The Decline And Fall Of Michael Fumento

I’ve been following the career of Michael Fumento since his 1989 book, The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Michael as a Facebook friend. We spoke for two hours via Skype this morning. He now lives in Floridablanca, Colombia.


Michael: “I forgot to tell you that my video camera is not working so you just have to imagine what I look like. Think a cross between George Clooney and Matt Damon with a little Clark Gable thrown in.”

Luke: “I’m straight so it really doesn’t matter to me.”

Michael: “You can be straight and think certain men are handsome. All of the guys I named I think are handsome. That doesn’t mean I want to have sex with them. I haven’t met too many guys lately I wanted to have sex with.”

Luke: “What are you doing in South America?”

Michael: “I’m looking for some place to move.

“The first step was leaving North America. I had two professions there — investigative journalism and the think tank world, and both of those fell through. Investigate journalism is essentially dead in the United States. As the economy has gotten worse, Americans have moved more and more towards shlock, the Kardashian sisters, the Duck whatever… They’ve moved away from fact-based journalism. They want opinion. They want confirmation bias. Investigative journalism is not that. It’s empiricism. It’s fact-based.

“I was the guy with the wall of facts. I was the guy who’d write 1,000 word pieces with 100 hyperlinks in them so you knew where my facts came from. Americans don’t want that anymore.

“At one time, think tanks developed as a place for conservative scholars because universities were locking them out. Think tanks would raise money to support scholars to do work that otherwise could not pay the bills. Over time, pretty much all of those think tanks converted to a model of pay for play or funded research.

“Over time, I was cut out of both of my professions. My income fell to almost zero. I said, why am I in this country? There’s a whole world out there.

“Why Colombia? My jocular answer is, ‘That is a good question and when I have a good answer, I’ll tell you.’

“I thought I had reasons when I first moved but they’ve all faded away. One answer is that basically everything you read and hear about Colombia is false. This is the dark side of the moon. It is not a coincidence that if you recall the Lonely Planet scandal, the guy wrote a whole book about visiting a country he never visited, that country was Colombia. That speaks volumes.

“Read books, go to online services about Colombia, read articles in the New York Times and US News & World Report, and I will assure you that almost everything you read about Colombia will be false. How was I to know? You can get some accurate information but it is all on blogs.”

“There is almost no food here that a traditional American will like. Try to find a Colombian restaurant in your city and you probably won’t. They can’t compete.”

“The travel books always put a positive spin. It could be the worst country in the world and it will sound like Heaven. The specific city I chose, Medellin, bribes people to write good things about them so that Americans will come there, spend money, possibly move there.

“I was the victim of a psychological warfare campaign of sorts.”

“I came here in August of 2011. I immediately had nightmarish experiences. I came within two days of losing almost all of my goods to the government because there is a 90-day period and I could not get my stuff out of port.

“Then I had to retreat to Guadalajara, Mexico, for three months before I could come back for three months on another tourist visa. Then it was in for a penny, in for a pound.

“This is an unworkable country. It’s a primitive country. It can be masked… You have these trappings that make you think this is an advanced country, but when you poke below the surface, it’s very dark and foggy. It’s as bad as the fog of war. It’s so hard to get information. And not just for foreigners. The locals walk around to a great extent going by rumor and hate doing anything new because they know how hard it is to do anything new.”

Luke: “Colombia is a literate society, right? [Wikipedia says] that 93% of adults are supposedly literate, right?”

Michael laughs. “Any demographic statistic from the Colombian government is false. For example, regarding marriage, which is a concern for me because I thought that I could get married here, the Colombian government claims that 50% of women between 25-49 are married. I almost never meet a married woman in Colombia. I found another website done by outsiders that showed it was something like 10% and even among that 10%, many of them are only married because they got married, separated almost right away, but didn’t see it as worth their while to get an official divorce.

“I communicate with these people by texting and emails and a lot of the time my Spanish is better than their’s.”

