all Latin women and men seeking
unconventional means and who will successfully find it."
is about latin women and Hispanic culture. More specifically, it is about Latin women and the cultural forces which affect them, and it has been written
to address a very specific need. Every year more and more American
men are marrying Latin women from Latin American countries. Sometimes they
have no problems at all at any stage of the process, but occasionally
they do run into trouble because of misconceptions arising from cultural
differences or from a lack of awareness of the nature of the countries
themselves. If you are one of the men who has married, or who is hoping
to marry, a Latin woman, then this book is for you.
In Latin America, rudeness, or failure
to observe basic good manners is viewed much more critically than
in North America. Society is more restrained, conservative, and traditional,
with more attention paid to conventions of behavior. People are much
more concerned with appearances, "proper" behavior, dress,
and social convention than we are in the United States. There are
far more "don'ts" in Hispanic culture than in ours, and
violations of the rules of behavior are much more frowned upon. Unconventional
and individualistic behavior may be acceptable under some circumstances,
especially since you are a foreigner and are not expected to know
all of the rules, but it will help you a great deal if you know enough
to be able to show respect for the Latin way of doing things.
Generally, behavior in public
places is not as casual as it can be in our culture. For instance,
people do not put their feet on a desk; they don't lean back in a
chair in a stretched position; they do not sit or perch on a desk
or table. In a crowded airport or bus station, no one sits on the
floor. Men do not stand or walk with their hands in their pockets.
In restaurants, people do not figure up and pay their portion of the
Customs can be learned
in time, though, simply through observation. What can't be observed
are cultural expectations and beliefs...those internal guidance systems
that cause people to act as they do. More than anything, this is what
cultural anthropologists focus upon to gain knowledge of a culture.
People can't usually tell you about them, because they are not consciously
aware that they exist; only that it feels "right" when it's
done that way, and "wrong" when it isn't. If you are seriously
interested in understanding a Latin woman, and getting along well
with her and her family, you have to know about those unseen forces
which motivate her and control her feelings and actions. Your internal
guidance systems are not the same as hers. I would like very much
to see the problems that often show up in inter-cultural marriages
reduced to an absolute minimum, and that is my objective with this
book. The man in search of a Latin American wife needs to know about
her culture, because when he knows her culture, he knows a great deal
of what he needs to know about her.
There is one issue that
I would particularly like to clarify before getting into the book.
I frequently refer to the United States and Americans. I have done
that because I expect the vast majority of the readers to be from
that country, but the book will be just about as useful to anyone
else who is a foreigner in Latin America. Comparisons are frequently
made between Latin American culture and American culture, and that
is the main reason I restrict my considerations to Latin America and
the United States.
Some people may object
to my frequent use of the term "American" when discussing
citizens of the United States. Writers of travel books usually advise
you not to call yourself an American while in Latin America, because
Latin Americans are also Americans. My response to that is "hogwash!".
In all of my years in Latin America, and there have been quite a few,
I have never encountered an objection to my referring to myself as
an American, and I am almost always referred to as an "American"
or as a "Gringo" (Gringo is a neutral term in every country
except Mexico, and denotes nothing more than a person of Anglo or
European descent). Several years back I followed a hot debate over
the use of the term in the Letters to the Editor section of the Tico
Times, an English language newspaper published in Costa Rica. Most
writers agreed with those who think that we shouldn't call ourselves
"Americanos", and suggested instead such terms as "Norteamericanos"
(forgetting that North America also includes Canada and Mexico) or
"Estadouninses" (United Statesians), overlooking the fact
that there is also another United States in the Western Hemisphere
(Estados Unidos Mexicanos) who are also "estadouninses".
What everyone seems to forget (except for the Latin Americans themselves)
is that the proper name for our country is "The United States
of America". Our country is the only country in the world that
actually has the word "America" as part of its official
name. That is why I use the word and that is why its use is justified.
I am not being ethnocentric or nationalistic. I simply would like
for our usage of the word to conform to usage in the rest of the world
and for us not attempt to appear shamefaced about using that name.
I don't bandy the word about, though. I frequently get asked if I
am American. I either say yes, or I say "Soy Texano". They
like that even better. It gives us something else to talk about. I
am rarely asked what my nationality is, leaving me to come up with
the name. Usually people simply ask me where I am from. When that
happens, I just simply say "de los Estados Unidos". To say
"I am from America" is inappropriate.
