Self-Compassion for Quirkyalones, or, Learning to develop your “oh honey” self-compassionate voice

Do you worry that there might be something wrong with you because you are still single?

Then, watch the above class, Self-Compassion for Quirkyalones! Let me know how it goes for you when you do the journaling exercise we do together to develop your self-compassionate voice, and what you learn from the others who attended live, and who shared so bravely and freely.

Here’s a full disclosure. I asked ChatGPT to list the top ten self-critical thoughts of single people. I wrote, “What are the actual self-critical thoughts that single people say to themselves? In quotation marks, inside someone’s head.” The AI machine spit out results, and I edited them to make them more real based on what I have heard from the people I have coached and talked with over the last 20 years, since publishing my first book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.

Note: I have mixed feelings about ChatGPT, and negative feelings about AI, so I am being transparent with you in service of keeping the human vibe going in my newsletter and blog. The robots are coming!

Here’s the edited list:

  • “I’m still single. What’s wrong with me?”
  • “Everyone else seems to be in a relationship. So, again, what’s wrong with me? Am I unlovable?”
  • “Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe I should settle for someone to avoid being alone.”
  • “I must be undesirable if I can’t seem to find a partner.”
  • “If I were more attractive/confident/successful/not messy/some non-specific thing that no one could ever really say, maybe I’d have better luck finding a partner.”
  • “I always mess things up in relationships. Maybe I’m just not cut out for love in this lifetime.”
  • “I’m falling behind in life because I’m not in a relationship like everyone else.”
  • “What if I end up alone forever? Will I regret my choices?”
  • “Maybe I need to change myself to fit what others want in a partner.”
  • “Will I ever find someone who truly wants to commit to me? Why would they want to commit to me? I have so many problems.”

Do any of these sound familiar?

The key to turning the self-critical voice around is first learning to recognize the thoughts as critical, rather than the “truth.” The second step is learning that another voice can take the mic.

Developing an “oh honey” self-compassionate voice can literally change your life. It has mine.

If you struggle with any of the above thoughts in your head, I implore you to watch the video above, an hourlong community free online class I taught to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of my first book Quirkyalone! This was an extraordinary gathering with wonderful people, and the information shared can make an impact on anyone’s life. Let me know what you discover in the comments.

P.S. We spend a whole month on self-compassion in Turned-On Living, my yearlong group coaching adventure that goes for real transformation in a curated group of women. I’ve noticed that developing the “oh-honey” self-compassionate voice is the game-changing first step, and the foundation, for any meaningful change. If we don’t work on self-compassion first, we lose all our energy beating up on ourselves as soon as we start to go outside our comfort zones.

If you want to build the life-changing skill of being kind to yourself, you have to practice. It’s not so different from going to the gym, or learning tango or any other dance. You have to practice to see results. The best way to learn anything new is to do it in community with others who share the journey. That’s why I created Turned-On Living as a curated small group program.

We get started in June. The group is forming now. Check out the page and see if it’s calling you.

Getting Real on “Spinsterhood Reimagined with Lucy Meggeson” (New Podcast Interview)

Lucy Meggeson who lives across the pond in the UK, who is great and hilarious, and who is definitely my kind of woman (I bet we could be BFFs if we lived in the same city), interviewed me for her new podcast Spinsterhood Reimagined.

Here’s the description: “Are you single, childfree, and tired of the stigma attached to your ‘spinster’ status? Are you actually having an awesome time, loving your life because of the freedoms afforded to you as a result of being alone and not having kids? Or are you not quite there yet? Either way, this is for you.”

Lucy’s mission is to help other women who happen to be single and childfree know their own value, and that their lives are just as meaningful as anyone else’s. Knowing that working with single women has been a focus of my coaching practice, she asked me all kinds of juicy questions. Because she made me feel so comfortable, I told her the truth, the whole truth! I so suggest that you give this one a listen!

