Psychologists say that women often wind up going for men just like their fathers. I stand as proof that it's not always true. In fact, in the spirit of wild overcompensation, I am a one-woman discrimination machine. It wasn't always this way.

The child of Argentine immigrants, I grew up in a traditional house. It was understood that you waited to have sex until marriage. (The nuns who ranted about promiscuity over the intercom at my tiny all-girls Catholic school did a good job of reinforcing this view). You hung on to the first guy you nabbed. You looked askance at other girls who didn't play by these rules. You married someone like dear old Papi, because the gringo guys wanted only one thing. It wasn't hard to date Latino in my predominantly Cuban neighborhood.

My first boyfriend was a dreamy Honduran/Cuban mix with shiny, straight black hair who thought that women should stay home and have babies. For him, I almost did. Later, I went for a pretty obvious Papi replacement in a Latino man 18 years my senior. He liked me fine while I was putting myself through a state college, but when I started my own business at the age of 25, he liked me significantly less.

In my late twenties, my baby alarm started ringing. Loudly. The poor guy who was standing near me at the time was a perfectly lovely Greek man, not Latino, but (as he liked to point out) sufficiently close in sensibility to my Mediterranean ancestors. We bought a house, had babies, got married (in that order) and I knew, above everything, that he would be a solid, traditional, and steady rock. I'd done good.

The trouble started almost immediately. He wouldn't let me use paper plates when he invited his Greek friends over for a barbecue, insisting that I use china when entertaining in the yard. He constantly harangued me about my lack of culinary and domestic prowess. When his mother came to stay with us for three months, I finally understood. She washed every inch of our floors on hands and knees. Every. Single. Morning. Starting at 5:00 a.m. We were doomed from the start.

We shared 12 years of marriage, about 27 minutes of happiness and two amazing children. But, in the end, I knew I had to let go. I am now what I never imagined I'd be: a divorced woman navigating the world of second-time-around dating.

Back to my ruthless discrimination. As I signed up for the dating sites and had to choose my preferences, for race, I found myself checking only "Caucasian."  Putting aside the silliness of those labels for a moment (I am, for example, both Caucasian and Latina…why do I have to choose?), it was a pretty deliberate effort to weed out the more traditional guys.

Read more ¿Qué más? Online dating: Is it worth it?

Latino men are facing a glass ceiling with me tougher to crack than the one on Pennsylvania Avenue. In my effort to avoid re-living my stiflingly traditional marriage, I am disqualifying 12% of the population outright. Someone should seriously alert the ACLU. When an email comes in from anyone vaguely Latino-looking or sounding, it gets only a cursory glance and a quick delete. The twenty-somethings looking to learn from my "mature experiences" (read: cougar-ish sexual knowledge) get a response. So does the bus boy who says he cares about more than money (can't discriminate based on that, can you?). But the very nice sales professional who signs his email "Jorge?" Get on the other side of the dating fence, buddy, I won't be serving your family on china in my backyard any time soon.

Of course, I understand this is an overreaction to a difficult time, and that I need to learn to judge people on their individual merits, not their surnames. But, for a while, let me decompress while entertaining advances from a 22-year-old dental student.  It feels so much less complicated.

What about you? What are you looking for in a guy? Tell me all about it below, in the Comments section!

Image via Jsome1/Flickr

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mami3

Never say never...

marip...

I don't know. I married a Latino man and he doesn't believe in all those stupid "traditional" roles that some old school dudes subscribe to. I think it's more politics and values than culture when it comes to stuff like that, but just my own 2 cents

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I hear you loud and clear. As a Latina who married, what I thought was An Americanized Latino, have just recently found out there is only one mold. Sure have a career, go out and hang with your friends and make major decisions but dinner better be ready,the house cleaned all the while juggling the kids and being sex ready. I am not sure though that I could be ready to give up the idea of a hot Latin male to call my own....
Wow. This sweeping generalization is both racist and sexist. You are equating "traditional" with "Latino." There are plenty of "traditional" (sexist and misogynist NON-Latino men). Maybe you should use something other than ethnicity to weed out the bad ones. My Latino husband, who has supported me through a Ph.D., would find this highly insulting.
ML Irina

This is a tough one to crack. I agree with Larissa that it's a sweeping generalization and that it really comes down to politics/values like Mariposita says... but I have dated Latino men and I have dated men of different races as well and I saw for myself that those "traditional" views are more likely to be found in our culture. Even my dad, who I love, often says that women should have a clean house and be fantastic cooks. Luckily for me, my mom is a strong (and messy) woman, so we all know that she's not having any of it. But even when he says it jokingly, I think it's the attitude a lot of men have and it has made me weary of dating Latino men as well. Ironically, though, my two longest relationships were with Latino men--one who was very "traditional" and wanted me to pop out babies right away and one who wasn't like this at all. So, in the end, I'd say it comes down to the individual person. But if it makes you feel better to avoid the risk of these kind of men after your not-so-happy sounding divorce, I think that's totally fine.

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Wow. The word 'sellout' is the only thing that comes to mind. You give those of us who fought, marched, and protested for OUR rights, want to slap the stupid right off your face. You could not be more ignorant in your thoughts and I hope that your children grow up to resent you for taking away the one thing that you shouldn't be able to; their culture! Keep checking the "Caucasian" box. One day, I pray VERY soon, one of the "Caucasians" remind you that you are NOT one of them and then maybe you will see the light!
smiley89

I dont think think its a generalization at all like afew have said. I think the writer is trying to express that she has met these "traditional men" in all cultures. The prime example is her x-husband. She was just decompresssing her feelings ;) I think there is a bit of humor in this piece and its being taken to literally, ladies.

nonmember avatar
I agree with 'smiley89'. Others should just chill out.
nonmember avatar
Greeks are Caucasian. This woman makes no sense.
I am American and very white..although I do have some Spanish in my blood. Part of my moms family are from Spain. I have been with with my husband, a traditional Mexican, for 3 years, married for 2 of those years. We have had alot of problems and he even got deported. Yes, he is very hard-headed, and our culture differences make us clash sometimes. Mainly because I am just as hard-headed as he is! Now it seems he finally has mellowed out some and we have learned to mix up our cultures. I actually like having a daily routine of getting up early cooking and cleaning. We dont have kids yet. Not that we havent tried. I have had some fertility issues and he has learned to deal with it. I love my husband. He is the only one that really understands me. He is hardworking, and I wouldnt change him for anything or anyone ever. He is very honest, reliable and not a cheater. I know I can trust him with anything. Even being in different countries due to his deportion, wont separate us. I went to Mexico to visit him and we are working on getting him back legally.
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