An Independent Girl's Take on Living in Ecuador

Living in Ecuador as a young, adventurous, fiercely independent, single girl has been... interesting. This culture provides many challenges for people in my situation, and has not always been ideal.

Aw, who am I kidding, it's a feminist's nightmare here! No need to sugar-coat it. In the last two years I have been totally stripped of my independence, my trust in men, my trust in society, and the comforts of women's healthcare that I've grown so accustomed to in the United States.

I feel as though I have to be honest to myself and to the readers of this blog, even at the risk of sounding whiny or negative. I am a piece of meat here in Ecuador, a vulnerable target, an object to fulfill the whim of obnoxious men who want to holler or grab at me in the street. This is due to a combination of cultural factors, safety issues, and expat-locals dynamics.

There are exceptions to this of course. I have Ecuadorian guy friends who are great, who wouldn't necessarily have a lady on the side just because this culture is largely accepting of that tradition, guy friends who actually care what I have to say and respect my opinions. But a word of warning to single girls who attempt to date an Ecuadorian man: be careful. guard your heart. do your research.

Tell me if you would feel comfortable with awareness of these situations: One of my friends was being pursued heavily by an Ecuadorian man who swore he was single. She saw him in a shopping mall with his wife and kids shortly after. Another friend casually dated a local for a few months before seeing 'Happy 2 years baby!' written on his facebook wall. A male friend who teaches English to pilots in the Quito airport had one client take a half hour to explain in broken English why many Ecuadorian men have a 'big house' in the suburbs where their family lives, and a 'small house' in the city where they can have their single fun. Would you feel safe falling for a local knowing that this is all socially acceptable here?

Tell me if you would feel comfortable with awareness of these situations: This week, one of my high school students was held at knifepoint at her bus stop in the morning and robbed. Two of my female coworkers have had knives held up to their throats while being mugged in public, in broad daylight, surrounded by families. My friends' house one block away from where I live was broken into and robbed blind while they were sleeping last week. Two different friends cars were stolen from my street in the last couple of months. Would you feel safe to throw your Nook in your bag and walk to the local coffee shop to catch up on magazine subscriptions in this environment?

I miss being able to explore a city on my own without fearing for my safety. I miss being able to meet a nice guy at a coffee shop, a gentleman who wouldn't lie to me about having a wife and two kids back home. I miss talking about dating with my girlfriends and hearing something other than horror stories. I miss being a strong, independent female.

Comments

  1. Interesting perspective on male/female relations in Ecuador. Maybe the country breeds that type of relationship.

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  2. I just discovered your blog and this mentality on relationships isn't specific to Ecuador or Latin America. People, men and women, no matter where they are from, have the capacity to do shady things and feel justified in them. Also, people can rationalize anything to make themselves feel better in a situation. This is especially true with male/female interaction.

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