The Pros and Cons of Dating: Your Foreign Language Instructor
by Allison Davis
Pro: Oh, that accent. He could read theorems from an algebra textbook and it would sound sexy.
Pro: At least once a week, he’ll completely sincerely say, “eeeh, how do you saaayyyy…?” and it will melt you. Every. Time.
Con: Your jealous best friend will call him Pepe Le Pew. “Oh, so how’s Pepe Le Pew doing today? Will Monsieur Le Pew be there tonight? Will he be driving his Peugeot?”
Pro: He’ll tell you exotic tales of his homeland, and the two of you will lie in bed fantasizing about taking a holiday there someday soon. Perhaps to his uncle’s vineyard in Tuscany? Or his sister’s chalet in the Alps? We’ll see what we have time for.
Con: Teaching your native language in a foreign country is a perfect way to reinvent yourself. Who knows who this guy actually is back home? He may be the prince of Zamunda, but more likely he’s the guy who hung out at his high school bar three years after everyone he knew graduated.
Pro: Like most foreign men, he actually cares about his appearance. Even if he’s on the scruffy side, you’ll never see him in cargo pants once, and I bet his nails are always clean. He knows exactly what to wear to your boss’s charity thing and actually makes hiking look attractive.
Con: Although strangely, he’ll never be able to quite nail regular old American cool, and the first house party you take him to with your friends he’ll probably rock a jacket covered in the logo of some eastern European brand you’ve never heard of and baggy corduroys.
Con: Yes, this DOES mean you have to step your game up. Do you have any idea how effortlessly stylish the average Parisian is? Even your sweatpants should be on point. You can just slide the stained Russell Athletics with the stretched out waistband to the back of the drawer where no one will ever know they exist (for now).
Pro: He’ll cook you some wonderfully spicy yet savory comfort food that his Nana used to make him when he was sick as a young boy, and it will be the best thing you’ve ever had.
Con: After you break up you’ll try to make it and it will turn out as mess of ground beef, green pepper, and cumin mash that looks and tastes like dog food.
Con: It’s also the only thing he knows how to cook besides pasta.
Pro: Expiration dating! Before it gets all “wait, so what are we really doing here?” and you have to have “the talk,” chances are he’ll probably have to go back to his native land. That means you two can have the sort of relationship we all say we’re looking for: genuine, no expectations, in-the-present, fun. And in 20 years, you can fantasize about your exotic lover, and everytime the wind blows, you’ll hear it whisper…”Antonio.”
Con: When his entire family comes to visit for two weeks (and they will, to see America!) you’ll be expected to hang out with them and do cheesy activities every single day, if not put them up and feed them. This just in: everybody in every other country but us LOVES hosting people’s entire families for extended periods of time. Don’t be weird.
Con: His mother hates you, especially when she finds out you can’t make the dish from her homeland that Nana used to make her son when he was sick as a boy, and his father can’t understand why he won’t come home and settle down with a nice [insert country of origin here] girl?
Pro: Foreign guys are sooo romantic! It’s all Pablo Neruda this and real Champagne from the region of Champagne that. Before long he’s talking about creating a life together, and little Pierre and Mathilda running around. Have you ever heard a five-year-old speak French? It’s as cute as a kitten jumping rope with two chipmunks, seriously.
Con: Two words: Green. Card. (As in, knocking you up to get a.)
Pro: When you do break up, and he does eventually get deported because you wouldn’t marry him, even if it ends terribly with broken dishes and personal belongings on the front lawn with a note, you could still go visit him and his family in 10 years and they will absolutely put you up and cook for you and take you to see all the cheesy sights. You may even get a well-timed, mid-life Nights in Rodanthe affair out of the deal.
Update: Photo swapped for one less creepy than the original.
Allison Davis is a writer and TV producer living in San Francisco. If you were to run into her at a cocktail party she would probably casually name-drop HBO, CBS, PBS, FOX, Converse, Chipotle, Piano Fight and Current TV before mumbling something about needing a martini and leaving abruptly.