[How is it dating a Brazilian? The views of the article do not necessarily represent all Brazilian men but are just a reflection of my time spent in Brazil and conversations that I have had with numerous individuals on what’s it’s like dating a Brazilian]

Who can resist the allure of dating a Brazilian man, famously known for his passion and his persistence. But what is like to date a Brazilian after you strip away that casanova facade?

My first time in Brazil was in 2012 where I spent 12 days in Rio de Janeiro with a friend that was also Brazilian but was currently living in Brussels. We went down to the local watering hole where I noticed something that I’d never really experienced before. A clash. One after another, women would enter the bar decked out in their finest, sky high heels, short and tight mini dresses paired with heavy makeup and an overabundance of accessories. But as I turned my gaze to the man that stood beside, I was surprised to see wearing a t-shirt, jeans and a pair of sneakers. It looked strange.

First off, because usually this type of fashion show was reserved for a night out at the club, and not the corner bar where you meet cheap beers before heading home. But secondly, it was the fact that the men looked strangely raggedy and disheveled next to their dates. This launched my fascination with the Brazilian dating culture. I later found that, that Brazilian men apparently almost never dress up. In fact, my Brazilian roommate would often make fun our French roommate when he opted for a clean dress shirt and swanky shoes when they went out to pick up girls. In contrast, he would wear shorts, a sleeves shirt and sneakers. They made quite the pair.

2012 trip to Rio De Janeiro
2012 trip to Rio De Janeiro

Flash forward 3 years. I now live in Brazil as a single woman and the dating culture is something that I yet to fully understand. The first couple of weeks in Brazil, I ended up training with an Englishman who would regal me of stories from Sao Paulo. He stated that infidelity here was rampant and that men would frequently cheat on their wives. And why not? Sao Paulo makes cheating easy with brothel hotel clubs that cater to every type from the middle class man to the rich, young society type. In fact, Sao Paulo has “luxury houses,” in fact, one of the most luxuries brothel in the world is located in Sao Paulo. The Cafe Millennium looks like a large upmarket international nightclub and is complete with a restaurant, swimming pool fitness gym and a shop. Anyway, I digress.

I can not really say whether or not my Brazilian trainer was right about the rampant infidelity between couples within the country. His experience lies on years of training and teaching usually affluent Brazilians who would share his stories. But after logging onto Tinder for the first time in two years, being courted by a number of Brazilians and spending time with gringas and Brazilians, I have noticed a couple of things on what it’s like to date a Brazilian man. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hugomartinsoliveira/9701722658/in/photolist-fMiS9j-88hk8n-fMxVo-8dfDZd-cmWPEb-bHfnx-KCQJN-bppg29-dW4LA-dy3kaY-nCz3Fp-dNAGrn-bDrFVQ-jAFssj-aiEgHA-9kxm5h-nM66Xv-8bPW8X-gLhqTz-jKJBbE-4FEfEt-bBfAxx-gRWkAe-gLhqjP-qTpDM-f4R1Ne-f4R1Fz-gLgrnp-cb5k3Q-gLgndS-kKhqWf-gBNo6-gLgoab-o8Anqb-8ferQY-jKJBwE-gLgmJq-jKFeJt-jKFeyi-bd6Uwk-nENUQx-kN2dM8-2ogeQJ-gLgoij-kXRbRc-jSsVAV-2hW5na-oiZ1oW-9ekJnD-4v37wU
© Hugo Martins

Brazilian men have the extraordinary ability to be almost simultaneously a complete gentleman and a complete ass. Machismo is alive and kicking, at least in Sao Paulo but at the same time there exist a type of respect for women. Here in lies the dichotomy that I consistently struggle to understand and fully accept. When they aren’t trying to emotional screw with your head, they tend to act like complete gentleman, at least at first. They’ll pick up/drop you off from house, open doors, always pour the drinks for the ladies first etc. etc.It can be a complete and often confusing mind….well you can guess what comes next.

Then there is their [quite often] inability to take care of themselves. Unlike many Western countries where both men and woman move out of their parent’s house at an early age, it is quite common to meet men of various ages who still live with their family. Their escape from the next usually happens if they need to move to another city due to a job or when they get find “the one.” The problem is that as they move from one nest to another, they don’t know how to fly.

