“They tell me you have to watch out for those Latin boys,” a phrase once uttered in the midst of a conversation between a Hispanic dude and white chick. Although it was said in jest, we all know that there is a grain of truth in every joke.

Latin lover: the phrase itself is enough to make me cringe with thoughts of Rico Suave and his greasy long hair and penchant for not wearing shirts under his jacket, and the frequenters of “latino nights” at any given dance club or bar who aggressively impose themselves on innocent bystanders and pronounce every syllable of their name in their native tongue. “Heh-rarr-do.” The word brings about thoughts of being stereotyped throughout life.

I would like to start out by saying that I am not, and have never considered myself to be, a “Latin Lover,” nor do I have any interest in categorizing myself as such. That being said, I have been accused of membership in this dubious club, but i think that it just comes with the name. With that said lets define this term. According to Dictionary.com, it is a stereotype for a passionate male lover from Latin America or Southern Europe. Its definition seems benign enough, but when we look at the discourse in which the term is used, we come to accept it having a more derogatory connotation of ‘a promiscuous sleazeball of Hispanic origin’.

With that being said (and self righteous rant aside), I say different strokes for different folks. The following is a step by step guide on How to Become a Latin Lover:

Step 1: Develop an accent. It shouldn’t be be an outright Speedy Gonzalez; think more like an Antonio Banderas. Be sure to emphasize a Spanish name when saying it. If you have a pocho name like Johnathan, Alan, Tanner, or Derrik consider an outright Latinization: if you are Johnathan you are now Juan, if you are Alan you are now Alberto. If your name is Tanner: Congrats you are now Temerario! And if you are named Derrik, go by Marco Antonio Solis (said swiftly with lots of breath, like the wind). Remember to speak with passion.

Step 2:  Learn the basic dance steps for all Latino sounding musical genres. Namely, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia, and La Lambada (critical).

Step 3: Grow your hair out, so you can tie it in a luxurious ponytail. Don’t skimp on the hair grease. I hear olive oil gives it a nice shine and the perfect elasticity for dramatic head movement whilst dancing.

Step 4: Get Buff. You can’t be a Latin Lover if you are a gordito. Lose the chi-chis.

Step 5: Remove the top three buttons  from all of your collared shirts.

Step 6: Make a silk shirt budget. In a pinch satin works as well, but the material must give the allusion of shiny wetness, as if you are so uncontrollably attractive that you emit heat and constantly sweat. Oh wait, that may be hyperhydrosis…if that is the case, consult a physician. Pair with baggy slacks and square toed slip on dress shoes, preferably ones with studded designs.

Step 7: Purchase large nearly transparent sunglasses and wear them constantly. Especially at night

Step 8: “No” is only a suggestion on the dance floor. When at your “Latino Night” of choice, aggressively assert yourself on everything in the room with a pulse. Be sure to get close enough that everyone remembers the robust smell and taste of your aftershave, and no matter how little you actually can dance, simply recall the fact that it is all about style and confidence!  Learn it…Live it

Step 9: When at a bar on “Latino Night” only order ethnic double entendre sounding cocktails. Such as Cuba Libre or Mojitos.

Step 10: Consider every attempt of contact from the sex of your preference as flirting. No one can resist the shiny hair, sexy accent, and seductive moves of The Latin Lover, they all want you…some of them just don’t know it yet.

After completing the above 10 Steps you will be well on your way to being a Latin Lover, the envy of lonely soccer moms everywhere.

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