I approach the writing
of this book as if you can speak Spanish. Perhaps you can, but it
is most likely, I realize, that you probably cannot, and if you do
know some Spanish, your vocabulary may well be limited. This is not
an oversight on my part. Many things that you will need to communicate
can best be done in Spanish, and my assumption is that you are seriously
considering seeking a Latina as a mate. This being the case, my hope
is that you will go about your business in Latin America with a small
English-Spanish dictionary in your pocket or an electronic translator
in your hand. You will learn basic Spanish more quickly than you expect.
But please remember this: Don't be afraid to talk with people, no
matter what kind of mixture of Spanish and English you might be able
to put together. The people will be delighted, and will do whatever
they can to communicate with you.
My guess is that the vast
majority of American men who marry Latinas locate their spouses through
one of the introduction agencies or marriage agencies currently doing
business in both the United States and in several Latin American countries.
Anyone is welcome to read and learn from these pages, but the book
has been written expressly for distribution by one of the very best
of the introduction agencies, T.L.C. Worldwide, Inc., of Houston,
Texas. The president of T.L.C. (Bruce White) and I met some years
ago while I still owned my own introduction agency, based in Costa
Rica, which I had begun after retiring from some 20 years of working
in Latin America as a cultural anthropologist. We became good friends,
and while I no longer have an introduction agency (nor want to do
the hard work it requires) nor work professionally as an anthropologist,
Bruce, James Smith (vice-president, T.L.C.) and I work together on
a number of matters related to their efforts to introduce North Americans
and Latinas. I highly recommend them.
James N. McLeod, Ph.D.
No one is
more surprised than myself at the current interest in foreign ladies,
and especially Latinas (Latin women) from Western men. Since founding
T.L.C. Worldwide, Inc. in 1992, I am constantly amazed at the popularity
of "International Dating" (and the subsequent marriages).
Personally, I've always been physically attracted to Latin women with dark
hair and eyes, but I found that I was even more refreshed by the personalities,
beliefs and backgrounds of Latin women. I had dated several Latin women in
the Houston area, but I was even more impressed after visiting Latin
America. For years I had seen the advertisements to meet foreign ladies
of Asia and Russia, but I decided that this same concept should work
even better with the women of Latin America, based on their compatibility,
proximity and of course beauty.
is a great option for gentleman unhappy with their current dating
environment. The vast majority of participating American men are serious
and sincere regarding the selection of their best friend and future
spouse. Because of the time, work, and expense involved, most insincere
"thrill-seekers" are simply not interested in a courtship
abroad. It's much easier for these guys to meet a latin woman through conventional
means such as a local nightclub. But then, maybe that's why we have
a domestic divorce rate problem of 50-70% Hundreds, possibly thousands
of our gentleman clients have dated and married Latin women happier, younger,
and more attractive (with less complications) than could be found
Latin Women also benefit from International Dating programs. Often these
ladies find American gentleman willing to accept them regardless of
social class, children- if any, or their economic status. Even professional
Latin Women find foreign Introductory Services and North American
more suitable for the type of future spouse that they desire. American
men are often preferred because of their honesty, faithfulness and
ability to express love. We publish Latin women from all social classes,
from single mothers or factory workers to dentists, doctors, and attorneys.
Once a latin woman commits to a American gentleman she often sacrifices
her homeland and the closeness of family and friends. Thus, the Latin women are genuinely just as sincere as our gentleman clients.
Our fourteen year
record of success shatters the negative and outdated stereotypes of
dating abroad and foreign marriages. Our program is not for everyone.
But, for those individuals who are positive, realistic and willing
to try, International Romance offers great opportunities in finding
a suitable lifemate. The only limitations to overcome are skepticism,
complacency, and a closed mind.
that this new method of people meeting and establishing relationships
from different cultures and countries is only in it's infancy. Through
technological advancements, travel freedoms, and global political
improvements our world is becoming an increasingly smaller planet.
This fact is evident in the news everyday. From experience I know
that once most men embark in foreign relationships, they rarely return
to traditional domestic dating. Both the latin women and men in our programs
are seeking the same system of values. The primary components include
faithfulness, devotion, family-orientation, and a secure future with
overall happiness. I hope that by reading the following chapters you
will understand why certain men are finding compatible, loving, and
sincere latin women in Latin America as their spouses. Maybe a Latin woman is in your future too.
Bruce T. White
President, T.L.C Worldwide,
Inc. (The Latina Connection)