“The lack of English here is stunning. I just came back from Argentina and all the time people knew a lot of words of English, many spoke it fluently. A Colombian thinks he speaks English if he knows five words. There are a lot of people here who believe they speak English, they get jobs on the basis of speaking English, but they’re nowhere near fluent, but they get away with it because no one else speaks English. Most English teachers here do not speak English. The only English speakers I run into in Colombia are those who’ve lived in the United States for years. Nobody learns English from the schools here.

“In Argentina, Chile, Guadalajara, [people speak English].”

Luke: “What’s your theory on why Colombia does not work?”

Michael: “Extended families. Living with momma and poppa and your brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews. If you are not under the same roof as them, chances are you are down the block… It’s a clan. It blocks them off from other Colombians and people from other countries. It makes it almost impossible for me to penetrate Colombian society.”

“It blocks loneliness… Loneliness can be a good motivator to go out and find a mate. Women in their 20s when they have their looks, they’re party animals. They see men as those who have money they can use. They don’t like being married. They can’t make compromises with their mate. They’ve been living with their extended family all their lives and are used to these people. As soon as their mate does something that they don’t like, they leave.”

“My ex-wife came from an extended family. She had ten brothers and sisters. Everyone either lived with someone they weren’t married to or if they married, they got divorced right away.”

“Latinos in the United States have a lot of problems. And why? They’re importing their extended families into the United States.”

Luke: “Every year, the United States is becoming more like Colombia?”

Michael: “Yes. Stereotypes are almost always true. Redneck cultures are plagued by inbreeding.”

“There is no shame here in having out of wedlock births. Zero. The percentage of kids born out of wedlock in Medellin, almost all.”

Luke: “Do you think latino family values are going to save the United States?”

Michael: “No. The latinos you are getting in the United States are self-selected. Just look at the countries they are coming from. Mexico used to be the greatest source, but even of the Mexicans who came over, almost all of them were the ones who could not get jobs in Mexico. You’re not getting many from Chile. The Chilean economy is going like gangbusters.

“The US is getting latinos from places with bad economies. For example, El Salvador has a bad economy and almost all of the El Salvadorans coming to the United States are the worst of the worst. They came from gangs in El Salvador and they form gangs in the United States. The same has been true of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala. You’re not getting your typical latino. You’re getting the worst of the worst for the most part.”

“The United States is obsessed with material possessions… I like [its] creature comforts. The food in Colombia tends to be horrible… I appreciate the latino perspective that the three most important things in life are friends, family and God.”

“There’s an 80% tax on cars. To buy a car here is outrageously expensive. Most people have these little tin boxes that you couldn’t sell in the US. My house is cheap by American standards and you can see why. The stuff you buy here is almost always junk. It’s imported.”

“Guadalajara is a much more livable place than anything you will find in Colombia. It’s packed with people who used to live in the United States.”

“Argentina is different from Colombia… Colombians live for today, they don’t think about tomorrow or the past. Argentina is packed with gorgeous ornate buildings from the 19th Century. The architecture is beautiful. Buenos Aires is the most European city in South America. The second most is Santiago. Bogota has a few antique buildings. Argentinians aren’t as nice as Colombians. Colombians are the nicest people on earth when you first meet them but society is almost impenetrable because there is no society, only clans. I love conversing with Colombians. Nobody else on earth has people so easy to converse with. I can talk to a Colombian for five hours straight. You can talk to almost everybody. Where I lived in the United States, when you passed each other on the street, you looked in opposite directions. Neighbors admitted they didn’t know the names of their next door neighbors.”

Michael identifies as Roman Catholic (from his dad’s side).

Luke: “How did you like Israel?”

Michael: “The killer there is prices.”

“I’m living off my savings. It was sticker shock buying a candy bar.”

“I’m Jewish on my mother’s side. I have that built-in need to excel. I have that drive and I did like that in [Israelis]. Outwardly, they are not a particularly polite people. Once you penetrate that surface, then things get better. On the surface, Colombia seems wonderful.”