Lucy asked about:

  • The best part of being single, even when it’s not your first choice
  • How I finally found peace in not becoming a mother, and appreciate my life on its own terms, after years of struggle with that topic
  • My own relationship history: quirkyalone and quirkytogether. I am known for celebrating singledom but I’ve actually always been pretty relationship-oriented! In this episode we talk about women who want to be quirkyalone, women who have always been in relationship and haven’t paid as much attention to their own needs and desires, and how I help them get clear about what they really want in relationships and life, and live fully.
  • How I used to be embarrassed to call myself a life coach, but not I’m embarrassed by it anymore now that coaching has grown and gotten more respect, and more people are wising up to the value of hiring a coach
  • How I draw on tango and physical mindfulness practices like pussywalking to help my clients step into their power at work and in relationships, and become the women they want to be
  • The power of listening to your body (and developing your sensuality) to make better decisions and change your life

We had so much fun recording this episode, and we hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to leave Lucy’s podcast a review if you like it.

Here’s a funny little promo Lucy made for the episode. Lucy used to be an audio engineer at the BBC. Can you tell?

Dating Advice From My Spirit Animal Jonathan Van Ness

Life is feeling a bit overwhelming lately, and so in today’s newsletter, I decided to go light with this dollop of joy and enlightenment from my spirit animal Jonathan Van Ness, author of Love That Story, and star of Queer Eye and host of Getting Curious.

There are a lot of reasons to love Jonathan, but I think one thing I admire most is his unabashed enthusiasm. He often sounds like a nine-year-old girl getting super excited about something he truly believes in, and that is such an attractive quality in an adult.

Drew Barrymore asked JVN (as he is known), “What is your advice for people who are actively dating?”

And by the way, this is excellent advice for life, and work, as well as dating.

JVN: “Even if you are looking to be in relationship with someone, we always are going to come back to our relationships with ourselves.

In yoga this one time we learned, we all learned that we all have this invisible magnet inside of us that is positively or negatively charged, you know. I think when you are working on yourself, it’s going to charge that magnet in such a way that the person you are meant to be with is going to vibe towards you anyway, so you really can’t lose by investing in yourself and your relationship with yourself anyway.”

Drew: “This is why I asked you this question!”

Are you 50+ and demoralized about dating? Join me for this free online event to launch Fifty First Dates After Fifty

When I talk to my women coaching clients who are 50+, I hear a lot of frustrations about dating. What’s the best dating site to use? Are all the good ones taken? And what about internalized ageism? Is it really too late to find love or is that a story you have been telling yourself based on negative experiences? Does anyone really want to get involved with someone who doesn’t want to shack up together? SPOILER ALERT: Yes! There are plenty of quirkytogethers (or aspiring living-alone-togethers) out there, people who want a committed relationship but not to cohabitate.

This topic of finding love at every life stage (and keeping your sexual spark alive too) is near and dear to my heart because I know it’s not easy but it is possible to find a new mate and feel sexy at every age–I see those stories play out around me in my personal life and with my clients. I also have noticed many women who came to Buenos Aires to study tango with me convinced that no one would find them attractive. I’ve seen those same women get checked out by the men in the milongas with my own two eyes.

The story we tell ourselves about what is possible makes all the difference.

All of this is why I am really excited to invite you to this free online event.

On Thursday, November 4, at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET (NYC time), come hang out with us as I interview my dear friend Carolyn Arnold about her new memoir Fifty First Dates after Fifty.

Carolyn, an inveterate social scientist, and definitely a quirky, independent woman, devised an unusual, and highly structured, dating plan to go on 50 first dates to find the right partner for her in her late fifties. Not everyone would want to go on 50 dates–personally that marathon of first dates sounds hellish to ambiverted me!

But I admire Carolyn’s pluck–and the example of resilience she is providing by sharing her story. I’ll be asking her about how she stitched her heart back together after disappointments and rejections.

You can read this interview I did with Carolyn way back in 2012 to get a taste for Carolyn’s story and the themes of support, sex-while-single and self-love we will be talking about.

This event will be a chance to hear about Carolyn’s book, get inspired, and learn about how other women 50+ are faring in the dating scene.

If you have been considering working with me as your life coach this free event is a nice low-pressure chance to get to know me a little better and see me in action interviewing Carolyn.

If you are over 40, 50, 60, or 70 and battle voices in your head that tell you it’s too late, you should definitely come. Yes, it’s great to come to peace with being single, we all need to walk that path to find contentment and joy exactly where we are right now in life. But if love is something you really want, then why give up and deny that? You can register here.

P.S. In reality, everything we are going to talk about will be relevant to people of all ages – so if you are any age and dating or contemplating dating again, you should join us.

