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I was hoping I’d never have to write one of these, but due to the increase in nasty comments earlier this year on a famous (infamous?

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You should be able to talk about something interesting, maybe a book you read recently or a great place you traveled, maybe something you saw on the news the day before. I understand there are cases in which you will not know. I know, you’re backpacking, you’re running around trying to see the sights. Hygiene is a big deal in Medellín so if you want to compete with the Colombian guys and other foreigners, shower at least once a day, twice if you had to do something that caused you to sweat throughout the day. Just don’t take it too far and overload the cologne like some paisa guys do. I’ve seen guys go out of their way to prove how much money they have, the way they take out a whole wad of it when they’re paying for something small, just because there are pretty girls around. A former mentor from my journalism days used to take things to the other extreme.

A friend of mine found out a woman he was seeing has a boyfriend when they got back from a lunch date and he was waiting for her at the salon where she works. But I witnessed one incident where a Colombian woman was kissing someone at an event that caters to foreigners, and one of those foreigners still hit on her. Maybe she said, “It’s nothing serious,” but that doesn’t matter. The concept of less is more is lost on a lot of them. His first girlfriend broke up with him for being dirt poor and made him feel ashamed of his mother.

Just because you’re a foreigner, doesn’t mean they all want to sleep with you. Basic small talk is the best way to go in the beginning. In some cases, this means you have to speak Spanish, and let’s face it, you should be learning the language if you’re living in Medellín, not just to talk to women.

Some guys will actually try lines like, “Q mamasita? Just talk to her like you’re trying to make a new friend. The quality women want to be able to have a conversation with you, a good one. In other words, don’t hit on women who are obviously taken. Maybe a jealous boyfriend won’t kill you, but acid attacks are on the rise here and that would be an unpleasant fate for trying to win the affections of someone in a relationship. “We’re figuring things out right now,” a polite way to say, “Have some respect and don’t interfere.” It could be a serious problem for you if you think you can do whatever you want just because you’re here for just a short time. Dressing comfortably means you’re comfortable with yourself. The casual outfit prevents you from coming off as someone who’s trying to show off as well, something you don’t want to do.

Women are typically there to dance to music that does not encourage them to grind with you, as reggaeton does. Or maybe try going to the theater or other cultural events.

My friend Tatiana, the pretty and popular receptionist at The Wandering Paisa, met her boyfriend while she was waiting to see a play. You can’t really expect a woman to be on time in Colombia.

You can usually tell when a woman is interested, either by the way they flirt with you or stare at you, or, in some cases, when they make the first move by telling you directly that they like you, sometimes with a kiss.

Other times, it’s harder to tell, which leads me to…

Learn to do it yourself, something my mother forced me to do. They are used to getting attention all the time, so if you shower her with it, she might lose interest quickly.

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