“I sometimes attended that synagogue in Venice started by Michael Medved and Daniel Lapin until they moved to [Seattle].”

“I regularly went to synagogue in Barranquilla [home to Sofia Vergara and Shakira], hoping to find people I’d fit in with but I was never able to penetrate well. My attraction to Judaism is not the religion, it’s the drive, it’s the high IQ. I have a genius IQ (in the top 2% of IQ). Ashkenazi Jews have extremely high IQs in addition to being extremely driven. Regardless of how many times I attended synagogue and regardless of whether I believe that Moses really broke the Ten Commandments, culturally I’m very Jewish.”

“There was just too much Colombian clan influence for me to worm my way into the [Jewish] community. The first night was very nice. A family invited me over for dinner. We talked for hours. It was great. They were upper-class but I never dealt with them again. They felt it was their obligation as a new member to invite me over for that first night but after that, I tried reaching out to them… Even the Jews in Colombia have their clans and they’re content within their clans.”

Luke: “I’ve read that the average IQ in Colombia is 89. Does that sound right?”

Michael: “It might be. These people are much more savvy than Americans in many ways. They understand how bad the US economy is better than most Americans. Most Americans live in lala land about their economy. ‘It’s going to turn around any day!'”

“Americans are the most optimistic people on the face of the earth. The saying, ‘You make your own luck’ is very American. Tell that to somebody born in a poor neighborhood in Colombia. Their chances at succeeding in life born in an extended family, never met their dad, surrounded by ignorant people, their chances of having a decent job or decent family are about zero. The most important thing you can do in life is to be born into the right family in the right country at the right time.”

“Colombians are too fatalistic. You could put a pot of gold within 20 meters of a Colombian and they’ll tell themselves, ‘I could never reach a pot of gold.’ I’ve offered to teach English to Colombians for free. [They weren’t interested.]”

Luke: “What is it like dating in Colombia?”

Michael: “It’s horrific. When I first saw this place, I thought it was Heaven. I was surrounded by beautiful young women who don’t have husbands and boyfriends. Then I found out that they don’t want husbands and boyfriends. They don’t want them. They think they’re all taken care of. They think that’s all they need. They have their little out of wedlock babies and life is complete. They don’t understand that a baby is not the same as a husband. Every woman they’ve known who’s gotten married has gotten a divorce. Why? Because Colombian men stink. Why do Colombian men stink? Because these women are having babies without daddies. The men have no idea how to act. They have no father figure. The chances are their uncles stink too.”

“The number of homosexual males is incredible. Lesbianism is epidemic. Transvestism is incredible. It’s really sick. American girls from the age of five dream about future families. Colombian women are taught from the age of five, do not marry. This is not part of our culture. I’ve found I was locked out. I’ve been here over two years. I’ve never had a bonafide girlfriend and finally came to the conclusion I never would.”

Luke: “Who supports these out-of-wedlock babies?”

Michael: “No. It’s the extended families. Those who do work gladly support those who do not. What do the people who don’t work do? They babysit the out-of-wedlock babies. The nuclear family would have to get a babysitter. It’s not as easy… [Extended families] have the same pernicious effect as welfare. You don’t have to work. Somebody will take care of your babies for you. Somebody else will put a roof over your head. It may be a leaky roof. Somebody else will put a floor under your feet. It may be a dirt floor… It’s godawful.”

“In the United States, there’s a bright line — prostitute or no prostitute. It’s like other jobs — are you soldier or are you not? Are you a fireman or are you not? Prostitution here is different. Some women are full-time prostitutes, but you’ll also find women who dabble. They don’t save. It’s not part of their culture. They get emergencies. Tuition is due. They have no money. What do they do? They post an online ad or they go to a pick-up bar and they have sex for money until the tuition is paid. They’ll work for three days as prostitutes and then they’ll quit.”

“There’s not much of an onus against it. Medellin, no one gives you a last name. It’s a den of thieves. It’s no coincidence that Pablo Escobar came from Medellin. In Medellin, the majority of pretty girls have engaged in prostitution.”

