This is my translation of a little questionnaire (full of random questions, whatever popped into my mind at the moment) I sent to an Argentine guy who I respect and admire a lot. Below I thought it would be nice to share his original answers, because I think the sociology student is oh so wise and eloquent despite his 25 years. Of course, this is just one person’s opinion, so if you speak Spanish check out the comments on the post below for some other ones. Maybe this can be a series – I’ll send the same questions to different guys and see what happens. 🙂
Q: What is a “hysterical” woman? What’s she like? Why is she like that? Is there a “hysterical” man?
A: In reality a hysterical woman is characterized by being “unbalanced.” She doesn’t keep a way of being balanced, her opinion and mood are permanently changing. Suddenly she’s great and feels like doing something, and before you know it she’s pissed off and doesn’t want to. You’re chatting and it’s going well, but something bothered her and that’s it, you’re screwed. Pissy, bad vibes, indirect, everything together. We usually use the word “histerica” with a sexual connotation, like it seems that everything’s going to be ok and she’s into you, but then she tells you no, she doesn’t want anything to happen and she was just messing with your mind, sometimes intentionally because of her personality, or other times unintentionally. You know? Between men we usually say…”leave that one, she seems pretty but she’s crazy histerica.” The hysterical man also exists, he has more or less the same characteristics. But it’s an adjective applied far more to women than to men, clearly because of the imposition of a machista society that gives names (like histerica, loca, puta, etc) much more to women than to men.
Q: What’s up with those guys who send you millions of text messages, call you all the time, and tell you they love you after just one date??
A: I think they’re men who don’t have a good group of friends, or don’t feel secure with themselves, or just can’t be alone. So when a woman appears, a girl, a date, they think they can solve everything and dedicate themselves one hundred percent to that, taking everything faster than they should. If you’re sure of yourself and have achieved the ability to be ok alone (which isn’t easy, it’s a hard job and many times very sad) you’re going to wait to do that type of thing, and you’re not going to be annoying and send 1000 text messages. Women hate annoying men!!
Q: What do Argentine men think about European or North American women?
A: European and North American women usually stand out more by being different from the norm, and they’re attractive because they fit with the standards of beauty we often have (blond, white skin, etc.). In terms of personality, we don’t know much, but it’s usually thought that they’re colder than Argentine women. With Europeans the conception of the women differs a lot depending on what country she’s from. With North Americans there’s an idea that either they’re reserved and conservative, or the exact opposite: parties, a lot of alcohol, and sex with any guy who’s around. There are a lot of stereotypes and prejudices about this, based mainly on ignorance about how women in other countries really are.
Q: Explain the difference between men who cheat and those who don’t. What causes it?
A: I think the principal difference between those who cheat and those who don’t comes from everything you lived and the example you had at home, the things you learned since you were little. I’ve noticed that when people cheat it’s because their peers didn’t impress certain ideas on them, or because there was cheating in the family past, and sometimes that reproduces itself. But to say that is to reduce to just one idea something that’s far more complex. I think it has to do with what you’re looking for in life, and with what you can be happy; and how much you value the happiness that you achieve. There are people who don’t conform and cheat. There are people who cheat to feel secure, people who cheat because they’re a bad person, people who do it for fun or because they like sex too much and can’t avoid cheating. There are people who aren’t happy or satisfied with the person they have at their side, so they look to cheat. And at the other end of the spectrum are those who are happy with the person they have at their side, and value her and respect her, and don’t feel the need or the desire to cheat. It sounds corny but it’s the truth. You can be happy with just one person, you don’t need anything else, no one else matters to you.
Q: Where does one go to meet other young people? How did your friends or family members meet their boyfriends/girlfriends? How long have they been together?
A: You meet other young people in the places you go every day (university, school, work, neighborhood) or in an activity you do (clubs, tango, going out to dance). I know almost all my friends from high school, the rest from the university. I don’t really have friends from the neighborhood anymore because five years ago I moved, and then I didn’t see them anymore. I have friends who’ve been seeing their girlfriends for 3 years, 4 years, 2 years; that varies according to each relationship. The relationships of my friends are usually lasting, not short.
Q: What is the most romantic love story you know among your acquaintances?
A: The most romantic story I know is that of my parents, who belonged to different social classes (my dad was the son of laborers and my mom was from a middle/upper class family). They met and began to go out. My mom’s family didn’t like my dad, so they decided to just get married and take the plunge and live together. My mom left all the money she had and all the comforts to be with my dad, who had NOTHING and was an employee in a shop. They went on until they didn’t even have enough money to put clothes on our backs, and then they decided to go for it and open their own business, working together every day of their lives, and luckily it went well for them.
Q: Do you think that you and I have significant cultural differences? What are they? Do you think we can overcome them?
A: I don’t think we have important cultural differences. In the first months we didn’t know what differences there might be, and we talked about all of them. There are some, but nothing that I think is important for our relationship. They’re just differences of custom, food, language, nothing too big.
Q: Having been in the U.S., what difference do you see with Argentina in terms of relationships between men and women?
A: A difference that you noticed once is important. Here we value women more, she’s admired and like a treasure that must be conquered. In the U.S. that doesn’t happen. Men in the U.S. are the center and women are just something that can be added to his life, but the man is still “the most important”. Here, it’s the woman who has control.
Q: Do you think language is a problem? Sometimes? How?
A: Language is maybe the biggest problem. Because you have to be thinking all day in another language, and that’s tiring. Maybe with custom it stops being so hard, but to me it seems like a problem that requires a lot of willpower to get over it.