Ok. At this point you might be calling me out. Bullshit you say. They can’t all be like that. The most shocking thing that I have experienced in Sao Paulo is the Brazilian woman’s admittance of the fact that they don’t like dating Brazilians. At first, when I heard an older woman tell me that she would never date a Brazilian man again, I thought. HEY. It’s probably a special case where the marriage ended badly. Then I heard it from two women in committed relationships who both tried to live with their boyfriends and failed. They became their boyfriend’s new mommies. I was quite shocked when I sat in a group of 3 girls who talked for two hours about Brazilian men and their inability to live without a “mommy figure” in their life that provides for them. But that wasn’t the end of it. I heard it again and again. Never date a Brazilian man.

It's LOVE. Or is it?
It’s LOVE. Or is it?

In truth, my personal experience does not necessarily help my perception of dating Brazilian men. I’ll admit that I have a thing for Latino men. Their passion and their aggressiveness can [initially] be quite refreshing but after finding too many wolves hiding underneath sheep’s clothing, a girl does get quite exhausted. So let’s recap: as a blond hair woman in Brazil, finding men is no problem. At first I scoffed at women’s exhausted comments about keen on dating a Brazilian in the city. My experiences were positive; gentleman treating me with respect. At first.

But after each frustrating experience [around seven to be exact], I realized a common theme: a general self absorption whereas a man only really cares about himself and his needs. This can be seen in the simplest forms, like the way that they dress. Men expect the women to be top notch while failing to show the girl that same respect. But this isn’t the only example. I can definitely give you many more. This self obsession is hard to notice as first because the Brazilian men I dated made it seem like it was all about me, when in reality it was all about them. From the tattoo artist that would stand me up or always arrive late and respond with at least I’m here with you now baby to the feminist philosopher who after pursuing me aggressively and being incredibly sweet realized that he actually just wanted to be alone to the rich society boy that had his license suspended after he blew .001 over the alcohol limit and had his licence suspended after our date and subsequently *hinted* that it was my fault [best thing was that he demanded to see me again as a way to “pay him back.”]

My perceptions and ideas of the dating a Brazilian are obviously limited to my experiences in Brazil, primarily in Rio de Janeiro and in Sao Paulo. And although I have had negative experience, I have also made some great male Brazilian friends [not many but some!] Nevertheless, I can’t help but be intrigued by the number of women [bot gringa and Brazilian] who have warned me: never date a Brazilian man. Is this the end of me dating a Brazilian? We will have to wait and see. 

What do you think about my perception of dating a Brazilian [from a gringa’s perspective]? Am I completely off my rocker or do you agree? Do you have a “how to” in dating a Brazilian?

28 Comments

      1. I plan on heading all over the country, hopefully living in smaller cities and learning more about the culture and people of Brazil so I can always write a follow-up 🙂

        1. Ha! they are even worse. Usually they treat women like properties. I am a Brazilian dating an Englishman… I’ve never been happier.

    1. Wow, this is definitely new to me and interesting to read about! I could never be with someone who would expect me to be a ‘mommy’- independence is key!

    1. Loved reading it. Never been to Brazil and wanted to know more about it.

      I wonder how your experience of dating will turn out if you were in a small cities.

      1. I’m a Brazilian and dating in small cities is like getting married super early, or at least living together

    1. Loved every word of your post. A real off beat article.Do have more fun and share your stories.

    1. Well I am not gringa, but I don’t like dating Brazilians… they demand you to be always impeccable: hair, nails, fit body, but they look like slobs. They will openly flirt with a strange woman while they are on a date with you.
      They are not loyal as they’ll always cheat on you. In short if you are looking for trouble, Brazilian men are the best, yes.

    1. Quite interesting topic….and as long I am a man born and raised in Rio (living for some time in Spain and Russia), I can give some insights about this matter.
      I read about comments, and I partially agree with them. The stereotypes sometimes are correct, when we talk about machismo, living with parents until later years (though it happens to many Latin men, not only Brazilians, not only southamericans), and being a little a bit abusive and disrespectful towards women (cheating rates are high, but that’s not only about being a male….Brazilian women are making things balanced on this matter;)
      Nevertheless (and once again), careful with generalization. There are many men in here that care about a woman, not as a property, as written before. At least in Rio, we men have an easygoing way of seeing and interacting with life. (And women as well). That explains, for example, why we don’t dress up like a Norwegian and an englishman. (And we are close to beaches and we have hot weather almost all year long. 🙂 By the same time, we do care about being fit. Gym clubs are always packed with people, and the two sides of the same coin can be seen from that: fit guys that call attention at first glance, but sometimes (or most?) too narcisist. Another dicotomy, as written in the article.
      Brazilian people (and men of course), are very opened minded, in comparison to another nationals. And that’s why we blend so much (and so well), with foreigners. We love this cultural trade, and “emotionally” speaking, it is exotic and desirable for us (and for foreigners as well), to romantically interact with each other. At the beginning, it is all butterflies, but then come out all the differences. But hey, that’s for everyone, in dispite of a flag or a religion.;)

