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And even without the preliminary close quarters inspection offered by a dance, the whole ‘is/he isn’t she/he?’ game can be a lot easier to play in Latin America.But if a guy did that in the States I’d be like ‘you’re pathetic’.” Once contact has been made with the object of your desires, you are running a whole new cultural gauntlet – one in which body language can play a bigger role that what you actually say.The key differences for travelers from more ‘distant’ cultures are in the Latin approach to eye contact and physical contact – lots of both.“Just because a girl is being touchy feely it doesn’t mean she’s definitely interested in that way,” he said.“For a lot of people here, personal space exists on a much smaller scale.” As the night draws on a new challenge may arrive with the bill – who pays?“A good way to meet people, because of the dancing culture here, is just to pick a partner and ask her to dance with you.” Even if you don’t have time to squeeze in salsa classes, it is still worth the effort to at least try and get your rusty hips and leaden feet moving, according to James.“Your foreigner inability can be charming to the right person,” he added.
For the business-tripper looking for love, the first challenge is knowing where to look.
“(Men here) are definitely intimidated by me,” she added.
For some Latin men, these differences can be quite a shock, Georgina said.
Is that hand on your knee a flirtatious come-on, or a culturally distinct approach to personal space?
Is splitting the bill a nod to equal gender relations, an unforgivable challenge to your date’s masculinity, or the sign of an incorrigible tight-wad?