Move over Duolingo – dating apps can yield more than casual hookups and you can actually learn Spanish with Tinder (apparently).
This is a tale from an anonymous pal of mine (no, really, I’m not just pretending this blog is about a friend like I have done in the past). She is boss at Spanish and it turns out that her success is massively down to being very smart at using dating apps. Read all about how to learn Spanish with Tinder…
En La Cuna o La Cama
Not being a person who has ever seriously used Tinder or similar dating apps, I actively decided that my year abroad should be more crazy and free-spirited. No further encouragement was needed, after my intercambio friend Maria, who herself speaks five languages, told me that you either learn a language en la cuna o la cama – in the crib or in the sheets. I thought, “what better, budget-friendly way to improve my Español and embellish my Whatsapp group chats than to learn Spanish with Tinder. What could possibly go wrong?“
I made my account and wrote in Spanish in my bio, “new in the city and looking for a guide”, inwardly cringing at myself. However, my ego sharply grew as the novelty of being a blonde girl in the city earnt me instant popularity. “I can do this”, I thought, frantically switching from Google Translate to my matches in an attempt to work out the pick-up lines and prove that I was equally as funny in Spanish.
Date Number One
In retrospect, date number one should have put me off for life, but the hilarity of the story made me stick at it. For some reason, I was extremely indiscriminate with my first date and decided to meet up with an Argentinian hairdresser. Regardless of his character, Argentinians are the Glaswegian accent equivalent in the Spanish-speaking world, so I really was throwing myself in at the deep end. Upon arrival, the guy was shorter than he looked in his pictures (much shorter than me and I’m not even tall). However, I remembered this exercise crucially and thankfully was not to acquire a boyfriend, but only to improve my Spanish. As his English was limited, we were obligated to speak in Spanish and my lesson got off to a flying start with free wine and tapas. However, it all went downhill an hour in, when he felt it was acceptable to say “quiero besarte ahorita” (I want to kiss you right now). After noticing a change in his temperament, I spieled off my excuses and made a beeline for the metro.
Date Number Two
Still determined and not discouraged, I headed out for date number two in one of my favourite bars. It was a success! Colombian Carlos an architect and photographer told me that I was fluent in Spanish (this could just have been because he was Colombian and they are infamous romancers). We drank beer, discussed our families, and talked about the places we had travelled. He then walked me to the metro despite it being very out of his way. It was a very pleasant experience and a solid three hours of Spanish practice.
A few more dates rolled by and I saw that Spanish society was offering me everything from rebellious bad boys who thought that doing sin pagar (doing a runner and not paying) was an interesting personality trait, to an outlandishly confident theatre kid who I suspect only went on a date with me to invite me to all of his future plays (he did so by sending 4-minute long voice notes). All this was alongside the straight-up chicos guapos (handsome boys) who now loyally support my Instagram and send me random videos of DJ sets. But with an ever-growing host of friends who I could quickly claim to bump into, it was fun and never a waste of time as far as my Spanish was concerned.
Learn Spanish with Tinder
Going on dates had become part of my weekly schedule, and I was finding that dating was helping not only my Spanish but also my confidence to speak to new people.
One evening I had a date with a med student who my housemates and I referred to as el pijo, or posh boy. He drove an Audi, wore beige chinos exclusively, and had a country house and yacht. Do you see the attraction for someone undertaking an unpaid internship? What followed was a short-lived dramatic fling, which usually involved me messaging him when I was hungry. I mean, our third date was him delivering pizza to me and my friends? Weird flex, bro. We went to restaurants, drunk cañas, had arguments over our miscommunication issues, hung out at the beach (and a funfair??). I learned a lot and got a fair amount of food out of that ‘relationship’!
I mean, it was all fun and games. It not only gave me an ego boost, my Spanish really did improve and I now have a group of Spanish boys who are loyal likers on Instagram and I can ask for help when stuck on with my Spanish homework. I mean you should always take internet dating abroad with caution, but I didn’t get kidnapped and had a lot of fun.
My Pal’s Rules for Dating Abroad
No one wants their date night to resemble a Taken film make sure you take certain precautions before going on a date.
1) Obviously… tell somewhere where you are going. If your date is a local they probably know the city much better than you do so make sure to arrange a location you know, that is busy and is well lit.
2) Have an exit plan. Life is too short to be on a bad date, but take your safety seriously and have a friend you can call or a safe place which you can retreat to if you need to get away.
3) Partying is fun, but be careful you’re in a foreign country where you may not speak the language. Drinks are usually stronger than at home and you should always avoid relying on your date for directions/ help home.
Want to read more blogs about Tinder? OF COURSE YOU DO.
Here’s one about Tinder and travelling
Here’s one about Tinder adventures in Mexico