By Deby Novitz
It starts in childhood with mothers being jealous of the relationship their daughters have with their fathers. I know. My mother was very jealous of the relationship I had with my dad. She made no bones about it.It gets passed on unless, the child grows up and deals with it.I have always been competitive with one person in my life and that is me. I have always used myself as the meter to do better. Have I ever been competitive with other women? Sure, in the workplace. In relationships with men? No. What for? It seemed futile.I was lucky I realize in many ways to live in the Bay Area. I feel now that I lived in a microcosm in many ways that probably was not representative of the real world. The majority of my time in the Bay Area was spent in technology and around nerds and technoids. The Bay Area in general is a very tolerant place to live.Living in Argentina has opened my eyes to experiences I never dreamed of. Although I considered myself street savvy, I have walked into situations completely blind. The competition between women here is fierce. At times it can be a blood bath. The cat fights are endless. You need to know who really are your friends, and even then, you cannot always be sure.
I have had dates here with men who talk about their daughters as though they are their lovers or their wives. It is nauseating or a little weird. They interrupt dates to take phone calls from their daughters or worse call them. Like dude, you can’t wait to talk to her? You are on a date with me, hello. But they do. They spend all their free time with their daughters, not their sons. They take them shopping, they go to lunch with them, movies.
This being the foundation, it is no wonder, women fight in combat here over the men. They are always looking for that attention. Sure it happens all over the world. I don’t deny that. However, here it is more noticeable. You have the “Comehombres“, the women who will destroy a relationship, just to destroy it. They don’t want your man, they just don’t want you to be happy. They will go after your man behind your back until your relationship is destroyed.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that my “amiga” was not my amiga. She was poisoning the well or ruining my relationship with my then boyfriend. My Spanish was not that good then. She would fill his head with nonsense and I was unable to defend myself. He began to lie, became hostile towards me. The relationship became unbearable. I ended it. I had too much self esteem. I confronted both of them. Denial of course. She went on to ruin more relations and my ex, well, he felt stupid for ruining ours. He never apologized. Yet he could not understand why I would not come crawling back.
I have had other so called “amigas” who made it a habit to try and sleep with the boyfriends and husbands of as many women as they could, including those of their friend’s. I was appalled. I would listen as they would justify and invent stories to the circumstances. Some would try to make it public through our tango community as a badge.
I would think silently how low their self-esteem must be to do this. I suppose in their twisted mind they think they are desirable stealing the man of another woman publicly. It is a form of competition and maybe self-hatred, who knows.
I began to realize that whenever I introduced a man I was dating to friend of mine he would disappear. I chalked it up to the way things are here. Then a man I had been dating for awhile stopped calling me. It seemed weird. He stopped answering my calls and my texts. It wasn’t like we were in love but we had a nice friendship. It was strange.
I ran into a mutual friend of ours and finally after a few glasses of champagne he told me. My “amiga” made several advances and one night my special friend took her up on it. He was too ashamed to face me after that. Obviously no relationship or friendship was special enough to this friend, since I realized that she was going after all my men. Chau amiga, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
When I talk to my other women friends, they commiserate. Not all women here are this way. It is probably more so in the tango. Yesterday a friend called to tell me the latest. A women is so jealous of me she is telling the men who dance with me I have AIDS. I am amazed.
She watches me dance and sees the men who dance with me. I had begun to suspect she was doing something. She would go sit at their tables and talk to them. Some of them would never dance with me again. I would wonder, but not enough to ask or talk to them. Some of them didn’t even want to greet me anymore.
It blows me away that someone could be so consumed with jealousy they could do something like that. She has many many more years in the milongas here than I do. That is no reason to spew ugly gossip. If that is the only way you can get a dance, then you are pathetic as a person. This is the side of the tango the tourists do not experience.
When I wrote my blog post about the men, several of my guy friends called me and told me it was not fair, I needed to write about the women. “They are psycho.” said one of my friends. “I refuse to date them, they are a bunch of jealous maniacs.” said another. I was a little put off by their comments because I have some really great women friends here. But I understand what my friends were saying.
When you come from North American culture these kinds of games take you back a little. They seem so juvenile. More like what I did when I was in junior high school, not now as an adult. Calling people names, doing things behind people’s backs to get their boyfriend. Please, how old are we? I thought we got past all this. No wonder I am still single…happily and without jealousy and AIDS. Thank you.
The not so secret life of an American woman in Buenos Aires. In 2004 she sold everything she owned to move to Buenos Aires Argentina. She went from being a high powered computer geek to a tango dancing bed and breakfast owner and English teacher. Now she is in her new incarnation as a clothing designer for women selling her original designs in Palermo Soho in Plaza Serrano.