Kyle here today. This interview about dating in Brazil is with old friend “BRob”, who blogs at The City Bachelor. He’s also the author of the recently released book Salty, which is absolutely worth a read. He recently took his first trip abroad and agreed to sit down and answer some of my questions about his time in…Brazil.
I think we all have that faraway land we idealize in our own head for some time until we finally make a point to see it for ourselves. For me, that place had always been Brazil. So fair warning, I probably had rose-colored glasses on for parts of the trip.
I turned 29 last month and had never been out of the country, with the exception of Americanized tourist traps from a Caribbean cruise I went on in college. So I was itching to see what else was out there beyond the American bubble.
And yes, mind-blowing is definitely the right word for an American man experiencing South America for the first time. The stuff you read about on blogs is true. The culture in Brazil is just… warmer than it is in America where family and relationships are de-prioritized in place of career and consumerism.
It rejuvenated my focus to keep plugging away at online income until I’m free to travel at length and truly submerge myself in another culture instead of just a one-week teaser trip.
It felt so simple and organic to capture and hold the attention and affection of a Brazilian girl compared to an American girl. With most American girls, you have to be highly entertaining, exceedingly witty, and even pornographic all at exactly the right times to hold their interest for a fleeting moment. With Brazilian girls, I felt like I could drop the script and be myself a bit more and *gasp* even show affection and call them beautiful without them pulling away like American girls tend to do. It felt good to call a girl beautiful, have it said back to me, and see it strengthen our connection instead of weakening it. It felt good to interact with girls who put in a little more effort to keep a conversation going.
I do realize there’s somewhat of a “geo-arbitrage” effect going on when an American man comes swooping in and starts throwing money around in a 2nd world country. But even though I had “exotic” American status in this environment, and Rio has a casual sex culture, I still got the feeling that Brazil just had a warmer and more equitable dating market. Rio’s current dating culture felt like what I imagined 1960s America was — everyone enjoying life and getting a piece of the action. But the 2010s American dating culture has grown cold, materialistic, and highly transactional.
Brazilian women are known for being flakey and plans are always tentative. Fortunately, dating in America has more than braced me for this. I think when it comes to meeting a date off the internet, flakiness is pretty much universal. My response to this has simply been to become flakey myself when it comes to dates. I never flake on friends, but if it’s a girl from a dating app then I just embrace the flakey culture. I flaked on a few dates myself on the nights when I was too tired and didn’t feel like it.
Tinder, Instagram, and Google Translate is the trifecta of apps that a non-Portuguese speaking man can use to get a ridiculous amount of dates lined up. We all know Tinder is mostly dead for regular guys in the U.S., but south of the border it’s alive and well. I was blown away by both the quality and quantity of Brazilian girls I matched with because it simply just doesn’t happen in the American Tinder world. It felt like I stumbled into another dimension. It was also a huge relief to see that sugar dating has not penetrated South America the way it has the United States. In Brazil, it felt like there was a clear line drawn in the sand separating prostitutes from normal girls. In the good ol’ U. S. Of A., that line is becoming blurred by SeekingArrangement (a sugar dating site that has only a small amount of users in Brazil, comparatively)
On Tinder, I’d ask Brazilian girls something like, “If you could travel to any country in the world this week, where would you go?”
They’d answer and then ask me the same question and I’d tell them “Brazil! Since I’ll be traveling there soon.” We’d have organic conversation for a bit and I’d move it to Instagram from there. It was pretty simple. I even just followed a lot of girls I had never spoken to before off of Instagram, finding them by searching popular hashtags and locations, and they’d usually followback, something that American girls are much less likely to do.
Most of the Brazilian girls were so friendly and affectionate that I felt an obligation to be kind and sweet and just be a good guy to them. I told a few girls, “You deserve better than a tourist who’s only in town for a week,” which is a pretty radical shift from the way I’ve approached casual travel dating in American cities.
It’s a little rough around the edges but you know that going in. Immediately upon exiting the airport, a shady guy walked up to me and said he was an Uber driver and asked if he could drive me to my destination (A.K.A. can I drive you into the favelas and rob you?) I politely declined.
The beach neighborhoods felt totally safe though. Lots of people and families walking around and cops sitting in their cars parked at the hotels watching everything. The main danger in the popular areas is pickpocketing and having your bag stolen if you leave it unattended. Mugging is an issue if you walk through the favelas or walk alone on a quiet street at night. A lot of people who have lived in Rio for a few years have a mugging story. But I didn’t go anywhere that felt unsafe.
Since my Portuguese wasn’t that good, I didn’t go out to the bars on my own. I just explored during the day and went on dates at night, speaking into Google Translate’s “conversation mode” to facilitate.
It’s an incredibly fun city if you’re staying in Ipanema or Copacabana. Everyone loves being outside at the beach, going hiking, and enjoying life. Rio is the most naturally beautiful city I’ve ever seen. I did a helicopter tour and it was unreal.
Even though some of the American luxuries and conveniences aren’t there, the people seemed happier and healthier.
There are plenty of serious downsides like the violence, crime, and surrounding poverty, but I think the overall quality of friendships and relationships is better in South America than it is in the Western world. If I were to sum it all up in one word, I would use the word “warmer” to describe Brazil.
Not just the obvious temperatures but the culture and people as well. Everything about Brazil is just warmer than the cold materialistic atomized West. So I highly recommend checking it out.