Little Buenos Aires

Meet Silvina, la flaca de explosiva

"And you liked it," Walter says, laughing.

Everyone laughs, mostly from too much wine, and also because Silvina admits she did enjoy the feeling of having such an exotic man standing so close behind her. "It made me hotter," she says frankly, smiling in her trademark twisted way. Her eyes light up with a swirl of insanity as her friends laugh uncontrollably.

"And so we said adios to Brasil," Silvina says. "We finally got smart, unzipped from our winter gear, and then fell asleep."

Friday-night party with the guys from apartment seven
Steve Satterwhite
Friday-night party with the guys from apartment seven
She liked to party; she stilllikes to party
Lissette Corsa
She liked to party; she stilllikes to party

Silvina met Nelson at a boliche (nightclub) in Miramar. It was 1986, and Silvina was nineteen years old. Nelson was two years younger but hot, a jitterbug from Mar del Plata, an hour away, who would cruise over every weekend with his buddies to dance and get laid. "Le gustaba la milonga a ese," says Silvina. "Todavía le gusta la joda. [He liked to party. He still likes to party.]" But so did Silvina: "Era un tiro al aire yo. [I was a loose cannon. I liked Nelson, I liked his friend, I liked the neighbor, I liked them all.]" Three months after their eyes first locked, Silvina was pregnant. Yet they didn't marry until Mathew -- their oldest boy -- turned eleven months.

Having a child out of wedlock and being older than your groom-to-be are distinctions frowned upon in Argentine society. As in most Latin-American countries, "respectable" women in Argentina are still expected to remain virgins until marriage, and they usually marry much older men. "Usually there are two categories into which women fall," says Andrew, Silvina's gray-haired, 32-year-old confidante, who also is from Miramar. "There are women for the kitchen, the kind you want to have a relationship with, the type you want to have children with. And there are women who are only good for fucking." Silvina has blurred the lines. "She likes men," acknowledges Andrew. "But she's also a struggling mother trying to make it. La flaca es una buena mujer. Silvina [who's called la flaca -- the skinny one] is a good woman," he concludes.

"The first year of my marriage with Nelson was great," Silvina relates. "We got along very well. We had fun together and went out often. We led very social lives, and at first it was exciting." But by the second year, he began making his rounds with the ladies once again. "He had an affair with a girl from Buenos Aires. Even when my boys were sick in the hospital with respiratory problems, he had affairs. He had affairs through my pregnancies. It didn't matter. He fucked every woman he could.... My mother said to me: “He's never going to change.' She was right. Here it only got worse. There's more variety. Already he's been through Colombia and Brazil," Silvina laughs.

In Miami Beach, Silvina says, Nelson's white painter's pickup truck became his roving bachelor pad: "He had it equipped with everything he needed. I just got sick of it. I couldn't stand him touching a single hair on my head. I was disgusted by him."

Last December, soon after the last time Silvina caught Nelson in bed with yet another woman, she met a young guy named Alex through Andrew and George. Alex is also from Miramar. The skinny, black-haired 26-year-old, who's into motorcycles and has tattoos of an eagle and a unicorn, is the father of a five-year-old boy in Argentina. Silvina began a relationship with him and kicked Nelson out.

"George told me one day: “Guess who's got his eye on you?'

"“Who?' I asked, surprised. He said, “Alex.' I said, “QUEEEE! -- what!' I never looked at him in that way." Then one day Alex expressed his feelings. "He said, “¿No sabes las ganas que tengo de comerte a besos? [Don't you know I want to eat you with kisses?]'" Silvina recounts. "I melted. From then on we've been inseparable. He even keeps the cigarette butts of the first ones we smoked together."

But Alex put up with a lot, Silvina admits. During his weekend stays at her place, Nelson would burst into the house and hurl insults at the lovers. In their absence he'd break into Silvina's apartment and search through all of her and Alex's belongings. He'd follow the couple like a shadow, and on several occasions spied on them through the windows while they had sex. "Twice I caught him looking at us while we made love," Silvina says with her hands on her waist. Her eyes are smiling, and she's biting her bottom lip.

One day Nelson slipped into the back seat of Silvina's black Honda Civic just as she was parallel parking, with Alex in the passenger seat. "Keep driving," Nelson told her. When she refused, Silvina recounts, Nelson pulled her out of the car, threw her on the sidewalk, and began kicking her in the ribs. Alex leaped out of the passenger seat, and Nelson ran away. On the beach one day he grabbed Silvina by the stomach and twisted her skin. Alex was sunbathing nearby. "There were times I really struggled to contain myself," Alex says. Silvina's husband even threatened to run her over with his truck.

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