When Sally, a Brit, arrived in Madrid five years ago she had the rather unrealistic expectation that Javier Bardem lookalikes would be queuing up to sweep her off her feet. Now in her early 30s and a seasoned veteran of the dating scene she tells the Local how to avoid the pitfalls of a Spanish mummy´s boy and the perils of communicating through the language barrier.
Here are Sally´s top ten tips for navigating the perilous path to true love in Spain.
That, or thinking for him is as overrated as good singing. What he did next was the most seductive thing I have ever experienced, and the irony in that is that it was not even foreplay.Hugo’s manner put me at ease immediately, so I laughed and asked him if he was Argentinian. He took my face into his hand and brought his face to mine.As a Swede having dated men from many different cultures as I have spent my adult life traveling, I can assure you that the things you take for granted sometimes aren’t things you should take for granted… Most Spanish men aren’t looking for a relationship until they fall in love.Hence, they will probably tell you they aren’t looking for a relationship until the moment they fall in love with you. Confidence is one of the most attractive features a man can have. The good looking, insecure man will only hold our attention for so long. I was dancing on a rooftop bar in the old area of Panama City when a curly haired guy approached me, rather swaggered over with the most relaxed confidence I have ever seen. It was late and we were heading home, through the old part of Panama, when who do I see, but my bad boy Hugo and another Spanish friend of his heading our way!
But what about the regular guy that has charisma, a sense of mystery and inner confidence? “Whoever the DJ is, he should be shot.” He confided in me as if I had known him for years. Somehow, my girlfriend being the flirt she was, already met and kissed Hugo’s friend that evening while withdrawing cash. Now, he came up to her and almost immediately they started making out as if they were in a room and not a street. Instead he was trying to understand why I never replied to his one message.
I fell in love with the country and was determined to come back, so I applied for a Fulbright grant and surprisingly won! When I won my grant, I went to him for help and advice about things like cell phones and banks and all of that annoying stuff. My grant sent me to Valencia, and he is from Madrid but anytime I was in Madrid we always got together to tomar algo or he was my airport taxi!
Without the push of the grant as well as the prestige and free airfare that came with it, I’m not sure I really would have gone through with it! While in Valencia we ended up chatting online just about every night for hours on end. Well, when I moved to Madrid I made sure to take care of that little problem, and we began dating in October 2011. Do you feel that your significant other is a “typical” Spaniard?
), but he also dresses more American-esque and likes American foods normal Spaniards hate like PB&J and spicy food. Sometimes I will tell a story about my day in English, but then immediately switch to Spanish when I change the subject. Sometimes it’s completely bilingual, and I will say something in English, and he answers me in Spanish. I think they like me so much, because I got him to move out of their house! He and my dad are basically best friends and sometimes they even dress alike (I’m not sure if that is more cute or terrifying! I love our bilingual conversations and unique culture we have invented for ourselves. I would love to just move my parents and grandmother over here to live in a little Anglo-Saxon community in Benidorm or something so that they could be closer, but they don’t like that idea too much.
He is very Spanish but fits in well in America (except when he eats his fries with a fork! When we are in America, he can completely change his chip and only speak to me in English—even if I speak to him in Spanish! ) To our parents, each of us is like another one of their children. We get to share so many more experiences than other couples who share a culture and it seems like every day we learn something new about each other’s culture or language. Thank goodness for air travel that gives me the opportunity to see them two or three times a year.
You may think that the western world is so, well, westernized, that dating someone from a different country in the western world will be a breeze. There are still differences; in some countries more than others.