Dating A Foreigner: Not Lost In Translation

First published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name, Elizabeth Rose.

I thought back to one of the best dates I’ve been on, and it was with a gentleman from Argentina who became my “lover” for a brief-but-sexually gratifying short period of time in the summer.

(He was also the inspiration for the, How To Keep A Lover article here!) 

We met at Butterfly Beach in passing, as I headed to my car parked on the street at the top of the stairs.

He’s asked my name. I could tell he was young (25 maybe?), but his thick accent was sexy, and I didn’t mind the attention.

After a couple of where-are-you-from’s, I excused myself to grab an extra blanket from my car.

As I made my way back to the beach, Mr. Argentina was heading up the stairs to leave.

“Elizabeth!,” he said with his sexy accent.

“I have to leave, but this is for you!”

He handed me a piece of paper, folded up into a little square.

He squeezed my hand, winked, then air-kissed me goodbye.

I giggled.

If an American guy pulled that trick, I would have rolled my eyes and kept walking.

But since this little hottie was from another country, I thought him endearing.

Maybe it was his accent?

(It was definitely his accent.)

So I kept the note cupped firmly in my hand and skipped to the beach.

As I walked along the sand, I spotted a $20 bill at my feet.

I took it as a good sign.

I waited until I got home to read the note:

“You are the most beautiful girl in SB! Would you like to go to dinner with me?”

Beneath he drew a smiley face and two options to choose from: “Yes” or “No”.

This was an obvious line, but it melted the heart of the middle school girl inside of me so I went for it.

I called two days later.

“Elizabeth! I’ve been waiting for your call!”

He asks if I’d like to go to dinner at Cadiz on a Monday night, a stylish Italian/Spanish restaurant that turns into a nightclub around the stroke of 10 p.m.

I like that he had a plan and was direct in asking me out.

It’s refreshing not to have a guy beat around the bush for an awkward phone conversation before getting to the point.

Clear and concise.

Monday night, I donned my favorite kelly-green dress and checked my lipstick in the rearview mirror before exiting the car.

I felt good and ready for the date, but as I crossed the street toward the restaurant, it suddenly hit: we may not have anything to talk about.

I didn’t know this guy from Adam and our few-sentences exchange from the beach, via phone, and a hand-written note hardly added up to a confident encounter.

But it’s too late now.

Not to mention I caught a glimpse of him waiting at a front table, and he was even cuter than I remembered.

I mentally shrugged my shoulders and entered the restaurant.

We’d figure it out.

He stood up to greet me with a kiss on the cheek and pulled my chair out like a gentleman.

He ordered us red wine and diver scallops to start.

I was surprised by how the conversation flowed. Colloquialisms and witty banter out the window, we were left with what simple

English he could speak and what little Spanish I could remember.

We talked about his former job and why he quit to live in the states.

We discussed politics, cultural differences and similarities, and what we want for the future.

It was one of the most honest conversations I’ve ever experienced on a date, and it was due to the fact that we had no other choice than to be direct with each other in order to understand.

Just two people from different parts of the world sharing thoughts and ideas.

It made me realize that limited communication is key and that quality over quantity always seems to win.

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