“If you want to date in Medellin, you not only pay for the movie, the dinner, the transportation, but you pay the woman additionally by the hour, by the day, by the week.”

“You can go out on a week night in Medellin and see at a glance 50 streetwalkers.”

“If you meet a Colombian through a marriage service, I guarantee you that if she is from Medellin, she was a prostitute… There’s a high chance that the woman you’re marrying had sex with hundreds of men she didn’t know.”

“Sure, she may have a four-year degree, but how did she pay for that four-year degree? Probably through prostitution. Anyone who’s marrying a Colombian is asking for trouble.”

“Americans like prostitutes. You see it in movies all the time — the hooker with the heart of gold. It’s the ultimate male fantasy — marry a prostitute. Think about this. This woman has pretended to enjoy sex. They’re very good at [giving] The Girlfriend Experience here but after they’ve given The Girlfriend Experience to 400 guys, can they switch that off and be loyal to you for the first of their life? That’s virtually impossible. They’ll come to the United States and you’ll marry them and they’ll be handing out their numbers to the guys at your wedding reception.”

“No woman here has made any move to sucker me into college. They don’t think about the future. They think about today. They want to use you as an ATM machine. Some women like to have babies by gringos because it is a status symbol to have a light-featured baby so they’ll treat you as a sperm donor.”

“Gringo is not a bad word anywhere in Latin America. It means American or stranger.”

“There’s not much cocaine use in Colombia. It’s an export product.”

Luke: “Did you say the lighter the skin, the more prestigious in Latin America?”

Michael: “Yeah. Lighter skin really helps.”

“Colombians are prejudiced against the natives. They think they’re ugly. Throughout Latin America, there may be exceptions in the Caribbean, people are biologically prejudiced against the indigenous. I am. I find all other shades of Colombians, the young ones, to be beautiful… I find the indigenous women to be ugly. They have large pronounced noses, which we white guys tend not to like. Their mouths tend to be large and extending, which we white guys don’t like. What do men like biologically? Round faces, tiny features, tiny noses, tiny ears, white teeth, large eyes. The latinos who come to the United States tend to be the indigenous ones.”

“What does a Colombian woman look like? Sofia Vergara is not an outlier. She’s mainstream. Shakira isn’t much of an outlier. I see those types every day here…until they hit about 30 and they absolutely fall apart. It’s the genes. They become beautiful around 12 and you feel guilty looking at them. When they hit 30, they let themselves go with the weight. It’s a third world culture. Their legs become progressively covered with scars from falling off motorcycles. Almost all births here are with Caesarean sections.”

“You have a choice at my age. You either date someone who looks young enough to be your daughter or you date someone who looks like your mother. There’s nothing in between.”

“Cougars and MILFs don’t exist here. The only two are Sofia Vergara and Shakira.”

“Once they hit their 30s, they become so desperate and needy. They try to swear you fidelity when you meet them online. True experience. This 37yo woman. We started conversing online. We exchanged phone numbers. She called me once and I didn’t answer for an hour because I was busy. She said, ‘That’s it. We’re never going to meet. You might have been with another girl.’ I said, ‘We’ve never even met. What loyalty do I owe you? You’ve got to earn loyalty.’ Maybe you’re into ugly women who’ve gained an extra 40 pounds by age 32, they’re still impossible to date.”

“To some extent, I’m looking at America’s future.”

“Colombians are basically color-blind. You can date a black woman here and nobody thinks twice about it.”

“The United states is not Martin Luther King’s dream at all. We’ve gone off in the opposite direction.”

“My father and all of his siblings were forbidden to speak Italian in the house. They had to speak English. I have nothing against Latinos [in the United States] keeping Spanish, but they need to learn English as well.”

Luke: “Do you think all of the races are equally likely to succeed academically, in work, and to be law abiding?”

