While I really like boys, I have to say that my female friendships have been very significant and important in my life. From my childhood playmates, to my girl scout troop to my college sorority – my friendships with women have been hugely significant and positive in my life. When I moved to Buenos Aires I made new girl friends, some through my TEFL course, and some study abroad students like Clare.
I was hoping to meet and make friendships with Argentine women, but for whatever reason, they were much more difficult to meet than Argentine men. None of my other expat girl friends seemed to have Argentine girl friends either. I heard the nastiest stereotypes about them: that they were crazy, that they steal boys from each other, and that they don’t respect relationships.
After months of not having Argentine girl friends, I finally made one. Her name was Rosa, and she was the girlfriend of my boyfriend’s best friend Javier. Rosa didn’t speak any English, but she was always patient with my Spanish. We would go out for coffee and go shopping, talk on facebook chat and double date with our boyfriends. I was happy to have a local girl friend.
The only problem was Javier. When Lucas and I first started dating, he would take me out with all of his friends. We would go dancing or maybe go to a bar. I was always the only girl, and I witnessed a lot of bad behavior. Lucas’s friends were like a pack of wolves on the prowl. Their nightly mission was to kiss as many girls as possible, and Javier was the worst. On the nights when my American girl friends would come out with us, he made a pass at every single one of them. My classy friends rejected him, it isn’t hard to know a sleazy guy when you see one.
Of course this was all months before I finally met Rosa. I discovered that Rosa and Javier had been dating for several years, so when Javier was out at the clubs hitting on girls, he was doing so without his girlfriend’s knowledge. I started hating Javier so passionately. I wanted to tell Rosa what kind man she was dating. I was advised to mind my own business and not meddle by Lucas. Other Argentine friends told me I was better off not telling her and that it could possibly put my own relationship in jeopardy should I be a tattle tale.
So I didn’t tell her. I don’t know which was harder: to tell her or not to tell her. Keeping this secret drove me crazy. I was baffled at how she had no idea what a liar her boyfriend was. I began to dread the days when we would hang out in groups; I felt like I was part of Javier’s disgusting behavior. I felt as if I was lying to her just like him. The worst part was how insecure it made me feel. Was Rosa partaking in the same lie of omission about my boyfriend? Had she witnessed him kissing other girls and decided not to tell me? Was I being fooled too? I started to act jealous and insecure in my own relationship. I finally understood how Argentine’s get their reputation as jealous companions.
Finally, Rosa and Javier broke up. I thanked God. Javier had three new girlfriends that week. Rosa was devastated, but I didn’t tell her how she was so much better off without Javier.
After experiencing this ordeal, I started to understand a little better why friendships with Argentine women were harder to come by. Can a friendship really be true if one friend is lying, or not telling the other friend something that they deserve to know? I believe trust is a big part of any relationship. Rosa couldn’t really trust me to tell her the truth, and my guilt lead me to feel like I also couldn’t trust her to tell me the truth. It is a vicious, vicious cycle.
There is hope. Argentine women could stop this destructive cycle if they started trusting each other. Of course that would mean that they couldn’t steal boys from each other, and would have to hold their actions accountable to other women, but in the end, I’m sure they would find that the satisfaction of strong female friendships based in trust would be well worth that.
Every day that I am here, I am extra thankful for all of my girl friends who I love and trust.