Cuban dating etiquette

For sociologist Regina Coyula, "If they are in love, all is well.

And if they can have a room in their parents and grandparents house, that's a privilege.

Reinier Biscet, 28, has a girlfriend whom he "loves very much." She "really loves him," but marriage is impossible now because they claim he can't go live with her nor can she live with him.

After two years of dating, the young Cuban sees his story repeating itself.

As with most places, a little effort goes a very long way in disarming indifference and creating smiles from the locals.

Generally speaking, as with other Latin American countries, Cubans are use to lazy travelers who in general speak only English (both as the international travel language and because 50 percent of visitors to Cuba are Canadian).

These relationships are more along the lines of boyfriend/girlfriend than of marriage. Mercedes Martinez, 25, a resident of the province of Granma went before a notary to formalize her "wife" status a year ago.

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But it's not all negative, says lawyer Leonardo Calvo.

Shorts or light trousers with short sleeve shirts or tank tops are generally fine.

Of course a little common courtesy goes a long way, for example removing your ball cap in a restaurant and not leaving your clothes all over the floor in your hotel room. Although there is a long-standing history and direct economic ties with European and other nations (and especially the US before 1959), including the foundation of a hybrid capitalist economy, Cuba is still a one-party state.

"Usually young people think marriage is more responsibility and if you do not have enough to provide for one person, how are you going to provide for two? For some years now, Cuban couples have lost the incentive to sign a marriage certificate.

In Cuba, marriage allows couples the ability to purchase things that you wouldn't normally be able to buy, at a discounted price. Maria, who lives in Camagüey, and preferred to keep her last name anonymous, married twice to be able to drink beer for New Year's.

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