Every man I’ve dated has been bilingual, speaking Spanish, English and even a little bit of Spanglish! Life, however, has a way of presenting us with what we say we’d never try. And that’s exactly what happened one night in Washington Heights.
I sat with my prima in DR Lounge sipping on a Bacardi and Coke when two young men approached us. One wore his hair in a ponytail while the other looked like the rest and sported a clean cut. Pony Tail immediately asked me to dance. He led me to the small dance floor and spun me throughout the great salsa song. I was impressed with his skills; a man who can dance salsa is also a preference of mine. But then, he opened his mouth.
“Como te llamas,” he asked while the song switched to a slower salsa.
“Sujeiry, what’s your name?” I replied in English, testing his bilingualism.
“Carlos. Que nombre mas lindo como la duena,” he replied.
Uh oh, I thought as we sidestepped and then twirled. Two attempts at speaking to Pony Tail in English and he had yet to answer back in the tongue I was most fluent and comfortable in.
“So,” I continued, trying again. “Where are you from?”
“Soy Dominicano y solamente tengo unos cuantos meses aqui,” he replied. “I don’t know mucho English,” he finished with a choppy accent. My feet stopped moving at the sound of his voice and Pony Tail looked at me, stunned. Could I date a man who spoke only Spanish? Would I be comfortable teaching someone not only how to speak the English language but also learn the American culture? Carlos continued to stare at me in bewilderment as I calculated my next move off the dance floor.
“I know…no se mucho, but I like you and what to take you…como se dice…dinner?” Carlos managed to say. I smiled. He was a sweet monolingual boy and this bilingual girl was hungry and needed some love. So I pulled out my Blackberry, asked for his number and dialed. His phone rang and he smiled before saying, “Got it,” in his thick Spanish accent. It seems I was trying something new. At least for the moment.