      P.S to the author: Do keep in touch, and maybe you can have another view from Brazilian men. (Yes….we DO take every opportunity to flirt….:)))))

    1. Gosh, I’m a Brazilian girl (from São Paulo) and I TOTALLY relate to this article. Thank you so much, I thought men were like that all around the world – especially the “a general self absorption whereas a man only really cares about himself and his needs” part, or the immature mommy-needy part… It’s SO true. And machismo here is one of our greatest social problems, as you have certainly noticed. I’m a teacher, and I see how it affects our girls from a very young age. It’s horrible, honestly.
      But now I have hope again. There shall be better possibilities abroad…

      1. Hi Carol! Just curious, could you explain more about how the machismo affects girls starting at a young age? Thanks!

    1. Very interesting article! Actually, even though I have spent lots of time in Brazil, I realized I never “dated” a Brazilian man. And my experience is only very good and positive with Brazilian men, because I think what I do with them is what they are best at: having sex! So I only experience the Brazilian man “at first” and like you said, at first, they are very respectful with women and buy you drinks and take you home, so that’s fine with me!

    1. It is very similar to the Italian culture, which revolves around living healthy, practicing sports, dating a hot girl / boy. But IMHO, the writers has a very narrow and bitter view of the overall culture. Why not ask Brazilian women what they think?

      This is almost offensive as it generalizes 200 million people to one bitter foreigner’s take on the country. For how long? Months, Years in two parts of huge cities? This is the typical american discussing politics. Does not care enough, but always has a strong biased opinion about it.

      C

      1. Hi Carla! Sorry if my article offended you. It was a personal opinion piece where I specified at the beginning quite clearly that my experience does not speak for all Brazilian men but it was meant to be a re-cap of my experience with Brazilian men and also the experience of the various Brazilian women that I have interacted with over the course of my stay here in Brazil. Sorry if it offended you!

      1. All Roman/Latin cultures have that in common.. No matter if they are from French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and even Romanian.. We all share similar cultural points from the roots back then.

    1. I would like to be able to travel like that some day, I just don’t know how you can afford it. Unless you get paid to travel and talk about your experience. You are not talking about a week vacation but living in the country and moving city to city. I did enjoy your experiences and the additional comments. Take care and be safe!

    1. As being in a relationship for 3 years with a Brazilian guy i can confirm this. He never fails to make me feel like throwing all the plates through the house out of frustration. He wants me to take care of him but at the same time does as he pleases.
      They are passionate but expect no empathy or help.

    1. Actually.. I am dating a Brazilian man and I can assure you that they are not all total ass.. Though I agree that they can be so look charming and being an ass at the same time it’s killing me cuz I just can’t stay angry for more than 15 mins. After him.. He is from Salvador he’s a Nordestino.. Brazil is so full of variety and São Paulo and Rio is like the Hollywood and Miami.. You won’t find a nice guy in these huge cities Hahahahaha.

    1. You are bang on and your comments are not offensive but on point. You are also a good writer.

      Brazilian men are very self absorbed and do not treat women with respect. They are vain, macho and they totally lack in manners. They are very different to the European men who are much more sophisticated, polite, considerate and speak with respect to their partners.
      Brazilians are passionate enough (not at all romantic) but their persistence and aggressiveness go hand in hand with this personality trait. There is a reason why a lot of male and female foreigners shake their heads when you mention you are dating a Brazilian man.. Same stories.. and not good.

