sign.
- Guys, if the object of your affections comes from money, you’d better also. If you don’t, you are probably wasting your time. Social mobility is on the rise here, but old money marries old money. As a foreigner, it will often be assumed that you, too, have money, but watch for the little questions intended to ferret out how much.
- If, on the contrary, she doesn’t come from money, she may be easily impressed. A movie and a dinner in a nice restaurant – sort of the boring default date back home – may be quite a treat for her and win you points.
- But don’t take advantage. Brasileiras can be very emotional. You may be exotic and exciting to her. Be aware of this. Don’t lead her on. By the same token, beware of falling too fast yourself. Is it love, or the whole exotic experience? Or maybe that third caipirinha kicking in…
- As BrasilMagic notes in her first bullet point, Brazilian culture is family oriented. If you don’t audition well with parents, you are going to be at a disadvantage. If, like me, you were raised Southern, fall back on that Southern upbringing and Mom will love you. And Mom needs to like you.
- If for some reason your new namorada doesn’t want you to meet her family, this is a big warning flag. It may be as simple as they are poor and she’s a bit embarrassed, but regardless it should alert you…
- Side note: I’ve been to maybe 25 countries, and never anywhere have I seen a culture where attractiveness and money are so highly correlated. The beautiful people are the wealthy people and vice versa. Can you find a pretty girl in Rocinha (the largest favela in Rio)? Sure, but you’ll find many more in Leblon and Ipanema.
- Brazil is pretty ageist. Sure, there are many lovely young women here. But there are many lovely, intelligent mature women here that do not receive the attention they should.
- If you text a woman and she doesn’t reply, it could be as simple as she is out of credits. Happens all the time. Call her.
- Brazilians, both men and women, can be a bit fanatical about personal hygiene. If you don’t scrub every inch of your body at least twice before you step out of the shower, she may look at you askance as she continues to scour away…
- Pay attention to the little things. If you open the door, let her enter or exit first, pull out her chair, she’ll appreciate it.
- The South of Brazil and Sao Paulo are culturally more like North America. The Northeast and North are more traditional. But things are changing rapidly. It used to be, as one simple example, that the man always paid for everything every time they went out. Now many brasileiras take pride in splitting the check or even in treating on occasion. But some can afford to, others can’t, and you need to recognize whom you’re with.
- Now, Rio? Rio is unique. While it’s relatively easy to hook up (Lapa on Saturday night), it’s not as easy to find a nice woman here for an ongoing relationship. That’s not to say they don’t exist here. They do. But many good girls prefer to stay at home. Many are leery of American men. Many may be timid because they don’t speak English. Then there are the prostitutes, and what I call the “opportunists” who are unemployed or underemployed and will glom on to a likely mark. Oh, and let’s not forget the trannies. Check the hands and adam’s apple! The carioca market is interesting to say the least!
- OK, you’ve managed to find a good woman. You’re crazy about her, and she seems genuinely into you, too. But what’s with all the drama? Brasileiras love drama. Sometimes I’ve felt like I just fell onto the set of a novela. More than one brasileira has admitted to me that she has manufactured drama, created situations – but they can’t really explain why.
- If a woman accuses you of cheating, she may be simply displaying that most common of Latin emotions: jealousy. Then again, it could well be a sign that she is cheating on you. Been there…
At times all women are confusing to us men. Brasileiras perhaps just a bit more so… But I will again note that, although Brazilian women can sometimes be maddening, I’m hooked.
Agree or disagree as you will.
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