What Netflix’s Love on the Spectrum Has to Teach All of Us About Dating

If you are looking for something to watch, I suggest Love on the Spectrum, an Australian docu-series on Netflix about autistic people on their dating journeys.

It’s light, entertaining, and uplifting. Plus, the people they are following have a lot to teach all of us, including neurotypical people, about how to be emotionally brave in dating.

Love on the Spectrum is the best dating show because the people are so incredibly real. They say things like this, “I feel very warm, appreciated, and comfortable with you. How would you like to go out with me on a third date?” I loved it when one of them said he would never want to be on The Bachelor because he wouldn’t get to be himself.

Dating is tough enough for everyone, but it is has got to be tougher for autistic people who face stigma and tend to find social interactions challenging. What I love about the people on the show is their honesty. No pretending, no facade. What you see is what you get.

When it comes to love, their sincerity is so refreshing. They get hurt and disappointed, but they don’t get jaded and they don’t give up. One of the most important qualities to cultivate when you are dating is resilience. They also have parents who really support their self-love.

Lovely Michael is not afraid to say, “I’m on a quest to find true love.” How many of us are willing to say that out loud?

Another great line comes from 22-year-old Teo, who said, “I get so nervous about… what if I die alone?” Who says that on a date?

They bring gifts on first dates. They take it slow. They ask permission to hug or hold hands. Their courtships are so quaint and lovely compared to the hot mess of the dating-app world.

The people on the show get advice from Jodi Rodgers, relationship specialist for autistic people, who teaches them how to ask questions and listen to the answers.

Since the dating apps have come to dominate the ways we meet, almost everyone today needs a rudimentary course on how to date today because phone-based apps like Tinder and Hinge have shaped many people’s behaviors to be downright rude and bizarre.

I suspect the producers are heavily coaching them to say how they really feel on their dates, or they are just the most authentic people ever. I have never seen modern-day people be more open confessing their feelings. “I’m into you–how do you feel about me?”

Someone has to be brave enough to ask that question first. Telling someone else how you feel on a date equals MAJOR LIFE SKILL.

The people on the show are young, in their twenties and early thirties. I would like to see the show follow older people on the spectrum in their dating journeys too and to hear about how their relationships have gone.

The bottom-line message from the show is: Be yourself. Be brave.

Always good advice in dating and life.

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I have one spot open at the moment in my coaching practice. If you have been curious about working with me and waiting to reach out, now may be the time. You can tell me more about what you want to explore or work on through coaching here.

YDB

Hey there, happy Sunday!

Today I wanted to share this gem with you.

YDB.

A friend told me about YDB. I am not sure of the origin of this wisdom, but it’s too good to not share.

This is for all of you who are struggling with an ex, a break-up, an RO (romantic obsession).


I know how hard it can be to get over people especially when you have opened your heart after it’s been closed for a while–and allowed yourself to believe in love again.

It didn’t work out. And your heart hurts. You can’t believe how long you are thinking about this person and what you once shared.

Here’s what you do. You tap into the power of YDB.

What does YDB mean?

You Dumb Bastard?

Yucky Discolored Box Syndrome? (Yes, this exists on the Internet. It has something to do with Adobe.)

No.

It means YOU DESERVE BETTER!

So go ahead and write the acronym YDB before his or her name in your phone contacts list, if she or he is still in there. Or emblazon YDB before their name in your mind. YDB Mark. YDB Carlos. YDB Francesca. Change their name to YDB-their name for as long as you need to.

Maybe it feels like a leap to believe that there is someone out there for you who will be a better match for you. Well, in the meantime, you also deserve better than torturing yourself with thoughts about someone who doesn’t want to be with you anyway.

Whenever we are trying to change our experience, we are working on changing our thoughts. That process typically doesn’t happen overnight. Choosing new thoughts on purpose is a practice. It’s like going to the gym and lifting weights. The strength to choose new thoughts comes because you are consistently choosing differently.

So whenever that person comes to mind, you repeat YDB.

By brute force we start to believe that new thought.

Put it in your phone or in your journal or on a sticky note on your refrigerator.

YDB.

Quirkyalone? on the Solo Podcast

I so enjoyed talking with Dr. Peter McGraw, a behavioral economist at the University of Colorado who is investigating solitude and how to create a remarkable single life, now or forever.

