If you’re on the search for your media naranja (other half) don’t let the language barrier get in the way, even if your finest material becomes absolute nonsense once translated in Spanish. If your go-to pick up line is something like: “If I could rearrange the alphabet I’d put U and I together”, you’ll never be able to compete with the caballeroso (chivalrous) Argentine men, who are pretty good at opening car doors, gift giving, and offering up their seat on the bus.
Fear not cross-cultural Casanovas, The Indy has you covered* with some of Argentina’s best cheesy pick-up lines and the appropriate times to use them. More charming than your standard piropo (compliment) yelled from a construction site, they just might be the start of a great Argentine love story. Or not.
*Romantic success is in no way guaranteed.
To Break the Ice
When put on the spot foreigners frequently come up short in conversation or mumble awkwardly before confessing to be embarazada (note: that means ‘pregnant’, not ‘embarrassed’). If your small talk leaves a lot to be desired then its time to learn the art of chamuyo; verbiage intended to impress or convince, more commonly known as chatting up. Argentine men have a reputation as smooth talkers, even if they aren’t saying anything of much substance. Get on the front foot with a more adventurous greeting than ‘¿como te llamas?‘ (what’s your name?) and begin your charm offensive with a little wit.
(respuesta: No. No lo sé)
Suficiente para romper el hielo. Hola, me llamo…
Do you know how much a polar bear weighs?
(Reply: No, I don’t know)
Enough to break the ice. Hi, my name is…
To Use On the Street
Much like public displays of affection, piropos are common on the streets of Buenos Aires in the form of flattery from passersby, honking horns or whistling. However not all piropos are created equal and women often find these catcalls disrespectful or vulgar. Originally piropos were clever quips designed to charm, so keep it classy and inoffensive with these classic Argentine lines:
You dropped a piece of paper… the paper you were wrapped in, bombon!
Deberías caminar en la sombra porque los bombones derriten en el sol.
You should walk in the shade because bombones melt in the sun.
¿Estás perdido? Porque el cielo es un largo camino desde aquí.
Are you lost? Because heaven’s a long way from here.
Muñeca, ¿de que juguetería te escapaste?
Doll, which toy store did you escape from?
To Chat Up Men
Traditionally men initiate romance in Argentina but who has time for conventional gender roles these days? (Especially if your stay in the country is a short one and polo players are present.) Women should have no shortage of male attention in Argentina; however if you want to take matters into your own hands try these lines especially for the ladies. Caution: use sparingly.
What is your name? So I can ask for you for Christmas!
Eres como el café colombiano, estas bueno hasta la última gota.
You’re like a Colombian coffee, good until the last drop.
Soy la chica de tus sueños, disfrazada como tu mejor amiga.
I’m the girl of your dreams, disguised as you best friend.
To Show Off
If you’re really out to impress someone special with your linguistic abilities, try channelling Pablo Neruda with these poetic pickup lines. During the delivery of these epic lines demonstrate your devotion with unbroken eye contact and, if the opportunity presents itself, a little hand holding. With these longer lines comes a greater risk of coming on a little strong. Unless the object of your desire has a flair for drama, you may just be trying too hard.
The sweetest sunrise of a summer’s day becomes more cold and rainy than a winter’s night if you’re not with me to warm my soul with the fire of your heart.
Una flor en el desierto es difícil de encontrar y un amor como el tuyo es difícil de olvidar.
A flower in the desert is hard to find and a love like yours is hard to forget.
Quisiera ser Cristóbal Colón, para navegar por tus venas, llegar a tú corazón y conquistarlo.
I wish I were Christopher Columbus to sail through your veins, arrive at your heart and conquer it.
To Use Anywhere in the World
You’ve heard these ones before; they’re the universal pick up lines that work just as well (or not-so-well) in Buenos Aires as they do in London. Make sure you get the local version of these old favourites just right:
Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by you again?
¿Te hiciste daño al caer del cielo?
Did you hurt yourself when you fell from heaven?
¿No estás mareada de dar tantas vueltas en mi cabeza?
Similar to: You must be tired because you’ve been running through my mind all day.
These lines may not make the object of your desires swoon, but you might just get a smile, and as Napoleon Bonaparte said: “A woman laughing is a woman conquered.” We assume that goes for blokes too.
And of course, if you prefer to play if safe, you can always stick to the classic: ¿Puedo comprarte una bebida? Can I buy you a drink?