Tag Archives: cuban boyfriend

Cuban Novio, Cuban Boyfriend

By far, the majority of my traffic centers around these search terms.  That worried me.  It says that there’s a need.  There are these women out there with Cuban boyfriends, or wanting them, and not knowing how to handle it.  What to buy them, how to get one, how to know if they’re cheating, what to feed them, when to believe them.  I didn’t just put those thoughts into people’s heads, they’re all very real search terms I see all the time.

Here’s the thing: I’ve never had a novio cubano, for a variety of reasons.

If you want to know what it’s like, read Whitney’s series Adventures with a Cuban Boy over at her blog On Love and Other Things.  She has great prose, genuine thoughts and enchanting pictures.  And more importantly, she has the experience.

I won’t talk about other people’s experience, but I cant talk about mine.  Here are a few posts I’ve written on the male/female dynamic in Cuba, from the perspective of a young, white American foreigner.

I had a hard time with the novio thing in Cuba.  I’m a girl who’s used to having close guy friends, and a few good circles of guys to spend time with.  I’m also used to people finding out I have a boyfriend and respecting that, rather than trying to make me forget or “live in the moment.”  I’ve taken a bit of crap from fellow travelers for disliking some of the attention I get when abroad, but I don’t think anyone should have to put up with harassment, and I think everyone has the capacity to understand boundaries, even if they are foreign to them.

I really hated that it was hard to have platonic friends in Cuba.  I felt I had to keep my guard up; any time I didn’t, I noticed not-so-subtle behavior changes, or I heard about my “blossoming relationship” later from other friends.  Many who travel short term to Cuba, or who don’t leave the resorts, never experience this.  I’m curious how other extended visitors found things to be.  Most Cuban guys, in their own words, told me that unless my novio was on the island, it didn’t matter.

This all probably sounds really stuck up.  And I’m sure people will claim that the guys had one reason or another for continually deciding to ignore my” just friends” mantra.  But I don’t think that sitting next to one of my guy friends for a couple innings at a baseball game and honestly calling him a childish idiot for blowing up condom balloons constitutes flirting.

I hate being told to” live in the moment.”  Especially when I know they don’t mean my moment, they mean theirs.  I hate being told to stop thinking, to stop being so serious.  This is not How Delia Got her Groove back.  I’m 21; I have groove.  I hate that for so many guys, their only interpretation of fun was getting drunk and flirting with white women, and having them buy dinner.  I hate that so many white women for decades before me had already set the precedent that this was true and okay.

Sometimes going to other countries, ones with even stricter gender roles than ours, reminds me just how little I fit my gender.  I stick out as ornery and a run for everyone’s money in the states–imagine how that comes across in a Muslim or machismo society (the two are more similar than you’d think).

I believe I have the right to dance however I want with my friends and not get touched by strangers.  And yes, I understand respecting customs and the importance of context.  It isn’t so big a deal if you’re somewhere for a week or a few days, or if you’re constantly surrounded by western backpackers.  But after a few months in a foreign country where you can’t let you guard down or go out with just women, it gets awfully lonely.  That’s all.

Where Are All the Women?

Going out at night in Cuba, we were surrounded by men of all ages, a smattering of foreign women (Cuban men in hand!) and really no one else.  Where all the Cuban ladies at?

Some of my friends pointed out that part of why Cuban guys were so forward with us was that our very presence in night life was saying A LOT more than we thought it was.  One of our first nights, we saw one girl out.  She was in Chucks, cut-off shorts and a tank top, but she ruled that place.  She shook her booty like booties have never shaken before or since, except when attached to her.

Along the malecón, you can see couples canoodling everywhere.  They are attached at the hip to their guys, and from what I hear, they spend a great deal of money on their men.  Clothing, absurd silver/gold tooth coverings, and of course food.  What the what?

Is that the only place for young Cuban women in nightlife?  Booty shakers and girlfriends?  Oh Madonna and the Whore, the Two Marys, how I tire of thee and thine eternal truth.

Have people experienced this in other Latin American countries?  Where on earth were all the young women?  Maybe they just knew better and were staying away from all the men, unless they found one worthy of their attention?  Who knows–but it definitely made us gringas stick out even more than we already did.

La Vida sin Bailar

I know it’s Foto Friday, but the internet isn’t working well enough for me to be able to upload any pictures…so you get a second dance-related post instead. Lo siento, muchachos.

When talking about the Cajón before it happened and what behavior is expected of us, someone said (en español, claro)

Can we talk?  Take pictures?  What about dance?”

“Bailar?  Claro, claro!”

And he looked at her like she was truly crazy, to think any celebration, any bit of life, could take place sin bailar.  The night before, at a salsa concert at La Universidad de la Habana, I was tired and feeling a little under the weather.  I went anyway because it sounded great and was free, but was not in the mood to dance.

I didn’t think that would be a problem.

Oh how wrong I was.

Why aren’t you dancing?  Why so sad? You must be shy!  I can teach you how to dance.  Why don’t you like me?  Do you have a boyfriend?  You need a Cuban boyfriend.

Ahhh!  I didn’t know that not dancing meant I was angry.  And it definitely doesn’t mean I need a boyfriend.

The moral?  If you’re a Cuban and you’re not dancing, there must be something seriously wrong.