It’s kinda crazy. I have done many fantastic podcasts about being quirkyalone with women, and this was the first time I talked with a man who is investigating these topics!

Peter and I chatted about:
the problem of “internalized inferiority,” of seeing our single periods as lesser than our coupled periods and the tragedy of waiting to be coupled up to do the things you most want to do in life (I share about how I’ve struggled with this too)

my personal story behind quirkyalone, and why I chose that combination over, say, “freakyalone”!

quirkyalones in pop culture in the 90s and oughts, from Love Jones to Ally McBeal

how single people have been ignored–at least in the US–in policy discussions during the pandemic

why quirkyalone, even though it seems to be a celebration of singlehood, is also, in its deepest core, an argument for depth in relationship

the many ways people meet needs for connection in 2021, with everything from Tinder to solo poly

why I prefer to talk about self-acceptance and wholeness rather than being a “happy single.” Being happy all the time is just way too much pressure! And going for what we want in life may involve some pain, discomfort and struggle.

Here’s a little teaser before you click to listen in…
“The choice of the word quirky, why? Can you tease us with some of the alternatives that you considered?
In the book Quirkyalone, I have a bunch of alternatives like eccentricalone, bizarrealone, or freakyalone.
Freakyalone is a whole different book and it’s in a different section of the library. It’s not in the library, first of all.
Why quirky? It’s because quirky is softer, for one. It’s eccentric but with a human touch that makes you feel you can get warm and cuddly with a quirky person in a way that maybe you don’t feel you can with freakyalone. It was that sense that I had as a young person and has remained the same as I get older. I only connect with a certain amount of people. I’m not a generic person and quirkyalones are not cookie-cutter type. It’s a practical recognition for a quirky person.
It may take a little longer to find someone who matches you, not that they have to have all the same quirks. Everybody is completely individual and all of my work has this honoring of our quirkiness. When I work with clients, for example, I’m interested in finding out who they are and how they tick because everybody’s different. That’s my orientation to the world. The quirky part is the way of honoring that. I love that about us as people.”

How to Be OK with Being Single Even When You Are Actually Not OK With It

I was so glad Bay Area therapist Laura Parker reached out to interview me as part of her groundbreaking series Transforming Loneliness.

Laura definitely groks “quirkyalone” (probably because she is one!). In our interview we talked about how we can move from “single shame” to owning our stories as discerning quirkyalones.

Why? So we can stop all those self-critical thoughts in our heads–and be more peaceful within ourselves and open to more love and connection.

For example, in our conversation, we talk about with shameful thoughts and questions like, “Is it my fault that I’m still single? I’m the one common denominator!” Or “Am I actually unlovable?”

By now I have enough experience as a life coach, writer and human being to know that people in long relationships also struggle with questions about whether they are lovable, but these questions really do hit hard if you are single for a lot longer than you want to be. I’ve worked through those issues myself–they will be on full display in my memoir (working title Wet). I often talk with clients who carry around the feeling that it’s their fault they are still single.

Loneliness, in my view, gets very tangled up with shame. We feel ashamed of feeling lonely and needing or wanting more connection than we have. We might even feel ashamed of having needs for love or companionship that have not been met. Or we might feel ashamed that our life stories don’t fit the “norm” of how adulthood is supposed to happen with certain milestones by certain ages.

According to this San Diego-based psychological study, 75% of Americans struggle with loneliness, even if they have a partner and a network of friends. These researchers found wisdom, compassion and empathy help people to feel more connected to humanity and the cosmos. Interacting with others who share values and interests can be helpful too.

Laura wants to help us to change the way we view loneliness so that instead of feeling ashamed of our loneliness as a personal failing we see it as a message to be attended to. I hope this conversation can give you more wisdom to look at your own feelings of loneliness when they come up. As Laura helped us see there are lots of ways to look at a dating history that has been mostly single. There might be something right with you if you don’t settle for a mediocre or unhealthy relationship.

