Ok, let’s say you’re trying to woo a Cuban. First off: Congratulations. You have excellent taste. Second, while we’re not all the same, there are definitely a few things that unite all Cubans, especially when it comes to winning our hearts. We’re here to help you figure that out so, let’s get to it:
Pastelitos de guayaba.
There are few things in this world more beautiful than a pastelito de guayaba. And when it comes to romance, a really good pastelito — perfectly flaky on the outside, gooey on the inside — will beat out a box of chocolates every time.
A Cuban sandwich, properly made.
The “properly made” part is key here. For some reason, people love to remix Cuban sandwiches in truly absurd and sometimes downright horrifying ways. (Just today I saw an image of a Cuban sandwich that contained lettuce and, reader, I nearly fainted.) Why mess with a classic? Leave off the chipotle mayo. Throw the braised, pork-kissed kale compote or whatever right into the trash. Just give us a perfectly-pressed combination of pork, ham, mustard, pickles, and swiss cheese on Cuban bread. That’s what love tastes like.
True, lots of different people love chisme, but for Cubans, it’s a WAY OF LIFE. Bring us the gift of good chisme and we are yours forever.
Really, really good coffee.
We’re not talking about the lukewarm, bean-kissed tears most people call coffee. We mean good, strong Cuban coffee. Caliente, amargo, espeso y fuerte. The kind you only need a teeny tiny little cup for, or else you’ll literally die.
Keeping the Scarface jokes to a minimum.
Look, we’re never going to stop people from quoting this movie. Tony Montana is probably the most famous fictional-Cuban-played-by-a-New-York-Italian-dude of all time. So let’s just space the quotes far apart. Maybe we can all agree not to shout “say hello to my little friend” during hookups? Is everyone cool with that?
The scent of violetas.
Every (ok, most) Cuban children grew up smelling like they rolled around in a field of violets. For to many of us, that scent is one of nostalgia, harkening back to a simpler, better-smelling time before things like nervous sweat attacks and Axe body spray.
Not asking us when we’re going “back to” Cuba.
Not only are there those among us who have never set foot in Cuba, but this is a fraught and sometimes pretty personal question in general. I mean, it’s not the end of the world, but now things are awkward between us. Nothing more pastelitos can’t take care of, but still.
Understanding what we mean when we talk with our hands.
Shaking hands up and down can mean “ya se formó” or “I’m so excited” or “my little brother is gonna get in trouble for something I did! Yaaas.” It is important to use context clues to know which one applies. Communication is key!
…And our chins.
What can I say. We’re an expressive people, man.
A cookie tin that actually contains cookies.
Life is all about little surprises, those tiny moments that brighten our days and keep us going. You know, like opening a tin of cookies (the blue one, always) and finding that it ACTUALLY has cookies inside instead of sewing supplies. If you present us with cookies, you have a fan for life.
OK, YES, A LOT OF THESE ARE FOOD-RELATED. But it’s true that the way to someone’s heart is through the stomach, especially after standing at a little ventanita to order freshly-made croquetas from a woman who calls you “mija/o” and “mi amor.” ?
Hope these tips help. Good luck out there, kiddos!
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