Michael: “No. I can’t buy that. There’s too much data out there. Forty percent of U.S. Nobel prize winners are Jewish. Is that coincidence? Obviously not. Is it partially cultural? Yes. But part of it is just sheer IQ, just sheer genes. If you are allowed to say, and to some extent you are not, that people are born smarter, than you must admit that people are born less intelligent. The two have to go together. There are people who are biologically less intelligent.

“The United States is mostly taking in people who are biologically less intelligent. Asians who come to the United States tend to do better than the native whites. I don’t like being called racist. If I’m putting Asians above your average white, I don’t see how that’s racist. A country should be allowed to choose who immigrates. New Zealand is a place I’d like to move to but by virtue of my age, I don’t think I’ll be able to achieve citizenship. To some extent, intelligence is genetic. Let’s say most of the latinos coming to the United States who are indigenous and have lower IQs, that is no excuse not to encourage them in a strong manner to learn English. They can do it.”

“I think building better barriers, including physical ones, is inherently good [for the United States] because, if nothing else, you’re getting the people are the most creative and who really want in the most.”

Luke: “What lessons should we learn from the decline and fall of Michael Fumento as an influential journalist?”

Michael: “It’s bad news for me, but it’s bad news for the United States. I’ll go back to Thomas Jefferson who said you can’t have a democracy without a functional Fourth Estate. It’s like what Monty Hall used to say, ‘Would you rather have the money or what’s behind doors one, two or three?’ And the person has no idea. It’s not a choice. Without good accurate information, there are no choices. There is no democracy. That means investigative journalism. By clobbering investigative journalists, the United States has done a horrible thing to itself. It’s already paying a price. CNN saying the Malaysian airliner might’ve been sucked up by a black hole. As much as I disliked the old liberal media, Walter Cronkite personally almost lost the war in Vietnam, they were a lot more responsible than the media you are getting today. I see a real possibility of dictatorship in the near future in the United States. The economy will continue to decline and people will get more angry and more likely to line up behind extremists.”

Luke: “Did you support the invasion of Iraq in 2003?”

Michael: “I did and I no longer remember why.”

“I think we’re going to lose in Afghanistan and that was totally unnecessary. We put so much effort into Iraq that should’ve gone to Afghanistan.”

“I haven’t been rewarded for being right about so many huge things going back to when we were all going to die of AIDS, of SARS, of Avian flu, swine flu, Toyotas were running people down, the Erin Brokovich stuff. I had an impeccable 25-year track record. I was right again and again and everyone else was wrong. The government leaders were wrong. The health officials were wrong. The EPA bio-facts were wrong. Right, right, right, proven record. It did me no good whatsoever. The people I watched being wrong time and again are now ensconced in think tanks. There was one woman who was wrong on every disease I was right about — Laurie Garrett — she’s permanently ensconced in some think tank, gonig on speaking tours.”

“One major newspaper and one major magazine cut me off for writing pieces about hysteria over childhood vaccines. Now everybody accepts that, that Jennifer McCarthy is a loon. When I wrote the pieces, some influential person, some donor, called them up and said, ‘Don’t ever run Fumento again.’ I’d done exposes for one of them for two decades and for the other for 25 years and suddenly they no longer printed me, they wouldn’t even get back to me. So I thought, what’s the last article I wrote for them? In both cases, it was on childhood vaccines.

“One magazine I had given cover pieces to for a couple of decades, they cut me off over a piece on the Atkins diet. Like childhood vaccines, there’s just something about the Atkins diet that brings fruits and nuts out. They cut me off for a cover article I had for them debunking the Atkins diet.”

“Now I can place virtually nothing with nobody.”

“The personal tragedy of my life was my wife, my first girlfriend and fiance, my wife of 18 years turned to alcohol and ended what in my mind was a permanent relationship. I could not imagine that relationship ending. Not coincidentally, she came from an extended family. This was in her background. Divorce was always in the back of her mind. There was a desperate need of her’s to return to her extended family, which she has done.”

