Oh boy, we all love romance. I remember as if it was yesterday when that teenager with pimples on his face asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. I love romance. The flowers, the first kiss, that feeling you get when your special someone sends a text. As in any culture, romantic relationships are important in Guatemala. I studied at a girls-only school for 15 years. Imagine the conversations I had! The topics varied between who kissed who at Friday’s party and who broke up with who. This country is filled with Cupid’s arrows. You can’t walk a block in Antigua without seeing a couple kissing or tickling each other in the middle of the rocky streets. Sitting on a bench in any park, you will probably see people laying in the grass, making out or watching the clouds while holding hands. I myself have been guilty of displaying public affection. I had smooching sessions with my high school sweetheart once or twice during school fairs and at quinceañera parties. Are you afraid of PDA? Don’t come to Antigua! We asked young Guatemalans about love life and the steps to take if you want to be with someone. This is what we found.

 COUPLES EMBRACE AND ROMANCE IN THE STREETS OF ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA THROUGH THE MONTH OF JANUARY. PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ARE COMMONPLACE IN GUATEMALAN CULTURE

COUPLES EMBRACE AND ROMANCE IN THE STREETS OF ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA THROUGH THE MONTH OF JANUARY. PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ARE COMMONPLACE IN GUATEMALAN CULTURE

He will approach. It might be in a club, or in a coffee shop. Maybe in the park, or at the market. Anyway, if you are exchanging glances with a guy, he will eventually come to you. He will say hi and probably ask, “Do you want a drink?”

She will show off her dance moves. Yes. You have to invite her to dance. Guatemalans love partying. So be prepared for a spin or two while you are dancing reggaeton or even cumbia.

He will use a little “casaca,” the Guatemalan word to describe when you try to seduce someone with words. At this point the guy will tell you what he does for a living, his address, his last name and he will try to see if you have any friends in common. This is the moment when he will try to convince you that he is worthy of your time.

She will give you her phone number. After you have danced and talked for a while you must ask, “Can I get your phone number?” If she says yes, consider it a win. “If and only if the night goes well, and she seems a little interesting, I will ask her for her number,” Carlos, a young Guatemalan, said. “And if you are a gentleman, you won’t kiss on the first night.”

He will text. Don’t make her wait for too long. She will be waiting for that WhatsApp message. You want to seem interested but not desperate. So when the right time comes by, send a nice and friendly “hola.”

She will text back. Be a little flirty, but not too much. Use smiley faces, but be careful with emojis, it might make you seem too intense! Take your time to answer! Make him laugh. Always end with a question so the conversation can continue. If you do well, expect him to add you on Snapchat and Instagram and consider it a win when he adds you on Facebook.

He will ask you on a first date. He will invite you to coffee or to a casual dinner. Boys, bring her flowers. Pick her up at her house. Go to the door and ring the bell, you don’t want her parents to think you are rude. Dress nicely, use cologne and let her see how handsome and formal you are.

The first kiss. It might happen after the first date. Enjoy the moment. Don’t rush.

Time to show some PDA my friend. At this point in the relationship he might introduce you to his friends. Maybe even the parents. Anyway, this is when all the holding hands, tickling and public love scenes happen. Get ready for kissing. A lot of kissing.

He will ask. A few months have passed. You know each other well, your priorities, lifestyles and dreams. You know each other’s address, university, GPA and you have stalked each other on every social media platform all the back to the year 2009. You are ready to take the next step. So be prepared for a romantic dinner, maybe a getaway to Hobbitenango or to the lake. He will hold your hand, look you in the eye and ask: would you want to be my girlfriend?

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