Dating Between the Americas

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Dating Between the Americas

Emmanuel Rodriguez, Contributor

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Holding hands. First kiss. Hugging. Visiting the parents. Is this a teen romance? No, it’s a kindergarten romance. At least it is in Latin America.

Dating is a big part of being a teenager, but in Latin America these rituals start early – really early.

“Around when I was 5 years old me and my neighbor, who was around the same age, had our first kiss,” said Vanessa Henao.

To many in the US, having a romance at five years old would be outrageous. .

What many don’t realize is that even as close a they are, Latinos and Americans have many differences when it comes to dating, especially as teenagers.

Between the two regions there’s two major differences. How early people are introduced to relationships and how they are taught about being in a relationship.


“I feel like latinos are shown that having a partner isn’t a bad thing from a young age,” said SBHS junior Thania Ortiz


A lot of Latinos at school think that Americans are basically prohibited from dating or having the idea to do so from a young age. Not so in Latin culture. Romance and being romantic is a big tradition. Think Prince Royce. Think Don Juan. Think bachata music. Think serenata.


“In Venezuela, our parents would never make us think that dating was a bad thing, if anything they would encourage us to talk to boys,” said said Daniela Ordaz, a middle schooler at Apollo. “If there was a little boy at a party they would think it was cute if we held hands or if he kissed me on the cheek.”


Not so much in American culture. Dating starts later and there more of a focus on business and money. Maybe it’s to expensive and people wouldn’t like to start paying for that so early.


How early people are introduced is also a big difference between the two regions. In Latin America you ask someone how old were they when they had their first girl/boyfriend and it will vary but the majority will say a age under 13 years old.

“I had a girlfriend when I was in 6th grade, but my parents didn’t like the idea of me having a girl,” said freshman, Johnny Crianza.

He goes on to say that the problem isn’t limited to just him.

“Yeah I have a couple of friends who even now their parents don’t like them dating boys or girls, depending on who it is,”said Crianza.

Crianza believes that American teens are not allowed to do as much as they want, unlike Latinos in their countries.

“At the end of the day people are going to fall in love with what they like, no matter where your from or no matter where you are.”