My #1 dealbreaker with men is hearing them refer to me as a “Hot Latina” when they are getting to know me for the first time. I’ve had a hard enough time labeling myself as Hispanic or Mexican because American seems to cover enough bases as far as I’m concerned, but some men seem to say it under the assumption that I will be flattered, and I’m just not. I’ve even asked several times to please not be called that, only to find that they keep at it until I go into a long speech about why I don’t want to hear it.
When I hear “Hot Latina”, I can’t help but think of what Eva Longoria, Eva Mendez or all the other attractive Evas are supposed to look like. Slim yet curvy? Long dark hair and brown bedroom eyes? Off the shoulder, ruffly blouses and short skirts? High heels? How do I do this? Am I supposed to have a Sofia Vergara accent as well? I’ve already talked a lot about my slacker sense of style , so I just won’t pull off any of those looks, nor do I want to. What bothers me about this Hot Latina label is that it makes me wonder what the guy is even preoccupied with while he’s getting to know me. Is there some mystique to having parents who were born in Mexico?
I’m not embarrassed of my heritage, but I just don’t see the point of getting labeled so instantly. It makes me feel like all of my personal achievements and all the other efforts that make me the woman I am don’t matter as much as whether I’m attractive and exotic. I hate feeling that at the end of the day, no matter how intelligent I am, my hard work is not as important to a man as being able to say, “I’m dating this hot Latina right now.” Buzz off.
If I needed to come up with my own epithet for the kind of guys I’m into, would it work to say, “Oh, I like a chubby Irish Catholic”? Does it even make sense to bring attention to someone’s ethnicity and sexualize it? Maybe in Hollywood it does, but not in my real life. I’m not any of those actresses and I don’t aspire to be, so I would absolutely appreciate being referred to by my name.
A few years ago, I met a guy who was a few years older than me and despite us having a lot in common, he pushed my deal breaker button. Thing is, I had to tell him several times to stop calling me a “Sexy Latina” or “Hot Latina” because he insisted on it too many times during our phone calls and it became annoying. It made me feel like he hadn’t really listened to anything I shared. I’d hang up feeling unappreciated and trivial and perhaps only good for one thing, and that one thing sure wasn’t my mind.
I’ve had conversations with my best friend regarding the expectations men seem to have when they call us “Hot Latinas.” I hate feeling like I have to meet the expectations that I’m wild, fiery and loud, topping all of my meals with hot sauce and saying naughty things in Spanish. By the way, it’s super uncomfortable to when a guy asks me to say things to him in Spanish when we’re in bed. No, no, no.
If the term “Hot Latina” is going to annoy me, I owe it to good men to make myself conscious of the fact that I should not refer to them by similarly superficial terms like, “hot black guy” or “cute white dude.” I do my best to refer to them by name when I’m talking to my friends about who I’m dating because like any other human being, they deserve that from me. If I only dated men based on their ethnic backgrounds, I’d likely find myself fnding very little happiness due to not directing my focus toward finding out whether they are good people and if our values are compatible.
It did take me some time to figure out why I didn’t like the term at all and I want to be clear that while it’s not a terrible thing to hear, it’s just not for me. If I have to put in too much effort to get a guy to stop saying it, then it’s a good sign to move on and hit the Next button.
Sofia Vergara Image via Shuttershock.com