Latin Lovers or American Tarts: Relationships beyond the culture clash
It wasn't long after I moved to the Dominican Republic that I had to dispense with the notion of the Latin lover. That image of the Latin man as the impassioned, attentive mate that lives to please and is quick to defend his beloved against the wandering eyes of fellow Don Juans turns out to be a bit of nonsense.
Perhaps the mystique of the Latin lover as it exists in the North American (and European) imagination is really just a reaction to the perception of American women as less than virtuous. I figured that out hanging out at Boca Chica, a local public beach a few miles east of Santo Domingo.
It was as I lay there on the sand, that a group of young males descended upon me and my friends lavishing us with unsolicited attention, using several European languages to determine our nationality, and refusing to leave our side until we were joined by a group of Dominican friends who shooed them away.
They are sanky pankies, we were informed - Dominican men who hang around areas where tourists gather to pick up foreign women that they can cajole into a mutually beneficial relationship involving wild sex and maybe a Visa.
Their labors were forever immortalized in a film made on the island called "Sanky Panky," a box office hit that gave a comedic voice to the phenomenon.
I know poverty breeds desperation, but I was most offended by the fact that I looked like I belonged to a class of women that would find that kind of arrangement suitable. Is that the reputation young American women have cultivated - that of pleasure-seeking tarts?
The market of women who fly to the island seeking a fling with a Latin lover was great enough that it created a workforce ready to meet the demand. But what came first - the chicken or the egg?