“The Brazilian says: ‘I am more affectionate than you.’ The gringo says: ‘No, you are possessive and jealous.’ The truth, I think, is a bit of both.”
These are the roughly translated words of Seth Kugel, an American journalist who divides his time between São Paulo and New York.
Kugel recalled a time when he went to lunch with his Brazilian girlfriend and some of their friends. They spent the afternoon sitting next to each other, but having separate conversations. When she later expressed her displeasure with his detached style, he realized that he would need to adopt a “Brazilian arm” — an arm put around his girlfriend’s shoulders, holding her hand. The rest of his body could be American.
There are many stereotypes about dating in Brazil, or Brazilian paquera (flirting), but a few seem to be unanimously agreed-upon.
Long story short? What counts as “PDA” in other parts of the world is pretty much just normal and expected in Brazil. Affection can be expressed in many ways, but a lack of physicality will leave your lover cold.
To woo a Brazilian, you’ll have to vanquish your timidity and shake off your reserved, uptight tendencies. We’re not in Germany anymore, Toto.
Don’t Hold Back
Without propping up gender stereotypes too much, it’s often the case in Brazil that straight men will be the ones to approach straight women they’re interested in. These overtures are generally direct, straightforward and accompanied by minimal mind games. You like someone? You go for it. If they reject you, you brush it off and move on with your life.
Social gatherings and parties — particularly where there’s dancing — are prime territory for mixing and mingling.
And if you do manage to get a cutie’s number, aim to call them the next day. Don’t wait a week to make yourself seem mysterious.
Go In For The Kiss
If you’re from a country where physical affection is given less freely, the speed with which Brazilians move from introductions to kisses might take your breath away. It wouldn’t be out of the norm to kiss somebody on the lips less than five minutes after striking up a conversation.
If you’re a foreign guy pursuing a Brazilian woman, she will probably take it as a sign of disinterest if you don’t attempt to kiss her. Of course, none of this is to say that you shouldn’t pay attention to your new acquaintance’s body language. If she’s not into it, she’ll probably make it abundantly clear. But if you do seem to be hitting it off, don’t be shy. You can be direct without being disrespectful.
Enjoy The Flattery, But Don’t Fall For It Completely
Brazilians are known for their tendency to lay it on thick with the compliments. They’re effortless charmers, and they love love — perhaps so much that they can make anyone feel like a million bucks.
According to one Babbel insider from Brazil, a Brazilian who wants to impress you will “court you like they’re already in love with you.” However, it’s best to take the gushing compliments with a grain of salt. The sweet nothings come freely, and they’re often not entirely sincere — especially if they’re coming from someone you just met.
Brazilians are a passionate bunch, but as we all know, passion is something you live in the moment. Enjoy the ride and don’t overthink it.
Be Attached At The Hip
Not only do Brazilians openly and frequently show affection in public, but they also rarely show up in public without their significant other. If you successfully navigate the initial stages of flirtation and courtship, then you might soon be a couple, and if that’s the case, the expectation will be that you go to social events together.
With all of that said, dating in Brazil is generally very casual and social, and you’ll probably wind up hanging out in groups a lot. Plans are generally not made very far in advance, and people will often show up fashionably late — or wind up not following through at all.
What’s more, you’ll probably wind up hanging out with the family, too. Don’t be surprised or taken aback if you meet your new lover’s entire clan within a few weeks.