“Once I was out of a job in the United States, and approaching 50 and had no power, I said, your chances of dating a decent woman in this country ever again are zero. If you want that, you’re going to have to look abroad. Colombia turned out to be the worst country on the planet to land a wife.”

“It’s bizarre how I got the opposite of what I wanted here. I thought my only barrier to fitting in was the language… It all comes down to blood.”

“It’s incredibly lonely here. It’s mind-numbing.”

Here are Michael’s recent Facebook posts:

More parameters on what I’m looking for in a place to move. One is that “better than where I am now” isn’t enough. I made that mistake when I stayed in Colombia. I figured anywhere in the country would be better than Medellin. And I was right. So I went through the cost and effort of moving to one city and then another, only to find they were sort of Medellin-lite. Better to be sure, but no place to live. Barranquilla might have worked had I been allowed to rent a decent apartment or able to buy something. But even then, it’s an incredible time-soak city. So many lazy people, a holiday practically every Monday, a holiday when it rains…. And the noise was literally unbearable. People just putting man-sized speakers outside and shaking walls throughout the neighborhood till 3AM. Colombian housing doesn’t have sound-proofing, which in any case doesn’t stop walls from shaking.

Leaving here is going to involve effort and expense you cannot imagine. Next city has to be IT. At least for several years.

Another is that I didn’t leave to US just to go back. If somebody offered me a decent job there that would require relocating, I’d have to consider it. Nobody has.

I’ve pretty much given up on Latin America because I’ve realized that the closest you get to a universal theory as to why it’s so bad is the grip of the extended family. It blocks you from them, them from the outside world. You see the same in the US with latinos and poor white trash. Low marriage rates, high divorce rates among that percentage, high rates of unwed mothers … it’s all related to extended families. My own wife eventually left me not just because of the bottle, though that would have been enough, but because she could never get over the distance between herself and her extended family. As screwed up as they all were, they were her comfort zone. So no countries with strong extended-family structures, and no dating women from strong extended families. You cannot compete or co-exist with them any more than you can with booze.

Again, unless I have a steady income expensive places are off the list. Anywhere in the EU makes it very hard for non-members to get jobs.

These are lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way, such as that when you hear about Latinas being “traditional” they’re either talking peasant women who have never left their pueblos or city women who sell their bodies whenever they need a few extra bucks and make you buy the food, cook the food, and even wash the dishes. And cheating? You just have to accept it. Not my idea of tradition.

You can’t just look on paper, or in pixels as it were. And a lot of people trying to be helpful aren’t even doing that. Some are suggesting places I know THEY’D never want to go, and not because of language barriers or anything like that. Because they’d hate it there. Well, if you would there’s a good chance I would. Conversely, as I’ve previously posted, tourist spots are for tourists and those in the tourist industry.

It seems like there should be SOMETHING left after all this. But one general problem is nicer places tend to be expensive places. And I’m not just talking about housing or food. Even in Nowhere, Nebraska my health insurance premiums alone would be more than rent in a lot of countries. Probably most countries. And US health care relative to many countries sucks. That’s something you can’t get away from anywhere in the US. The incredible cost of healthcare unless it’s employer-subsidized, whether the coldest part of Alaska or the steamiest part of Mississippi. If you’ve never had to pay your own rates or had to worry about health insurance, I’m happy for you. But that’s not my position.

I’ve never solicited advice as to where I should move, but it’s being offered. Which is fine. But nobody seems to put much thought into what would make a place good to live as opposed to visit. They just have fond memories of such-and-such place. Thus somebody suggested Croatia. It’s a tiny place, very pretty to be sure, but expensive and they don’t speak English. Yes, your concierge spoke English and your tour guides spoke English. They speak something called “Croatian.” And if I’m going to LIVE in a place, I’m going to learn their language. Here’s what I know about Croatian: It’s neither Romance nor Germanic. Translation: super bitch to learn.