In this video, you will hear us talk about:

  • What we mean when we say “single shame.” It’s that feeling that might overcome you when your date asks how long it’s been since your last relationship. It’s been years, and you don’t know what to say
  • What it means to “own your story” so someone can get to know you. If we don’t love and accept our own story enough to share it will be difficult for anyone to get to know you.
  • This brilliant corrective to single shame. When you are caught in a loop of self-judgment about still being single, sometimes the best thing to do is stop judging yourself and accept the mystery of life.
  • What I think about the idea that “you have to love yourself to love someone else.”
  • How relationships are mirrors and are co-created between two people.
  • How my ideas about relationships have evolved since publishing Quirkyalone in 2004
  • The memoir I’m working on now Wet is a follow-up to Quirkyalone. The new book goes into my own single shame story of how healing the effects of trauma helped me to open up more deeply than ever before in an important romantic relationship
  • Touch starvation when feeling lonely–and how tango or any kind of dance with contact can be an antidote

So go back to the top of this blog post and watch this video because it’s truly special (it starts off slow but it’s really a gem if you identify with being quirkyalone). Then, want to read or hear more about working with your loneliness and healing single shame?

Laura interviewed more than a dozen healers and thinkers on the topic of transforming loneliness from many spiritual perspectives. These videos are very nourishing. Check them out on her YouTube channel.

I’ve been talking about single shame with other authors, coaches and therapists for a while now.

I talked with Sara Eckel, author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single about how to heal your single shame. Sara wrote about that icky feeling of single shame in a beautiful Modern Love essay that launched her book of the same name. Watch that conversation here.

To go further:

Grab your copy of my book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics to to know you are never alone when you’re quirkyalone.

This is tough stuff and you don’t need to do it on your own. Sometimes the best way to work through shame is to work with someone who can be your compassionate witness and guide to help you work through these feelings. Simply acknowledging and talking about shame often lessens those feelings considerably. You can find a therapist in your area and ask him or her if she is sensitive to these types of issues or check out my coaching page and request a consult to explore coaching with me.

Let’s talk about loneliness

Though loneliness has become something of a hot topic in the media, I wonder how many of us would feel comfortable to say it out loud to another friend or loved one, “I’m lonely.”

Many of us are reluctant to admit to others when we feel lonely.

I know from my own life and working with quirkyalone/quirkytogether people that loneliness has particular dimensions for people who have been selective in their choices and spent many years being single.

We don’t talk about the loneliness of that path all that much–for example the loneliness of staring down a weekend with no plans.

We wind up feeling even more lonely alone when we don’t see our experience reflected back to us or discussed.

That’s why I was really glad when the therapist Laura Parker approached me and asked me to be a speaker in her online series Transforming Loneliness. 

Laura who has been following quirkyalone for 15 years and I first talked over Skype to discuss the focus of our conversation.

We settled on the theme the loneliness of single shame, or of believing something is wrong with you if you have been single for years or just longer than you want to be.

I highly recommend you listen in. Generally when I do conversations with others on single shame it’s healing for someone out there.

This conversation can help you prepare for those awkward moments on dates when someone asks you how long it’s been since your last relationship.

Even more I hope this intimate conversation can help you feel more at peace as you gradually rid yourself of those nagging “there’s something wrong with me” voices in your head.

I remember evading questions on dates when men would ask me, So how long has it been since your last relationship? I felt marked–like something was wrong with me–because I had been single for years.

I’ve since helped many clients who have coped with similar feelings of shame so I know quite well by now single shame can be quite a “thing.”

In our conversation, I talked about my own experience of working through single shame to the end point of owning my story as a discerning quirkyalone and about my experiences helping others along that journey.

The interview is called “From Single Shame to Owning Your Story as a Discerning Quirkyalone.”

Our interview will be aired Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Laura’s series TRANSFORMING LONELINESS: Follow Your Heart’s Longing into Connection, Belonging, and Love will be available FREE from February 19 – 26.

Register now to get access at www.transforming-loneliness-event.com.

Once you register you’ll get a reminder from Laura about my talk so you will be all set.

xo

Sasha

Chongos, Histéricos, and Chamuyeros: A Dating Dictionary for Buenos Aires

caption: Buenos Aires amantes (lovers) can be passionate. Hernan hung this sign up in the street for Flor, “I love you with all my life. Never will we be far apart again.” The phone number on the right: call it if you want to make a sign!

Argentines are very expressive, and their Spanish is distinct from, for example, Mexican Spanish. There are plenty of books and websites out there that explain Buenos Aires slang, or lunfardo–slang words you will never learn in a high school Spanish class.