      1. I am a brazilian effeminate men and I hate the mens of my country,they think if you are a guy with a feminine look,you can be raped and be only a prostitute and never a human being or a person for serius relationship.Even gays in Brazil don’t like effeminate guys and excluded then,incluse for friendship,unlike the north american homossexual culture,where one gay date another gay and is possible for a very feminine guys meet one boyfriend,in Brazil gays only focus in heterossexual men(!) and desire boys acting like that,don’t matter if the homosexual in question are a masculine or effeminbate gay. I am also victim violence,sexual abuse,theft,humiliation,boycott and another things because of the macho culture of Brazil,that is the reason that I decided live like an assexual person and never date anything.Another thing ,for brazilian men be strong and go to the gyn is synonym of being beautiful,don’t matter if the face of the macho is terrible,that is the reason also for the lack of elegance an the ugly and ”relaxed” costumes(I know that in another countries of latin america this is diferent,in Argentina for example, we can find really beautiful and elegant men and be strong and go to the gyn is not a stereotype for males in Buenos Aires,and I have noticed that in Mexico,peharps another macho culture,the boys are very formal in question of costumes,and go to every place wearing shorts and sandals is not accept like here in Brazil,even shirtless men like savages showing his masculinity is a common thing on nightclubs or bohemian streets even in winter;also in Rio or Sao Paulo almost every men are bearded,but all the womans have to be completely shaved,only that that manner a girl is accepted by the very demanding brazilian mens.Brazilian womans are in general much more beatifull,not only the clothes,that brazilian men;the majority of beautiful guys in my country,because of the ”relaxed” manners mentioned above,age very fast,is almost impossible meet a men is his 30 or 40 that is not in accelerated fisical and aesthetic decadence in comparison with his young years.That is my experience,sorry,

    1. I’m a Spanish man but I lived in Brasil for more than half of my life, and I can confirm that men here cheat a lot and think that it is normal, in my old job there was a couple of guys who would talk with each other about the girls that sleep with them, both of these guys had girlfriends and they would talk outloud with no shame about how they cheated on them.

    1. Well our culture have an aproach to relationships that can be very strange and that is due to our history as a country. In the begining only portuguese man would arrive in Brazil and to form alliances and be able to have workers they relied on a practice that historians here call “cunhadismo” so that practice consisted in one man marring at least five indiginous woman so that their male relatives would become helpers and workers for their husband, portuguese women almost never came, so it took some time and a lot of cunhadismo for Brasil to establish a population that differentiates itself from the indiginous one, later on when slavery became the norm usually the lords of the brazilian farms had one oficial family, white and catholic, and a second one with consisted of lots and lots of comcubines and African mistresses among their female slaves (witch explains the very African traits our culture holds to this day) with mixed offspring, the main brazilian population was consisted of mulatos and mixed offspring, often very very poor, the catholic church was very conservative but their concern at the time was the official family, the White well off group of official families, the remaining group of poor mixed people was left to fend for themselves and their practices did not mirror the ones of the official families, in official families ruled the traditional catholic hold, marriage was a big deal and appearences was everything, so there was this conservative, prude and catholic White elite on the top with a huge mass of poor mixed people on the bottom Who unlike their White conterparts would not abide by the same conservative rules, usually they did not married in the church, marriage for them consisted of living together as a couple and since this was very much common their social status as a couple was Pretty much the same as legally married couples, and since the church couldn’t care less about what they were doing with whom these population did not absorb the concept of monogamy or fidelity in the same way has the upper classes did, and even for the upper classes marriage was all about appearences, man had many mistresses and wives turned a blind eye to it. And that’s why nowadays we are the way we are, brazillian history was a lot different from the anglo American colonization, there for the way we love and live can be seen as very strange, the jelousy and possessive attitude both woman and man in Brazil have is due to the infidelity problem we have, and that explains the other weird aspects of our behavior such the need to socially acknoledge a relationship status to enforce that it Will become more difficult for our significant other to cheat on us, the need to check on “private” messages to assure that nobody is trying to woo them (this happens a lot here, even knowing that you are in a relationship people Will hit on you), to use a wedding band even If we are not married to send the message that we are taken, and when you are different and do not reciprocrate those territorial jelousy practices people in Brazil can perceive this as very very odd, and as a proof of lack of “love” and affection, the american independent practices Will probably be seen as a red flag for cheating or even lack of love. But not all of our man or woman cheat, some of us detest the whole thing, for what I have seen the cheating problem became very much less a problem when a brazillian man is living in America, their behavior Will likely improve since anglo Americans are not so open physically and emotionally to people as we are, so even If they want to cheat the whole process would take too much energy and investment for them to go foward, because here lies a little secret, most man Who cheats on their wives in Brasil do so because they can, most of them are not in their way to get a mistresses or to cheat but once their alone and people aproach them offering physical intimacy they Will likely accept If they know that Will not be discovery, this is the same for woman to, and that’s way the concept of going to places without our boyfriends/girlfriends attached to the hip bothers us so much…

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