Every once in a while, you find yourself on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, or biting into a lobster in Porto, and a major cutie catches your eye. You might never get another chance to deploy those Portuguese pick-up lines you memorized as a joke before your trip. You did memorize them as a joke, right?
Even if you prefer to Just Be Normal about it, there are certain unspoken cultural rules you’ll have to navigate. And of course, you’ll still have to know how to ask for someone’s number or make sure they’re single. For all of your shot-shooting needs, here’s a complete guide to asking someone out in Portuguese.
The Ins And Outs Of Asking Someone Out In Portuguese
First off, your approach in this situation depends slightly on where you are in the world, and also on the gender dynamics at play. Although Portugal and Brazil are both Portuguese-speaking countries (and they’re not the only ones in the world, either), Europe and Latin America are culturally distinct, and dating culture isn’t the same everywhere you go.
Generally speaking, dating culture in Portugal is somewhat more conservative than it is in Brazil — or at least, people are slightly more reserved with their affections. A handshake will likely accomplish in Portugal what a hug or a smooch will accomplish in Brazil. Additionally, people in Portugal will probably care more about punctuality than they do in Brazil, so if you do get to the stage of making plans with someone, take note.
In Brazilian dating culture, what might seem like PDA in other countries is just normal physical affection, and you might come across as cold or overly uptight without at least a little physical contact. Your best bet is to be direct, uncomplicated and sincere in your overtures. If you like someone, let them know! If you get their number, no need to keep them waiting! If you think they’re really hot, that makes them a gato (or gata)! Yes, like the cat. Feel free to lay it on thick with the compliments, and don’t be surprised if you’re inundated with flattery, too. 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.” It’s probably not actually that deep, especially if you just met, so just enjoy it for what it is.
Some commonalities between cultures? Family is the central organizing force of social life, and it probably won’t take long for your new love interest to introduce you to their clan, assuming things go well. Also, gender roles are fairly traditional, in the sense that men are expected to approach women in heterosexual dynamics.
Brazilian men are especially forward, so if you have your eye on one, he won’t leave you guessing if it’s mutual. Be flirty and playful, and don’t be too surprised if he goes in for a kiss with a quickness — obviously, you don’t have to reciprocate if you’re not comfortable, but this isn’t necessarily considered “too much” or “too fast” in this cultural context.
If you’re wooing a Brazilian woman, she will probably expect a kiss on the first date, and may take it as a sign of disinterest if you don’t attempt one (especially if you’re a man). Of course, you should always pay attention to someone’s body language — if she doesn’t seem receptive to your advances, it’s not a good idea to try to force it.
Here are a couple ideas for your opener.
- Eu gosto de você. — I like you.
- Você tem olhos bonitos. — You have beautiful eyes.
- Eu adoro o seu sorriso, ele é tão encantador. — I love your smile, it’s so charming.
- Você dança bem! — You dance well!
- Você está muito bonito/a! — You look fantastic!
- És tão bonito/a. — You are so handsome/beautiful.
Next, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree. If you can find a more indirect way to inquire about someone’s relationship status, it’s probably smoother than asking directly, but if there’s no other way around it, here’s what you say:
- Você é solteiro/a? — Are you single?
- Tem namorado/a? — Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
If you’ve gotten this far, the conversation is flowing well and they seem to be picking up what you’re putting down, it might be time to make your move by offering to buy them a drink or inviting them out on a date.
- Gostarias ir jantar um dia destes? — Would you like to go out for dinner some time?
- Vamos embora? — Do you want to get out of here?
- Vamos nos ver novamente? — Will we see each other again?
- Estás livre este fim de semana? — Are you free this weekend?
- Você me dá o seu telefone? — Can I have your number?
- Vocês querem uma bebida? — Would you like something to drink?
- O que você gostaria de beber? Você é meu convidado. — What would you like to drink? I’ll pay.
- Você quer ir a uma festa comigo? — Would you like to go to a party with me?
- Eu ganhei duas entradas para o concerto. Você vem comigo? — I won two tickets to a concert. Would you like to go with me?
Cheesy Portuguese Pick-Up Lines That Just Might Work
Note: This is in no way a suggestion that you’ll be successful if you use these — at least, successful at anything beyond getting an eye roll. If you lay it on thick with the charm and turn it into a cute joke, however, you might just get a laugh.
- Posso te dar um beijo? Se você não gostar me devolve. — Can I give you a kiss? If you don’t like it, you can give it back to me.
- Sonhei com você a noite passada. — I dreamed of you last night.
- Seu pai é pintor? Porque ele fez uma obra-prima. — Is your father a painter? Because he made a masterpiece.
- O seu pai é um ladrão? Porque ele deve ter roubado as estrelas do céu para colocá-las em seus olhos. — Is your father a thief? Because he must have stolen the stars from the sky to put them in your eyes.
- Eu perdi meu ursinho de pelucia. Você vai pra cama comigo? — I lost my teddy bear. Will you go to bed with me?
- Preciso de um dicionário com urgência, porque quando vi você, fiquei sem palavras. — I need a dictionary urgently because when I saw you, I ran out of words.
- Amor é um perigo, mas aceito correr o risco por você. — Love is dangerous, but I’m willing to take a risk for you.
- Você acredita em amor à primeira vista ou eu tenho que passar aqui de novo? — Do you believe in love at first sight or do I have to walk by again?