Making friends through Spanglish Speed-dating

Spanglish Speed-dating is listed as the number 3 most popular tourist activity in Buenos Aires on Trip Advisor, and after setting up house in Palermo, K and I thought this would be the perfect way to start making friends in our neighbourhood.

Hosted at the V Club, we’re greeted by 3 American ladies who help manage the popular Spanglish operation in Buenos Aires.

Perky spanglish lady explains – ‘How it works is all the Spanish speakers will stay in their seats, and the English speakers will rotate every 10 minutes. You will spend 5 minutes on each language before switching.’

T – But what if I don’t have 5 minutes worth of Spanish to contribute?

The Spanglish Experience.

Partner 1 – A pretty blonde Argentinian girl in her mid 20’s who took control of the conversation immediately.‘I don’t need to work on my English tonight so we’ll just spend the whole ten minutes in Spanish’ Then proceeds to vomit spanish verbal diarrhea, pausing only for what sounded like a question.

T, stares blankly in response. Then blinks.

Partner 1, repeats question S L O W L Y.

T, continues with blank stupid look, then breaks into a cold sweat over the pressure.

Partner 1, decides to cut me some slack after the silent pause enters the painful awkward stage that is NEVER comfortable between strangers – ‘Do you like Buenos Aires?’ in English

T, relieved to know the answer in Spanish – ‘Si!’

Partner 2 – An Argentinian man in his late 20’s called Daniel.
You may call him Dan, and Danny is also acceptable. Daniel is a quietly strange character who admits that his passion for computer games has stunted his social development somewhat. This, and a bad stint of bullying in school, has made it difficult for him to make friends. A very personal admission from someone you’ve just met.

T – ‘Sooooo…. what do you do for work Daniel?’

Partner 2 (Daniel) – ‘Oh, I am currently unemployed.’ Looks down shyly

T, making light of the situation – ‘Don’t worry about it, I’m unemployed too!’ smiles

Daniel, looks me seriously in the eye and frowns slightly – ‘ You’re unemployed too? This. . this will be a problem.’

T, straight-faced, trying not to laugh ‘ oh, ok then..’

Partner 3 – A lovely Argentinian girl in her late 20’s called Marcela.

T, laying her cards out – ‘Look, my Spanish is really really bad.. like ‘merde’. But I really came to spanglish to meet people.. and I’m happy to help everyone with their english.

Marcela and I got along famously in English. We spoke about my travels, her upcoming travels, and a potential future meet up in New York.

Something spooky – Marcela and her good friend Lucia, my partner 4, met while both working for the Buenos Aires office of my ex-employer, and they later invited me to a birthday party for a third person who worked for that same company! Wierd coincidence..

Spanglish outcome – I made 3 great Argentinian girlfriends (Marcela, Lucia and Victoria) and learnt to say ‘Lo siento, mi español es muy, muy mal’, which means ‘I’m sorry, my spanish is very very bad…’