Over the last four years of living in Buenos Aires I have learned there is a particular modern lunfardo, or slang, when it comes to dating, sex, love and relationships. Certain words would come up again and again. Once I understood the words I understood the culture and what was happening in my own life.

So I have put together this dating glossary for you.  I thought it would be a service to the many women (and men) who come to Argentina looking for love. (Or who simply find themselves here, dating). Dating can be bewildering in another culture, and language can help guide you. Knowledge is power. When you are able to name a behavior, or a way of being, you are able to say: I want this, and I don’t want that. You can say you want a chongo, or not. You’ll know what it means to put someone “in the freezer” and why so many men and women call the opposite sex “hysterical.”

Whether you come here on vacation or you live here, here are some words to help you date in Buenos Aires.

Chamuyero: Once I was at an Internations expat event at a bar talking to two Porteños (Porteño means Buenos Aires resident), and I asked them, what is the essence of Buenos Aires? They said, with impish glee, chamuyo.

Chamuyo is bullshit. Sometimes poetic bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless. A chamuyero is a bullshitter, par excellence. Chamuyero is truly the ultimate porteño word. While Rio de Janeiro has its malandros (charming tricksters who do anything to avoid work), Buenos Aires has its chamuyeros.

A chamuyero talks in circles but really they are talking about nothing. You can’t pin them down. Everything they say is airy and unreliable.

In dating, chamuyo is flattery. Chamuyo is quite related to the piropo, a flattering or romantic compliment to seduce a woman. Piropos can be a sport; there are plenty of websites listing piropos to use with a woman or a girlfriend or wife: For example, here’s an Argentine piropo submitted on a user-generated piropo website: “Con un mate y tu compania ya es resuelta la vida!” (With mate and your company, life is already resolved!) That’s a sweet one, and not too over the top. I could believe that piropo or get off on believing it.

The difference between a piropo and chamuyo is chamuyo is clearly bullshit–and totally generic. My chamuyo red flag goes up when a guy starts using the word “princesa,” for example. You can filter out the chamuyo or you can just get off the chamuyo, knowing it’s only that. See also: Lie to me, I love it when you lie to me.

A chamuyero milonguero (tango dancer and frequenter of the milongas, events where we dance tango) may flatter you by telling you what a wonderful dancer you are. In this case, I’m all for the chamuyo. Bring it on! I love it when a guy tells me I dance well–or even better, when he talks about our dance connection (if it feels true). Argentine men are much more likely to give flattery during a dance than American men. A little flattery is actually great technique–it helps me relax and dance better.

Translation: Ah, you left. I thought you kept partying and you had found yourself a chongo for a touch and go
Hahahaha
Rest!
LOLLLLLL
Could be!
But today no

Chongo: I learned about “chongo” in the best way, from one of my favorite Argentine tanguera friends. A “chongo” is a “touch and go”—usually a man (they don’t talk so much about chongas, though it’s possible to be one) who wants sex and nothing else. As she explained to me, if you’re bored, alone, and you don’t have anyone else in your life, maybe you want to send a message to your “chongo.” As if on cue, just after she told me about the “chongo,” another woman walked behind us at a table on the milonga and said a guy was “re chongo” (really chongo). This word strikes me as powerful! A lot of men (and perhaps women) want to move really fast in Buenos Aires and have sex quickly. A good percentage of them equally move on. Chongos are into seduction, quick sex, y nada mas (nothing more). These people would be chongos, or chongas, and you can decide whether you want that or not. Knowledge is power, ladies and gentlemen.

Histérico: I don’t think it’s possible to date in Buenos Aires for longer than a few months without learning the word “histérico.” It’s really a must that you learn about this word.

What is “histérico”? In English, hysterical means, among other things, “feeling or showing extreme and unrestrained emotion.” In Buenos Aires, “histérico” is mostly about drama and game-playing. A histérico is insanely seductive and passionate until you start reciprocating, then he or she disappears, and then begins the endless-hot-cold behavior. Histéricos are inconsistent. Not stable or trusted. In essence,histéricos enjoy the chase—not just once, but over and over again. So don’t take it personally if they disappear. A histérico is like a serial chongo but with more drama. Love is a battlefield. Buenos Aires is like anywhere else, there are also men and women who want relationships, so you can look for the signs of histérico or chongo and make choices accordingly.