People aren’t thinking in terms of living, but rather visiting. Completely different animals. I loved visiting Venice. Know how many people LIVE there? Close to zero. Very expensive and terribly hard to get around. It’s not a lifetime of gondola rides with some guy singing Santa Lucia.

The only two tourist places Americans go to in Colombia are Cartagena and Bogota. Cartagena is a frigging microwave oven. I was forced to live there a month; I know. It’s fine for a week, then you go home. Bogota, conversely, isn’t a freezer per se but it is a refrigerator. Virtually no heat anywhere. Not where you work or live. Even in my hotel I had to sleep with my laptop. You are cold 24/7 virtually every day of your life. I had a Skype tutor from there. Always wrapped in clothes and always nursing a cold.

But at least in Bogota your high school Spanish will serve you. In Cartagena, forget it. You won’t understand boo.

Almost all tourist hotspots have one thing in common: They’re expensive. Again, okay if you’ve budgeted for a week or two, but not a place to LIVE.

The reason I’m complaining is it makes ME look bad to keep saying “No, no, no.” It makes it look like I really just want to kvetch about Colombia but want to stay here. No, I am trying. I went to Tel Aviv, only to find out it’s not “kind of” expensive but incredibly expensive and at the rate it’s going will be the world’s most expensive city by the end of the decade. I went to Buenos Aires, which conversely is dirt cheap for foreigners.

But the economic situation that allows that means you can’t use your credit card, you’re severely limited on ATM withdrawals, and a lot of basic imports like peanut butter can’t be had. The police force has been slashed, meaning you’re constantly accosted by drunks. In any case, I was. Train services have been slashed, and so forth. But I DID go. I AM trying. Please don’t embarrass me by making me constantly state that your idea of paradise, which indeed maybe it was for a week with your English-speaking guides, is not a place to LIVE!

Think about affordability, about a place where they speak a Germanic or Romance language. I’ve learned, yes, really LEARNED three of them. In addition to English. If need be, I could learn another. But I’m too old to tackle a language with a different alphabet, 17 declensions, and five genders. So are you. Americans are terrible at languages with the same alphabet, two genders, and virtually no declensions. Take your M.A. in Spanish, go to Barranquilla or Medellin and try to understand a conversation to which you are not party. You’ll wonder what language it is you actually learned, because it’s not what they’re speaking.

So please, don’t offer advice if you haven’t thought it through. It just makes me look bad and feel bad. I’m doing a damned good job of feeling bad every single day in Colombia. Don’t need outside help.

The mall I’m in now. Quite pretty. Usually the case in Colombia. Better than most American malls. One in Medellin had a full amusement park in the center. It’s one of those things that misled me into moving here. You wouldn’t expect to find such malls in such a primitive society. Like digging up Paleolithic ruins and finding a Calvin Klein watch. But such is Colombia. Trappings of wealth amidst squalor and a squalor attitude.

I’ve given up on trying to date Colombianas, in part because they ARE in fact attracted to “simple” lazy men. So sure enough today I get a text on Whatsapp? from a local woman out of the blue. No idea how she got my number, save maybe random numbers. Lots of texting back and forth. Asks in what part of town I live and I tell her. “You must have a lot of money!” she says! Comparatively speaking, yeah. Then asks me for my FB page. Asks what I do for a living. Finds out I’m anything but lazy and simple. Bye-bye!

I am 100 percent serious. They HATE working men. And the lure of the a better life that a working man can bring them, which works in virtually every other country on Planet Earth, just doesn’t work here. They’ll stick with their dirt floors, crime-ridden neighborhoods, and mouse-sized apartments before they’ll date somebody who might introduce the least bit of complexity into their lives. It’s a pathology I could never have dreamed of before I moved here. That which is honey to women in virtually every other country in the world is a total turnoff to women here. As is, so few are interested in long-term relationships. If they find out you actually DO SOMETHING with your life, the percentage falls off to essentially zero.

Honestly, I feel like Charleton Heston’s character in Planet of the Apes. “It’s a madhouse!” Colombia by rights should not exist.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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