“Now that you are in Lisbon… what are the guys like?” seems to be the popular first question I get asked a lot by friends… let’s see if I can cobble together some very unscientific, personal, tongue-in-cheek and totally non-generalisable answers based on my first few months here…I read somewhere that Portuguese people are basically people with a Latin temperament, forever cooled by the Atlantic … to be honest, that seems like quite a shrewd observation. I’d put it more simply and less eloquently as a little shy, and sometimes quite confusing. Here are some totally biased observations:
Out or not out? (And how is Portugal?)
Despite recent ILGA data showing that Portugal is the most liberal country in Europe regarding attitudes to LGBT-folk, this seems to be big news to most Portuguese. In other words, many people choose not to be out – and on apps or websites, you will be greeted by a barrage of blank profile pics, landscapes and headless torsos. The good news: behind these, there is probably a very good looking Portuguese guy… but the less good news, you may have to deal with someone not “out”.
Shy… Did I say shy?
Shyness appears to be a virtue. If you are out in a bar or club, you will be approached by guys. They will speak Portuguese. But listen carefully to their accents… they are unlikely to be Portuguese.
A Brazilian friend living here recently said to me: “A good night out is when I snogged 10 guys”. I tend to believe him. In contrast, the Portuguese guys are more likely to stick to their friends, once in a while look over to you – and then go home.
I’m not sure how representative this example is, but here is one of my tales. I had been chatting with (yet another) headless guy online for a while. Not with much interest to meet, but enough to say hi back and forth for a week or so every day – and some harmless talk about the day.
So… one night I went out. I get back home and get a message about how I look in real life as compared to the profile pic. I”m a bit confused and ask: “hey… where have you seen me?” . The response: “I left the club just after you. I was the guy one back from you in the coat check queue.” I should add that the queue was massive and it took at least 20 minutes to get our coats.
Another day, another guy: “You just walked past me on the street.” Me: “Ahhh… well…” (quietly thinking how would I have recognised you, given that I only know you have a pretty landscape as your profile)
Another day… another guy. But this time Brazilian. In case you wonder, I had seem his face, as it is his profile pic. I hadn’t realised he was in the club… yet he suddenly stood in front of me – and joked “hey neighbour – recognise me?”…
Why didn’t any of the Portuguese guys say hello? Well… no idea. Maybe I just look too scary? Who knows. But I surely have quite a few stories where guys have seemingly been terrorised by the idea of suggesting a drink or going out or just saying hello… I’d add here, very, very good looking guys, …
Coffee – or drinks
I think this one is maybe a little more universal, but certainly pretty obvious here in Portugal. The eternal question about what does it mean when you “Go for a coffee/a drink”. To me, that is a little more edging towards dating. But so far my experience here seems to suggest it can mean anything from “don’t talk just get it on” to… well… just a drink and then … [maybe the shyness comes in again at this point]. One way or the other it seems to indicate you have scored: so coffee is always good. And don’t worry about the caffeine-addiction of the guy who is asking you to go for a coffee on a Saturday early, early morning after clubbing. He had enough alcohol to loosen his tongue – and is not interested in coffee at all.
Finally… Don’t make dates
So in some countries you can say: “Hey, I can’t see you tonight, but how about Thursday”… my warning if you try this in Portugal, be careful. It may happen. But more than likely it won’t. And if you bank on it, remember to reconfirm a few times. But even then, be careful: “Family issues” seem to be a constant problem. I have no idea if grandma is actually throwing tantrums every day when grandson has a date… but… let’s just say a loosely confirmed “let’s go out on Friday” is best disregarded as simply a polite way of saying “maybe see you around sometime”.
So… this has been my experience. OK, reading through this, it sounds a bit negative. It’s not intended to be that way. Once you get to know the local boys, they are seriously sweet and nice – I swear. And the shyness can be quite sexy – or at least I think that. You’re certainly not in immediate danger of running into someone with a totally over-inflated ego because of his big brown eyes here. And yes, overall the hotness makes up for a bit of confusion caused along the way. Don’t trust me…? Have a look here.
And… don’t forget to share your stories from meeting Portuguese guys below! Let’s see if you have some different – or similar stories!