Once you have a name for the condition of histérico, it’s quite helpful. I’ve helped two women realize they were involved with histéricos, and as soon as they have a name for the condition they seemed relieved and were better able to let go and move on.

“In the Freezer”: A guy who probably wanted to be my chongo taught me the expression “in the freezer.” He was talking about a past relationship and said that he had dated a woman for a few months, but then the relationship went “in the freeezer.” “What does that mean?” I asked. “We stopped talking for a while, then we started talking again.”  I found this expression to be hilarious. I tried hard to stifle my laughter. I don’t want anyone to put me in the freezer. “Please baby, don’t put me in the freezer! I am not a chicken breast or a bag of peas!”

When talking about this expression with my friend Alexandra, she suggested an additional interpretation: If you’re going out with someone but there’s someone else you want to save for later, you might put the second person “in the freezer” to possibly take out later to thaw.

Mimosa: People in Buenos Aires are affectionate and they kiss to greet (just one kiss, as opposed to the French, who do two kisses on either cheeks.) Men too kiss each other. It’s quite a contrast to the American handshake or back-slap. I see a therapist in Buenos Aires–a very Porteno thing to do, self-knowledge is valued here. When I see my (female) therapist, we kiss each other on the cheeks hello and goodbye. A hello or goodbye kiss with a therapist would never happen in the States.

Mimosa is a word that expresses affection–but in the context of being lovers. Many Argentines have talked to me about the importance of “mimos”–mimos are like love pats and cuddles. I think of a cat as being mimosa. A snuggly person is mimosa. This might be my favorite word in the Buenos AIres dating dictionary because I am mimosa.

Mujeron: A very sexy, va-va-voom Sophia Loren kind of woman, in full possession of her sexuality and sensuality. Buenos Aires is full of mujerones.

Pedazo de pelotudo: Piece of shit more or less. You might throw these words at a histérico, if you felt like it.

Pasional: Passionate. Argentines are very passionate, whether we are talking about love, or football. See the above message from Hernan to Flor.

Pendeviejo/a:  Pendejo means young person. A pendeviejo is an older person who dresses like a young person. (Viejo means old.) Imagine, a woman in her 70s. From behind you see her shapely body in tight jeans or a sparkly sequined dress and you think she is 30 then she turns around and you see she is rocking 70.

The pendevieja’s lack of shame in rocking the forever 21 look after retirement is rather spectacular. There are many pendeviejas in certain milongas. Pendeviejo/as don’t pay attention to the rules. They wear tight, flashy clothing that I never felt comfortable wearing, even when I was in my 20s. Buenos Aires is the place to be a pendevieja. You can be a pendeviejo too, an older guy in a youthful t-shirt, jeans and sneakers.

Telo: Telos are hotel rooms that you rent by the hour to have sex if you don’t have a private place at home, or you are on a date.

A few more tips on dating in Buenos Aires:

Confirming dates: Whereas in the US or Europe when you make a date with someone you can generally expect they will show up. It’s not really like that in Buenos Aires. People confirm with texts that the date is happening.

Lateness: Being late is more normal, and sometimes people think that is acceptable even on a first date (we are talking 20-30 minutes late). Sometimes the histericos will use lateness as a way to show you that you’re not that important or to play power games. I would steer clear of anyone who is not respectful with your time. (That can rule out some people.)

Online dating and apps: People in Buenos Aires are using Tinder, Happn, Bumble, and OKCupid. Your results will vary. I can say based on experience that you can meet good people on these apps—over four years, I’ve met a boyfriend, a lover, and a long-term friend. I can also say most people don’t put much effort into their profiles (the profiles are shorter, fewer words, than the States and Europe) and the swiping can be extremely depressing. Overall I would say OKCupid is the best bet because people are more likely to fill out and read a profile. The mobile apps are so geared for superficiality, which means chongos. If you want a chongo though, go for it!

Have any words to add to the Buenos Aires Dating Dictionary? I am sure there are more. Please add them in the comments. I’d love to see how tong this list can go.

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Listen to the 1938 tango Song “El Chamuyo” before you go . . .

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Wanna go on an adventure to Buenos Aires? Come away with me and my team on a 7-Day Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires combining tango, travel, and personal growth. We teach you about tango as a dance, culture, and a metaphor for life and relationships. We will even help you avoid the histericos and connect with the nice dancers!